- Apple’s iOS 13 update for iPhones, launching on Thursday, brings a handful of new features like dark mode, additional privacy controls, and a redesigned Photos app, among other changes.
- I used the beta version of iOS 13 for a couple of months and found these to be some of the most useful features.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
You don’t have to buy the iPhone 11 or iPhone 11 Pro to get some of Apple’s newest smartphone features.
Apple’s iOS 13 update, launching Thursday, brings a slew of new capabilities to iPhones models dating back to the 6S, including the iPhone SE.
Apple announced the software update at its Worldwide Developers Conference in early June, and it made an early, unfinished version of the software, known as a beta, available to the public later that month.
With this year’s update, Apple has placed a big emphasis on privacy and improving the iPhone’s core apps like Photos and Maps.
I used iOS 13 for a couple of months, and these are some of the best features I’ve come across. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it will be difficult to ascertain how useful some of the more notable additions like “Sign in with Apple” are until developers support it. But here’s a brief look at some of the updates I’ve found to be the most helpful.
Set tabs in Safari to close automatically.
If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly opening tab after tab on your iPhone’s web browser and forgetting to close them when you’re finished.
Safari in iOS 13 has a useful new feature that can help with this: You can now set tabs to automatically close after a day, a week, or a month. Just open the Settings menu, press “Safari,” and toggle the “close tabs” setting under the “tabs” section.
Dark mode comes to the iPhone.
Use Memoji stickers in Messages.
As reluctant as I may be to admit it, I’ve actually had a lot of fun using Memoji stickers in iOS 13.
When Apple unveiled the feature during WWDC, I thought it looked a bit gimmicky. After all, I rarely if ever use regular Memoji to begin with, so why would I want a pack of Memoji-themed stickers?
But in recent months, I’ve found them to be a compelling alternative to Bitmoji. And since there’s a Memoji-sticker button built directly into the iPhone’s keyboard, they’re just a tap away.
Switch to a tab that’s already open in Safari.
Another helpful tab-management feature coming to Safari is the ability to quickly jump to a tab that’s already open if you try to type that web address in the browser’s search bar.
Again, this can be helpful if you frequently keep a lot of tabs open and easily lose track of them.
A new Photos layout looks like a personalized collage.
Apple knows that it sometimes takes a few snaps to get the photo you actually want, so it’s gotten smarter about how it organizes your photos in iOS 13.
The new Photos tab within the app sorts photos by days, months, and years, intelligently surfacing the photos that seem most important based on their content, and filtering out doubles.
If you want to view your entire library, you can do that too by navigating to the “all photos” section.
Search is smarter in Messages.
When you pull down from the top of the screen in the Messages app to reveal the search bar, Apple will now present you with suggestions for contacts and content you may want to find.
This pane will show the people you contact frequently, as well as suggest photos, locations, attachments, and links from recent messages.
It’s a quick way to find content from messages with just a couple of taps.
There’s more transparency about how apps are using your location.
In iOS 13, you’ll get more notifications about how often apps are using your location, making it easier to understand which services are seeing your whereabouts.
After installing Apple’s new update, you’ll start getting notifications, like the one above, telling how many times an app has used your location and where.
Manage WiFi and Bluetooth from the control center.
When iOS 13 launches, you’ll no longer have to dig into the Settings menu to connect to a new WiFi network or Bluetooth device. Instead, you’ll be able to do that just by pressing and holding the WiFi and Bluetooth icons in the control center, which you can access by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen on the iPhone X or later models. (If you’re using an iPhone 8 or older, swipe up from the bottom of the display.)
The Reminders app is much more comprehensive.
Apple is updating several of its core apps in iOS 13, including its Reminders app.
The version of Reminders in iOS 12 is a little bare-bones, but the update introduces a much-needed redesign full of richer new features.
You’ll be able to add more context to specific reminders, like photos and documents, and organize reminders into lists.