iOS 13 arrives on iPhones on 19 September and it brings lots of fabulous new features. Wondering what to expect once iOS 13 is installed on your iPhone? Or what you will be missing out on if you don't install it? Read on!

Dark Mode

If you are looking at your iPhone in low light - perhaps in a dark bedroom - it can be quite a strain on your eyes, even if you have Night Shift on (Night Shift was a feature introduced in iOS 9).

New in iOS 13 is the option to turn on Dark Mode, which will turn the whole interface dark. To switch it on open Settings > Display & Brightness and tap Dark at the top of the screen. Alternatively, you can tap the Automatic toggle below, once this is engaged you'll be given various scheduling options, such as Dark Until Sunrise. You can even set it so that Dark Mode switches on as soon as you walk into a dark environment, such as a cinema.

Dark Mode doesn’t only reduce eye strain, it will also save battery life. Third-party developers will need to build Dark Mode into their apps, but they are likely to adopt the new theme soon. Read more at How to use Dark Mode on iPhone.

Dark Mode iOS 13

Keyboard

The keyboard gets even better in iOS 13 with the arrival of a Swipe-style QuickPath typing system. We used to use Swype, a handy app that made it possible to ‘type’ by dragging a finger around the keybaord, but that add was discontinued back in 2018. Now a similar functionality is coming to iPhone, which should speed up our typing somewhat.

Another handy new feature in iOS 13 is alternative word suggestions, that could help you sound more eloquent when you compose your messages.

New cut, copy and paste gestures also make it easier to enter text on your iPhone in iOS 13. You can pinch up with three fingers to copy, or pinch up with three fingers two times to cut. To paste just pinch down with three fingers.

And if you are embarrassed every time you have to shake your phone in public to undo something you’ll like the IOS 13 undo gesture - undo with a a three-finger swipe to the left and redo by swiping three fingers to the right.

Quick Path typing in iOS 13

Read all about the new features in the iOS 13 keyboard here: iPhone typing tips.

Memoji

iOS 13 brings the ability to create your own Memoji, meaning that Memoji are no longer limited to X-series iPhones. Now any iPhone with a A9 chip or later can create a Memoji and from it a set of Memoji stickers. You can also create a Memoji of a friend and save it with their Contact information.  More about Memoji here.

Safari

iOS 13’s Safari gains a new-look start page with favourites, frequently visited sites and more, so you should be able to quickly find the site you want. You’ll also be able to save all your open tabs as a collection of Bookmarks, so make them easy to reopen later on.

If you sometimes find yourself viewing websites with tiny fonts on an iPhone you will be glad to learn that in iOS 13 new website text sizes and zoom options mean you will be able to increase font size to make it easier to read.

You’ll also be able to download files via Safari using the new Downloads Manager.

Files

Files is a handy app on the phone that gives you access to all the files you have saved in the various apps on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. In iOS 13 you’ll find a new Downloads folder, which will be the location for any web downloads and attachments from Mail.

New in iOS 13 is also the ability to share a whole iCloud Drive folder with friends and family. Plus they will be able to add their own files to it.

If a file is too big to share you will be able to zip it if you have iOS 13 installed - and you’ll be able to unzip files too.

Music

You might be aware that the Music app is coming to the Mac, but it’s not only the Mac that’s getting new Music features in September 2019.

Music on the iPhone gains time synced lyrics and better control of Up Next, so you can be a bit more choosy about what song is coming up and change it if you like.

Reminders

A quick toolbar that appears above the keyboard will make it really easy to add dates, times and more to your Reminders.

iOS 13 brings the ability to add subtasks under a reminder.

You an also add attachments to Reminders.

And new Smart Lists will show you a list of all your upcoming reminders, and you can choose to just view the ones for today.

Reminders in iOS 13

Mail

A handy new feature in iOS 13 is the ability to attach different coloured flags to your emails. These will be synced across all your devices and should make it easier to sort your emails by categories.

Other enhancements in iOS 13 include the ability to block a sender and have all their messages go straight to trash. You can also mute an email thread that’s becoming annoying or is irrelevant to you.

Mail in iOS 13

Photos/Camera

There are some excellent changes coming to Photos and the Camera app in iOS 13.

If you have hundreds of thousands of photos like us, you’ll be able to rediscover photos thanks to the new Photos view, which will showcase significant photos and play videos and Live Photos within a less cluttered view. Read our guide to using the Photos app on iPhone.

That’s not all, in iOS 13 you get more precise editing options for video and photos. Such as the ability to control just how intensely a filter is applied, and best of all, the ability to rotate a video! How long have we been waiting for this feature!


When using the Camera app, iOS 13 lets you adjust Portrait Lighting effects plus there is a new High Key Mono effect you can use.

Portrait settings in iOS 13

Maps

The best new Maps features that arrived with iOS 13 are US only, such as a new 3D view that shows 360-degree views of locations. Other users can add Favourite addresses to simplify navigation - you can even share these ‘Collections’ of addresses with friends. And a new ETA option means you can quickly let your friends know when you will be arriving - and it will update if there is a delay! LINK: Here’s how to use Maps on an iPhone

Siri

In iOS 13 Siri gets a more natural voice, but perhaps the best new features is the ability for Siri to tune into a radio station - brilliant if you have a HomePod. Read How to play music on homePod.

Shortcuts

You can automate things you frequently do on your iPhone with Shortcuts, which for the first time is built in to iOS 13 (previously you had to install an app). New in Shortcuts is the ability to create a personalised daily routine. We have this article on how to use Shortcuts.

Shortcuts in iOS 13

Battery

iOS 13 introduces optimised battery charging, a feature that should slow the rate of battery ageing by reducing the time your iPhone spends fully charged. It will work by learning your daily charging routine and waiting until a few minutes before you tend to unplug your phone before finish charging the last 80 per cent.

Find My

The new Find My service will replace Find My iPhone with a service that also combines Find My Friends, but the best new feature is the fact that you will be able to track a lost or stolen phone even if it isn’t connected to WiFi or 4G. Your iPhone will broadcast its location with Bluetooth and that will be relayed back to you.

Custom fonts

If you’ve ever wanted to add a custom font in iOS 13 you can! These fonts can be used in any of your apps - including Messages. You’ll find Fonts in the App Store.

Health

iOS 13 brings lots of new Health features, from period tracking, fertility predicting to the ability to measure how loud your environment is, and track your toothbrushing!

Updates to Activity will give you more refined view as you move towards your long-term fitness goals.

Notes

There are changes in the Notes app in iOS 13 including the ability to see notes as thumbnails, which might make it easier to see the note you are looking for if you have lots of handwritten notes, or images saved in Notes. (We’re not sure it makes a lot of difference to us as all our notes are typed).

However, the search is better in iOS 13 Notes, and it makes the scanning feature that arrived in an earlier version of iOS even more useful as you will be able to search for text within your scans. Read about how to scan with your iPhone here: https://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/iosapps/how-scan-documents-photos-using-your-iphone-3665021/

Another handy feature that arrives in Notes in IOS 13 is the ability to uncheck a checklist. You can easily make a list into a checklist in Notes just by selecting the list and tapping on the icon that looks like a tick. Now you can uncheck everything after you have completed the list and use it again. This might be handy for holiday packing lists and the like.

Phone

The iPhone is a phone, so you’d expect some handy phone-related features.

New in OS 13 is the ability to silence unknown callers and even send them straight to voice mail.

WiFi and Celular Data limits

A new Low data mode will limit your date usage so that automatic updates and other things like Photo syncing won’t happen over a mobile/cellular connection.

Plus, your families devices will be able to automatically connect to your iPhone’s personal hotspot when there’s no other internet connection available. And this hotspot will continue to be available even if your iPhone is asleep.

Should you download iOS 13?

There are loads of great new features in iOS 13 and as a free update there's lots of great reasons to update to iOS 13, but we'd warn you that it's still early days and there have been reports of bugs and other issues. So, it might be worth waiting a few days before updating. When you are ready to update to iOS 13, read How to install iOS 13, and keep up with any issues by reading: iOS 13 problems and fixes.