iOS 13 has been available for supported iPhones since Thursday 19 September 2019, but in the months that have followed Apple has continued to issue updates with new features and bug fixes.
Some of these fixes have sadly been necessary due to security flaws and other problems with iOS 13. But generally it's a good idea to install the latest version of iOS 13 on your iPhone if your iPhone can run it.
In this article we'll run through any problems with the latest version of iOS 13 and let you know about any known fixes. We'll also discuss new features in iOS 13, as well as those set to arrive soon.
The latest version of iOS 13 is iOS 13.6.1. That update focus exclusively on bug fixes and arrived in mid August 2020. According to an Apple support document this update also fixes a problem in iOS 13.6 that was causing Other to take more than its fair share of memory up. We explain how to delete Other storage on the iPhone and iPad here. That's not the only issue with iOS 13.6, the update apparently also brought problems with Home Sharing (details here).
Other than these problems, iOS 13.6, when it launched in July, bought a new audio feature to Apple News (at least in the US). There is also a new Symptom category in Health for tracking the severity of various medical symptoms. This update also includes support for CarKeys from the new 5-series BMW.
Prior to that iOS 13.5 was released on 21 May - a momentous update that added support for COVID-19 tracking apps and an easier way to unlock your iPhone if you are wearing a mask. Read more about iOS 13.5 here. It also included changes to Face ID and FaceTime.
Before that, we got iOS 13.4.1 on 7 April. This included some small bug fixes, such a problem setting up FaceTime calls with people running (much) older versions of iOS.
iOS 13.4 came out on 24 March. It added new Memoji stickers and iCloud Drive folder sharing from Files, plus a wide range of small tweaks to Mail, the App Store app and more.
iOS 13.3.1, on 28 January, was another bug fixer. Potentially the most annoying of these was an issue that caused distorted call quality in CarPlay, but none of them were particularly high-profile.
iOS 13.3, seeded on 10 December 2019, improved the parental controls in Screen Time and made some small changes to Apple News and Stocks.
iOS 13.2.3 came out on 18 November. It fixed a variety of bugs, including some issues with search and background downloads.
iOS 13.2.2, released on 7 November, addressed a problem where background apps were restarting in the background.
It seems the previous iOS 13.2 update was overly aggressive when it came to killing background apps. Users found that if they switched to another app and later returned to the original, that first app would restart rather than carry on from where it left off.
The iOS 13.2.2 update addressed this multitasking bug, according to Apple's notes, which said the update: "Fixes an issue that could cause apps to quit unexpectedly when running in the background".
However, it appears that iOS 13.2.2 has bought its own share of issues. There are reports that since installing iOS 13.2.2, iPhones are suffering from reduced battery life.
Another issue has arisen, this time Facebook is taking the blame. Apparently a Facebook bug was causing the iPhone camera to record the screen while the app was being used.
This Facebook bug does seem to be linked to iOS 13.2.2, though, as it's been noted on phones running that version (although we are running iOS 13.2.2 and haven't observed it). Facebook has confirmed that it is looking into the bug.
Among other improvements and bug fixes in iOS 13.2 were 70 new/updated emoji, HomeKit Secure Video (which lets you store encrypted video from your security cameras), support for the AirPods Pro, updated Siri privacy settings and, of course, a bunch of bug fixes. And, at last, it brings the update to HomePod we have all been waiting for. Bringing voice recognition to Apple's smart speaker. (Here's how to update the software on your HomePod).
iOS 13.1.3 was released on 15 October. It fixed bugs relating to Mail, iCloud, Apple Watch pairing and more. One fix tackled an issue where data in the Health app might not display correctly after we adjusted to GMT from British Summer Time.
The iOS 13.1.2 patch was released on 30 September.This update fixes a number of bugs and an issue with the camera as well as fixing a problem with shortcuts when run from HomePod.
The iOS 13.1.2 update brought the following fixes:
Prior to that, the latest version of iOS 13 was iOS 13.1.1, a patch released on 29 September. Along with some known bugs and security issues, iOS 13.1.1 fixed some issues introduced with iOS 13.1.
The iOS 13.1.1 update brings the following:
- Patches an issue that could allow third-party software keyboard's full access to your iPhone.
- Improves Siri
- Fixes problems encountered when restoring from a backup
- Fixes a problem with syncing in the Reminders app
- Fixes a problem with battery drain
iOS 13.1 was introduced on Tuesday 24 September, less than a week after Apple introduced iOS 13 to the public on Thursday 19 September 2019.
The iOS 13.1 update was initially scheduled for release on 30 September, but was bought forward, most likely due to the security flaw (discussed in more detail below).
Along with the security update, iOS 13 introduces a number of new features which we will also discuss later in this article. They include, among other new features:
- Share ETA in Maps
- Audio Sharing
- Automated Shortcuts
- AirDrop with Ultra Wideband technology (as found in new iPhones)
- A new lyrics view in Apple Music
If you haven't installed iOS 13 on your iPhone yet we have a separate article showing how to install iOS 13.
Should I install iOS 13?
Good question! It's always the case that if you jump to install a new version of the iOS as soon as it becomes available you run the risk of introducing bugs to your iPhone. Despite Apple's beta program, there are often problems with new versions of iOS, and sometimes even new security issues.
It certainly seems that this is the case with the initial release of iOS 13. We'll go into more detail about the issues below.
Apple has since issued two update to iOS 13. iOS 13.1 addressed many of the issues in iOS 13, but not all of them. iOS 13.1.1 addressed an issue with keyboard extensions and more. There may still be a potential security issue is a problem with location permissions that is still to be addressed.
Another factor influencing whether you should install iOS 13 is if your iPhone supports it...
Can your iPhone run iOS 13? iOS 13 is available on iPhone 6s or later (including iPhone SE). Here's the full list of confirmed devices that can run iOS 13:
- iPod touch (7th gen)
- iPhone 6s & iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone SE & iPhone 7 & iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8 & iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone X
- iPhone XR & iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max
- iPhone 11 & iPhone 11 Pro & iPhone 11 Pro Max
iOS 13 is pre-installed on the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Max.
If you have an iPad you will need to install iPadOS.
Problems and bugs in iOS 13
There were reports of bugs in iOS 13 even prior to the release on 19 September. Despite a developer and public beta program it seemed that Apple was unable to rectify all the issues prior to the final launch of the software update.
As a result, when iOS 13 launched there were a number of issues. However, it should be noted that this is not the first time a new iOS has launched with flaws. iOS 11 was also problematic, leading Apple to focus on stability in iOS 12.
In our own experience with iOS 13 on an iPhone XR we experienced frequent app crashes and screen freezes, particularly when attempting to share items or when switching apps. We've also found Safari to be particularly slow.
Other too big
An Apple support document suggests that updating to iOS 13.6.1 fixes a problem in iOS 13.6 that was causing Other to take up memory. We explain how to delete Other storage on the iPhone and iPad here.
Home Sharing problems
iOS 13.6 is said to have caused problems with Home Sharing (details here).
iPhones appear to be experience battery draining background activity in iOS 13.5.1.
The issue appears to relate to apps like Music continuing to run in the background - even when they aren’t open. There have also been reports of iPhones overheating due to the problem. We discuss this problem in more detail here: iPhones experience battery draining background activity in iOS 13.5.1.
There were also widespread reports of a problem in iOS 13.1.3 that caused iPhones to lose battery power more quickly. The first account was from a XR owner, but it appears to affect a wide variety of models.
"On 13.1 I got 18 hours of battery and for the life of me, couldn't drain it down past 30%. After updating to 13.1.3, I've lost 30% in 3 hours!!" reads one of the higher-rated responses.
"Same problem here, since updating to 13.1.3 the battery of my iPhone 7 drains in minutes, sometimes to less than 10%, and then reboots. Before the update i never had any problem with the battery life and I could use the phone the whole day," reads another.
It was thought that the 13.2 update fixed this issue, although it wasn't mentioned in that update's patch notes. It then appeared to return in iOS 13.2.2.
Facebook's secret video recording
This issue was highlighted in this Tweet on 10 November last year.
Found a @facebook #security & #privacy issue. When the app is open it actively uses the camera. I found a bug in the app that lets you see the camera open behind your feed. Note that I had the camera pointed at the carpet. pic.twitter.com/B8b9oE1nbl— Joshua Maddux (@JoshuaMaddux) November 10, 2019
Facebook is aware of what they describe as a "bug" and claim that it is being addressed.
Here are some of the potential security issues with iOS 13 we have heard about:
- A problem with Location Privacy Settings - if you tell an app (such as Facebook) to "Never" access your location it will divert to "Ask Next Time".
- A bug affecting keyboards - Apple has made this bug public, but is yet to fix it. According to the company, the bug means keyboard extensions can be granted full access to your iPhone even if you haven't approved access. [Addressed in iOS 13.1.1]
- Contact revealing security issue - a flaw that could be exploited in FaceTime could reveals all your Contact information. [Addressed in iOS 13.1]
And some other issues:
- Mail - there was a problem with messages not showing sender information, showing incorrect download counts, missing senders and subjects, and more. [Addressed in iOS 13.1] An issue with meeting invites not opening [Addressed in iOS 13.1.3]
- Messages - there was an issue where a Memoji wouldn't correctly track your facial expressions. Also, Photos might not display correctly in the Message details view. [Addressed in iOS 13.1]
- Camera - some reports that the camera and flash have stopped working. Also camera orientation could appear rotated when swiping to it from the Lock screen. Apple also said it had fixed a problem with the camera not working in iOS 13.1.2. [Addressed in iOS 13.1 and iSO 13.1.2]
- Reminders - some users were unable to share iCloud lists. [Addressed in iOS 13.1]
- Notes - a problem where Exchange notes may not show up in search results. [Addressed in iOS 13.1]
- Calendar - an issue where birthday events could appear multiple times. [Addressed in iOS 13.1]
- Keyboard - issue could prevent alternate words from displaying when tapping on a misspelled word, also an issue that could prevent switching back to the QuickType keyboard after using a third-party keyboard [Addressed in iOS 13.1]
- Battery drain - seems to be an issue with background indexing when iPhone is first updated. [Addressed in iOS 13.1.1]
- Games - players of Fortnite and PUBG Mobile are complaining that new gestures introduced in iOS 13 are playing havoc with their game play [Expected to be addressed in iOS 13.1]
- Cloud issues - in early betas there were issues with data being lost despite being stored in iCloud. In iOS 13.1.2 Apple fixed a bug with the progress bar in iCloud Backup [Addressed in iOS 13.1.1] An issue with Voice Memos not restoring from an iCloud backup and an issue where apps might not download from iCloud [Addressed in iOS 13.1.3]
- Brail related bugs - Some low-vision users encountered problems in the beta with light and dark and the brail keyboard not responding to touch [Expected to be addressed in iOS 13.1]
- Hotspots: With Hotspot set to Not Discoverable opening Settings > Mobile Data shows Personal Hotspot as On, and tapping on that immediately makes the Hotspot discoverable. We think this is more a case of being confusing, rather than an error.
- HomePod: A problem with shortcuts not running properly. [Addressed in iOS 13.1.2]
- Bluetooth: An issue with Bluetooth not connecting to certain cars. [Addressed in iOS 13.1.2&3] Bluetooth hearing aids and headset connectivity issues [Addressed in iOS 13.1.3]
- Apple Watch: Problems pairing and receiving notifications [Addressed in iOS 13.1.3]
- Games Centre: Launch performance issues [Addressed in iOS 13.1.3]
iOS 13 features
Apple announced a heck of a lot for iOS 13, and further features have been discovered as users get to grips with the beta. Here, we've broken them down by headline feature or first-party app.
For a comparison with last year's iOS update, see iOS 13 vs iOS 12. We also have an iOS 13 review, and there is more information about the tablet-specific iPadOS update. Plus we have a run through of the best new features in iOS 13.
Craig Federighi, SVP of Software Engineering, said on stage that iOS 13 will bring:
- 30% faster Face ID unlock
- 50% smaller app download sizes
- 60% smaller app update sizes
- 2x faster app launches
Take these numbers with a pinch of salt as they will be rounded, and the speed claims will apply to specific models of iPhone - whichever are most favourable to the numbers. But all devices will benefit from some performance improvements.
The showiest new feature in iOS 13 is a system-wide Dark Mode, something that isn't ubiquitous on Android phones. Apple showed how it works across the operating system and throughout its first party apps - Messages, Photos, Mail - they all take in a dark theme to give a unified black look to your iPhone.
It's a small thing, but it will make your phone feel like new for a while. And if you have an iPhone with an OLED display (iPhone X, XS or XS Max) it'll actively save you battery life, as OLEDs work by lighting up pixels. Dark parts of display mean less energy used. Hooray!
Dark Mode won't automatically work with third-party apps: it'll be up to developers to build in compatibility. You can be pretty sure that absolutely all the major players will do this, however, so fear not.
We explain how this feature is implemented in How to use Dark Mode on iPhone.
Security & privacy
A great new feature is developers' ability to build in a Sign in with Apple option into their apps, much like you can currently do to sign into services with Google or Facebook.
When built in, even if you're using a service for the first time, you'll be able to confirm your ID with Face ID or Touch ID to sign in with a new account using just your Apple credentials.
The winning feature here is the option whether or not to share your email address with the app - you can select no, and Apple will create a unique random email address assigned to you to cover it. It's positively privacy minded, and great news for you.
Since the announcements in June, Apple has added another headline privacy-focused feature to iOS 13's armoury: VoIP calls from apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp will be restricted in the way they can run in the background to prevent them from collecting user data without reason or permission.
Taking a page out of Android circa 2013, the Apple default keyboard now supports swipe typing. About time, too!
Read all about the new features in the iOS 13 keyboard here: iPhone typing tips.
Safari will get small updates to include quick options to change text size and adjust preferences for specific websites.
Real-time lyric playback for supported tracks is now built into Music, whether you're using Apple Music streaming or playing from your downloaded library.
Apple's email app now supports rich fonts. Which is nice. You can also easily unsubscribe from mailing lists.
Notes will get a lot more useful in iOS 13 with a better interface and options. Where it has been feature-light it will get a great Gallery view and proper folder system with tagging to help you archive better.
The Reminders app has been rightly given some love. We've found its interface confusing and unhelpful, so Apple has given it a full overhaul with smart lists, a better layout and organisation options, plus people tagging which syncs with Messages for collaboration.
Apple had a PR disaster when it launched its terrible v1 of Maps, so it's good to see it seemingly get even better in iOS 13. Apple claimed its cars have driven four million miles to collect better road, terrain and building data.
You will also get things like favourites and collections to group routes and frequently used searches, while Lookaround is an Apple version of Google's Street View.
As well as getting a lick of dark paint with the rest of the Apple apps, Messages got an update to include something a bit more fun (or annoying, depending on your opinion) in Memoji and Animoji integration.
You can add your Memoji or Animoji to your contact card and see your contacts' better in the app.
Memoji stickers will let you send Bitmoji-esque stickers of your face to anyone with Messages, but Apple says it will work with third party messaging apps such as WhatsApp. It also said these stickers will work across all iOS devices with an A9 chip or later (iPhone 6s and above).
A small update to portrait lighting will give more granular control to existing presets, while adding a new one to let you get better results, we hope - portrait lighting has not been great since its introduction on the iPhone 7 Plus.
The Photos app will let you easier edit your snaps within the app. As well as saturation, brightness and contrasts, Apple says it'll be adding more to tweak your photos without having to use third party apps like Snapseed or VSCO.
A big whoop went up in the keynote when Apple confirmed you'll be able to rotate video, a problem you probably don't realise you have quite often. You will also be able to apply filters and effects to videos in iOS for the first time.
You'll also be able to view photos by year, month or day, all with better auto play and presentation to bring your photos to life within the app, as well as supposedly surface memories better.
Locations services will be more granular as they are in Android. You will be able to share location just once if you want, and the app will have to ask you for permission to share every time after - with the option to deny, of course.
It'll also build in background tracking alerts and apparently apply better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth protections for location sharing, but Apple didn't specify in the keynote how this works.
A couple of new features will come to AirPods if you upgrade to iOS 13. Siri will read you incoming messages and, with Announce Messages, let you reply without using any trigger words. This cool feature will be available for third-party messaging apps too.
You'll also be able to share audio between iOS 13 devices with a tap, playing audio to two pairs of AirPods.
Finally, iOS 13 on iPhone will let you HandOff audio to your HomePod and vice versa. This will work for all audio including phone calls.