iOS 13 features and beta: here’s how your iPhone is going to change – TechRadar

iOS 13 is the newly announced update for your iPhone, and it’s going to be smaller and bigger in so many ways according to Apple at its WWDC 2019 keynote today. 

We’re amassing an iOS 13 features list, reporting live at the developer conference, right before Apple gives us confirmation of an iOS 13 beta (hopefully launching today).

Among the biggest iOS 13 changes will be Dark Mode, which is the long awaited way to change up the color scheme. It’s a new feature that applies to iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and what people seem to be looking forward to the most. 

What’s different in 2019 is that iOS 13 will split from iPad, which is getting a platform update all on its own called iPadOS. The iPad will continue to get many of the iOS 13 features we mention, but it’ll also have perks of its own, like a home screen redesign. 

Okay, let’s get into it. Here’s iOS 13 Dark Mode:

iOS 13 is really iPadOS on the iPad

As we expected, the next update to your iPhone is going to let you stray from the grid of icons with a customizable home screen redesign. Swipe left to right, and have widgets pinned on the home screen.

You can go into multiple apps with a new Slide Over function. Drag and drop into the slide over bar, giving you a quick look at an app on top of another. Drag up from bottom to move between apps in slide over.

App Expose on iPad too. Works with third party apps as well. USB drives and SD card support, and the files show up in the Files app, like you’d want. Import directly from external camera to apps such as Adobe Lightroom.

Safari is going for desktop class browsing when it comes to the iPad. You’ll see the desktop site, sized for the iPad display and optimized for touch display. Works with the likes of Google Docs, which is important for millions of users. Download manager coming too to Safari on iPad too, and 30 new keyboard shortcuts are along for the ride.

Again, this technically won’t be iOS 13, but a dedicated iPadOS update.

iOS 13 debuts new Find My app

Apple introduced this new iOS 13 feature as part of the Mac software update, but it’s also coming to iOS 13. It allows you to find your device (and likely Friends). 

The iOS 13 Find My app is expected to be a union of of Find My Friends and Find My iPhone. It’ll even send an encrypted Bluetooth signal beacon from your Mac when it’s closed since your computer is so often in sleep mode when you lose it.

iOS 13 will make your old iPhone twice as fast

More people are holding onto their iPhones for longer, and that’s something that Apple seems to recognize. It’s speeding up iOS 13 to accommodate.

The most important iOS 13 stat: app launch speed is up to twice as fast, according to Apple. iOS 12 gave us a faster update, and iOS 13 looks to build upon that.

iOS 13 Dark Mode confirmed

  • Overdue Dark Mode is coming to iOS 13
  • We saw macOS get a system-wide Dark Mode in 2018
  • Shortcut to black-and-dark-gray UI to live in Control Center
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Dark Mode in iOS 13 is going to be system-wide, meaning it’ll change the hues from bright white and light grey to black and dark gray. That’s going to be a nice feature when you’re using your iPhone at night.

Memoji makeup comes to iOS 13

Memoji is being enhanced for iOS 13 with makeup teeth with braces, earnings, eye shadow, and so forth. And, of course, an assorting of new glasses. There are even AirPods.

You’ll be able to share your personalized Memoji with contacts through iMessages. Your contacts can see your Memoji, but only when you grand access.

Memoji sticker packs are coming to the system keyboard so you can send them to friends without acting like a puppet. Best of all, if you don’t have a newer iPhone with a 3D TrueDepth camera, you can still customize and send Memoji stickers.

New video effects and Photos app

You’ll be able to rotate video for the first time with the default Photos app. Thee filters that you may or may not use on photos is also coming to videos.

Apple wants to create a diary of your life, with a brand new Photos tab design that documents your life by year. You have more pinch controls to zoom in and zoom out of the Photos gallery. 

HomePod and CarPlay updates

You might not know this, but the HomePod and CarPlay are part of the iOS family and they’re getting updates today, too.

First, you’ll be able to transfer songs from your iPhone by simply holding your phone closer to the HomePod speaker. Before iOS 13, you had to tell Siri to do this, but now this handoff feature is a bit easier, and you don’t have to talk to do it.

The HomePod will also introduce Live Radio – ask Siri to play 100,000 stations from all around the world. And HomePod will allow you to recognize who in your family is talking, and personalize the response. Great with Apple Music – based on your taste and history. It goes beyond Music, Messages, Notes, Reminders, and more. 

with Apple

Apple is taking on Facebook Connect, Google and other platforms that allow you to conveniently sign into third-party accounts. Sign-in with Apple is poised to protect your privacy more than Facebook and Google do.

What’s neat is that if you don’t want to fork over your email to an app developer or website, Apple will actually create a unique random email for you. And the email will be unique to that site or app.

New iOS 13 apps

Apple has redesigned Reminders from the ground up. Just type what you want and Reminders will know when and where to notify you. Smart lists help you keep track of your most important items.

iOS 13 Maps looks better, even if everyone likes to hate on it. Will it ever be better than Google Maps? No, probably not. But for people who want Apple’s pre-loaded maps app on iOS 13, it’ll be much better.


Today, the iOS 13 release date starts with a beta

  • Today, Monday, June 3: iOS 13 beta 1 and first look at WWDC 2019
  • Around June 25: iOS 13 public beta may launch for adventurous testers
  • Early September 2019: iOS 13 Golden Master (final dev beta)
  • Mid-September 2019: iOS 13 likely to launch with new 2019 iPhones

We have mapped out an iOS 13 beta timeline, from beta 1 to the final version of the software, and it all begins with a first look at the update today, Monday, June 3. We had this date pinned down months ago, long before we got our WWDC invite.

We went as far as to make a graphic for the iOS 13 release schedule:

iOS 13 beta release schedule

1. iOS 13 developer beta: The first iOS 13 beta will likely arrive at the WWDC keynote today, but it’s going to be restricted to paid Apple developers at first. You should probably wait for the public beta, which is always more stable, or upgrade to the beta on a non-primary device.

2. iOS 13 public beta: This is Apple’s way of testing features on a larger scale, and that may happen toward the end of June – last year the iOS public beta release date was June 25. It’s typically a more refined version of the iOS developer beta, although it can still be rough and never includes all of the features implemented in the final version of the software.

3. iOS 13 golden master: This will be the final version of the iOS 13 software one week early, meant for developers and public beta testers. At this point it’s very stable and gives app makers seven days to adapt to the final software.

4. The official iOS 13 release date: We’ll get the new iOS 13 software in its final, stable form about one week after the next iPhone launch event, what we’re calling iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Max and iPhone 11 XR at the moment. The date? Probably mid-September (last year it was September 17).

iOS 13 compatibility list

  • iOS 13 requires iPhone 6S or later, iPad Air 2 or later, the new iPad mini 4
  • It shed support for a lot of devices: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad mini 2 and mini 3, and iPhone SE

Apple just served us a strong hint of which devices with be iOS 13 compatible and which will not when it launched a new iPod Touch 7th generation last week.

The working theory has been that the iOS 13 compatibility list will shed the iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad mini 2, the oldest devices that are compatible with the last iOS update. If true, iOS 13 would still work with iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad Air 2. 

Which devices will iOS 13 be compatible with? (Image credit: Apple)

Which devices will iOS 13 be compatible with? (Image credit: Apple)

All of these devices have an A8 chipset (A8X for the iPad Air 2) so the base line would be an A8 chipset or newer to upgrade to iOS 13. This happens to be the chip in the HomePod and Apple TV 4th generation, so it brings everything into line very neatly. 

Okay, there’s one outlier we hope stays up-to-date: the iPad mini 3, which has an older A7 chipset (the iPad mini 2 was updated with iOS 12, after all). Of course, it’s in Apple’s best interest that you upgrade your hardware, like the iPad mini 4. Hangers-ons don’t help the company’s bottom line, so nothing is truly safe.

There’s a rumor that iOS 13 compatibility list cuts will go even further, axing support for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6S, iPad Air 2, and even the iPhone SE. The benefit? Cutting the SE would leave Apple and third-party app developers with fewer screen sizes to deal with when programming for iOS – although the smaller iPod 7th gen dismisses that theory.

One thing’s for sure: whatever happens, don’t expect Apple to make an official announcement at WWDC 2019 if the iPhone 5S isn’t compatible with iOS 13. The iOS 13 compatible phones will just show up on a slide, or they won’t. Also, remember that not every iOS 13 feature will come to all devices on that list. Some new ideas may require the TrueDepth camera, a rear dual-lens system, or 3D Touch.

iOS 13 iPad mouse support… kind of

  • Big iPad changes: iOS 9, iOS 11… iOS 13 is next?
  • iOS 12 iPad Mouse support is the most popular rumor 
  • Mouse support is already an accessibility feature, but we have doubts about is going further than that at this time

When we talk about Apple rumors, we often talk about patterns, and here’s one concerning iOS 13 iPad features: every two years we get meaningful iPad software changes: iOS 11 nearly two years ago, and iOS 9 two years before that.

iOS 13 mouse support for the iPad is the first thing everyone wants to know about, and it seems entirely possible it could come to the update but as an accessibility feature, according to Steve Troughton-Smith.


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