Hello again. As you have probably noticed, Apple has been busy releasing major updates to its operating systems in the last couple of months, so we’re here to tell you what’s new in iOS and iPadOS 13.
But before we dive into that, a few things:
Don’t update to Catalina
If you haven’t yet updated your Mac to macOS 10.15 Catalina, continue to hold off for now. Just close Software Update (in System Preferences) when it nags you, and possibly go into its options to disable macOS updates. Catalina, while largely functional for most users (so don’t panic if you did install it and it’s working for you), still has its significant share of bugs, and is incompatible, by design, with older software you may or may not be using, such as Office 2011, Quicken 2007, FileMaker 11, or printer and scanner drivers for older models. There will be updates in a month or two that will help stabilize it, so we recommend being patient.
Apple just snuck out a new, more expensive ($249) version of their AirPods, called AirPods Pro. Unlike previous AirPods, these use rubber cups, provided in different sizes to accommodate different ear shapes, to seal in your ears, which facilitates the product’s marquee feature: noise cancelling. If you ever wanted a pair of tiny wireless noise cancelling headphones for your flights or subway rides, rather than those big over the head jobs, AirPods Pro may be what you’re after. Apple also claims them to be sweat- and water-resistant. They do require that you be on the latest version of iOS 13 or, if using with a Mac, Catalina.
On to iOS, Apple’s operating system for iPhone and iPod touch. With the release of iOS 13, the iPad variation is now being called iPadOS, which I’ll be including when I refer generally to iOS.
iOS 13 has a lot of new capabilities, not all of which may be apparent, so we’re here to share some of its more noteworthy changes. It also has bugs, so if something isn’t working as you think it should, we recommend being patient and continuing to install Apple’s software updates as they release them.
iOS 13 runs on iPhone 6s or newer, plus iPhone SE, and the recently released iPod touch 7th generation. iPadOS 13 will run on iPad Air 2 or later, iPad Mini 4 or later, all iPad Pro models, and the “plain old iPad” 5th generation or later.
Here are some of its new features:
Dark Mode: As with macOS Mojave, you now have the option for light text on a dark background. Whether or not you think this is a good thing, I can’t say. To activate it, go to Settings, Display and Brightness, and then you’ll find several options, including changing to dark mode automatically based on time of day.
Camera and Photos overhaul: The Camera and Photos apps have been reorganized and now have many more options — too many to get into here, but we suggest you just play with it — for getting your photos the way you like them, including a new Portrait Lighting feature. Photo and video editing in the Photos app is much more robust than before.
Faster Face ID unlock: Yay. I love Face ID, so I’m all for this.
AirPods sharing: Two people with AirPods can now listen to the same thing on one device. Helpful for when you’re waiting with someone for your delayed flight at an airport gate!
More natural sounding Siri speech: Now, can s/he just get a lot smarter?
Much better search in Messages: Search in Messages has always been a bit of a disaster, and now works much better.
Keyboard swiping: This is a feature that originated long ago with Android phones and then became available a couple of years ago on iPhones via App Store products, but is now part of iOS proper. When writing a text or email, instead of tapping, you just draw lines from letter to letter; Apple calls it QuickPath. Some people find it faster or more accurate. Try it out!
iPad keyboard can now be made iPhone sized and take up much less of the screen: Just pinch it inward, then drag it around.
Sidecar: A nifty feature of iOS 13, if you also have a Mac running Catalina (which, again, we don’t yet recommend), is to use an iPad as a secondary display for your Mac. If you have an iPad that supports the Apple Pencil (stylus), your Mac will be able to take advantage of that too. Older model Macs and iPads may not work with it, though. To enable Sidecar, Apple has instructions for you here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210380
Sign in with Apple: You’ll be able to use your Apple ID to sign into various apps, web sites, and services, rather than by using a separate username and password. When needed, Apple will even make up an unseen, privacy-protecting random email address for you. The major benefit here is now Touch ID or Face ID will get you in places where you previously would have had to deal with passwords. Personally I will still be using individual passwords, because even if I take Apple at their word that they’re the Big Tech company who respects my privacy, I still don’t want a central authority allowing me access to my various and sundry accounts all over the internet.
Better privacy: Among other new privacy settings, Apple now lets you disable apps from using Bluetooth, which could be used to track your movements. Of course, if an app needs to use Bluetooth (e.g. for pairing to a car), you’ll need to enable it. iOS 13 also now prevents apps that otherwise need access to contacts from seeing notes within those contacts.
Apple Maps: I’ve been using Google Maps forever because Apple Maps seemed so inferior, but reports say that Maps in iOS 13 is much, much better. I haven’t tried it yet.
Reminders: The Reminders app has been completely rewritten. I never used it, so I haven’t yet worked the new one into my life, but it looks a lot more capable. Beware that if you start using iOS 13 reminders and want to sync with the Reminders app on your Mac, you’ll need to upgrade your Mac to Catalina (or use the online version at iCloud.com).
A bunch of stuff in iOS/iPadOS 13 makes your iPad, and even iPhone, more like a Mac:
Files app: You may not even be aware of the Files app Apple introduced a few years ago, but it lets you access all the stuff that’s in your iCloud Drive, as well as the stuff in other cloud storage services like Dropbox, and the stuff stored on the phone itself. If your Mac has iCloud Drive Documents & Desktop enabled (in Apple Menu>System Preferences>iCloud [or, in Catalina, Apple ID]>iCloud Drive>Options), you’ll also see all of your documents in the Files app on your iPhone or iPad. Depending upon what apps you have installed (e.g. the mobile versions of Microsoft Word or Excel, which you have access to with an Office 365 subscription), you can even open and edit documents like you can on your Mac.
In iOS 13, you’ll be able to work with your files even further, including, for the first time, by allowing you to access files on an external drive, via an adapter (either Apple’s Lightning to USB 3 Adapter for devices with Lightning ports, or their USB-C to USB adapter for recent Face ID based iPad Pro models that have USB-C ports). Other enhancements include a Downloads folder, so you can actually download files from Safari; the ability to zip and unzip files; the ability to connect to a file server on a network; and proper file search. If you want to primarily use an iPhone or iPad instead of a Mac, the new Files app will go a long way towards getting you there.
Real Safari on iPads: By “real,” I mean that on iPads, Safari will now show you the desktop versions of web sites that you would see on a computer, rather than the often feature-limited mobile versions. (In iPadOS 13, Safari tells websites that you’re on a Mac, not a mobile device.) Early reviews suggest it works well overall, though some sites work better than others. I think this is one of the most significant enhancements to the iPad in a long time, and another indicator of the direction I see Apple heading, which is ultimately to supplant macOS with iPadOS as their mainstream computer operating system for most users.
Mail overhaul: Mail has been significantly reworked with new features, particularly around options for styling text. It also finally offers a Select All option for all messages in a mailbox so that you could, say, move all messages to a different folder. iOS Mail also at last reflects the differently colored flags you can set in Mac Mail.
Multiple windows: On an iPad, apps can open multiple windows, and you can see miniature versions of other apps while you use a different app, using the Slide Over and Split View features. Apple has an overview here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT207582
Mouse support: Apple now lets you use a mouse with an iPad or even an iPhone, though awkwardly — it looks like a preliminary idea more than a full execution. A good overview is here (though disregard the bit about Apple’s own Magic Mouse 2 not working — they’ve since fixed that): https://www.macworld.com/article/3405887/how-to-use-a-mouse-with-your-ipad-or-iphone.html
Default application: It’s now possible, in some cases, to use an App Store app (such as a different camera app) as a default rather than an Apple supplied app. The process is not straightforward, but is well laid out here: https://www.cultofmac.com/634640/ios-13-shortcuts-replace-stock-apple-apps/
There are many more fine details in iOS 13 that have been changed or introduced, and you’ll forgive me for not getting into Memojis. (But if you want to know, here you go: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208986) We look forward to hearing what you think about iOS 13’s new features!
And, if you have any questions or problems with it, call us!