Dark Mode. Sign In with Apple. Swipe-to-Text. Top iOS 13 features, you have probably already heard. But what about the lesser-known or lesser-publicized changes? There are quite a few of those that will surprise you.
iOS 13 is shaping up to be a major update that’s jam-packed with new features — just take a look at Apple’s preview page for it. But many of those features have gone relatively unnoticed because they aren’t as flashy as Dark Mode.
- 11 things you can do in iOS 13 that you couldn’t do in iOS 12
- Here’s everything new in Photos and Camera in iOS 13
- These new multitasking and UX features in iPadOS will bump your productivity
- How to downgrade from an iOS 13 beta to a stable version of iOS 12
- Apple releases iOS 13 Beta 2. Here are the top 10 new features.
That’s a shame, because there are truly some hidden gems in iOS 13 that’ll change how you use your iPhone. Here are just a few of the more significant ones.
5. Third-party support for Siri
Apple’s various native systems often don’t play well with third-party platforms. Just take Siri, for example. You can ask the digital assistant to help you with various tasks, like music playback or navigation. But unless you use Apple Music and Apple Maps, Siri won’t be able to do much to help you. That’s no longer the case in iOS 13.
In the new update, Apple has introduced a new developer toolkit that will allow Siri to support voice commands for third-party apps. Yes, that means you should theoretically be able to ask Siri to play certain songs or artists on Spotify. We couldn’t test this feature, but that’s only because iOS 13 is still in beta — so third-party developers haven’t added that support to their apps yet.
4. Select Accessories from Control Center
Connecting to a new Wi-Fi network or pairing a Bluetooth device is pretty simple. But on iOS, it still requires that you delve into the Settings menu. That’s just not convenient or fast. Apple has fixed this in iOS 13 with a small but extremely notable change: you can now choose to connect to networks or Bluetooth devices right from the Control Center.
When you open up the Control Center, just long press on the area that contains Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Then, long press on either Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and you’ll be brought to a new menu that lets you choose a network or a Bluetooth accessory to connect to. It’s a small change, but it’s weird that it hasn’t gotten more coverage.
3. Shortcuts improvements
Shortcuts is one of Apple’s best and most powerful apps that you probably aren’t using — and that’s a shame. But Apple likely noticed that Shortcuts didn’t turn out as popular as it should have been, and the company is taking steps in iOS 13 to fix that.
For one, the app is now baked into iOS 13 and iPadOS (so users don’t have to download it from the App Store). But Apple has also updated the app with new features, like conversational interaction and suggested shortcuts, which could help introduce new users to the platform.
Apple introduced a slew of new privacy features in iOS 13 (and its other software updates), but one of them is getting a lot less attention than the others. But a simple change in how photos are shared on iOS could make you a lot safer and certain sensitive information a lot more private.
We’re talking photo metadata, tiny bits of information attached to a photo that can reveal a lot — including when the photo a shot, what device was used, and the location where it was taken. That’s obviously a privacy and security risk, which is why most sites scrub that data. Other sites don’t, which is why Apple has baked in a control that allows you to scrub location data attached to a photo yourself.
1. Long press for 3D Touch features
Apple is bringing 3D Touch-like functionality to a much wider range of devices in iOS 13 — but not in the way you might think. Essentially, Apple is expanding how the long press works in its new mobile operating system update. And if you own a device without 3D Touch, it could transform how you use it.
If you’re running iOS 13, try it out. Just long press on a folder or app and it’ll bring up Quick Actions. You can also use a long press to Peek at messages and notifications. It takes a bit of getting used to if you’re a current 3D Touch user, but it means that Apple is looking to boost the capabilities of Haptic Touch going forward. (That may mean 3D Touch is on the chopping block, however.)
Mike is a freelance journalist from San Diego, California.
While he primarily covers Apple and consumer technology, he has past experience writing about public safety, local government, and education for a variety of publications.
He’s worn quite a few hats in the journalism field, including writer, editor, and news designer.