Apple iOS 13 and 13.1: Features and Improvements

If iOS 12 was the carrot cake, iOS 13 is the buttercream icing on top. Well, that’s how the ever-hungry Phonetradr team would summarise Apple’s latest OS update, released globally on 20 September 2019. The bulk of the work of giving you an awesome iPhone experience has already been done, but now it’s time for iOS to curate the experience – and that’s what iOS 13 is all about. 

There are some new features – such as Dark Mode, the improved Photos app interface, and the new Apple Maps – that truly stand out against competitors who’ve tried to do similar things. Although not every new release is perfect, and may come with bugs, the Phonetradr team is excited to share in the new era of the iPhone.

Review summary:
– iOS 13’s top features

– Dark Mode
– Camera
– Apple Maps
– Personalised Memojis
– Performance
– Keyboard
– iOS 13’s most unique tools you need to use
– Volume HUD
– Double Tap to Undo
– Track Pad
– Silence Callers
– New Emergency SOS
– Low Data Mode
– Virtual Home Button
– OS downfalls and bugs
– 13.1 release, bug fixes and improvements
– Haptic Touch Usability
– Audio Sharing
– Larger Icons
– Bigger Emojis

Big Features To Look Forward To

Dark Mode
One of the coolest updates in iOS 13 is Dark Mode, a feature that switches on in low-light environments and at night. Dark Mode was one of the updates that Apple worked on the most, as it affects every single app on your iPhone, and basically gives your phone a mini renovation.  The areas on your screen that are usually white turn to black or dark grey, giving it a sleek, easy-to-adjust-to look that won’t hurt your eyes. 

You can schedule Dark Mode to turn on at a specific time, at sunset, or you can turn it on manually from the Control Centre. Those who like the darker side of life can actually enjoy Dark Mode full time – even first thing in the morning.

iOS 13 dark mode

New Tools in Camera & Photos
Everybody’s favourite iPhone feature is also getting a makeover with over 30 new editing tools for videos and photos. Unlike before, you can now edit your videos with more options and control including rotate, enhance and crop. The Verge has described the new editing tools as able to “put some third-party editing apps out of business”.  You can now view the original photo and the edited one side-by-side by tapping the image preview and you can toggle on and off the edits you’ve made to see the changes at a quick glance.

iOS 13 new camera roll interface

The interface of the Photos app has changed too. Apple has now created a curated library of your images put into time periods instead of a zoomed-out view of all of your photos collected over months or years. You can now search for photos on a specific date or month and all of the content shot during your search will be displayed.

iOS 13 new photo editing tools

A New and Improved Apple Maps
Although your iPhone comes with Google Maps already installed, Apple has created their own version called Apple Maps, who have described their new navigation system as being “built from the ground up” with real-world feature showing buildings. The app introduced real-time public transport, flight times, a collection of lists for your favourite places and, most excitingly, LookAround, a feature that allows you to explore cities in high-resolution 3D.

Personalised Memojis
Now you can irritate your friends on WhatsApp with personalised Memojis of your face and name! Yes – now you can share Memojis on third-party apps, Mail, and Messages. In fact, you can animate your name on WhatsApp and personalise your profile picture with a Memoji. The new Memojis allow for more detail on your face and head, including facial hair, headgear, makeup and piercings.

iOS 13 personalised memojis

Faster Performance, App Launches & Face ID
Once again, iOS is making your experience with your iPhone smoother, faster, and more seamless. Apple tested the app launches on a device with iOS 13 and a device with iOS 12.3 and found that the apps launched 2x faster. In addition, Face ID logins were also tested with the same controls and were found to be 30 percent faster on iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max.

Keyboard Improvements
This is where iOS 13 is not only smart but innovative and focused on efficiency. Quick Path is a new tool that allows you to swipe from letter to letter on your keyboard to construct words and sentences. You won’t even have to lift your finger! Quick Path is helpful when you only have one hand to type or if you need to respond quickly. 

Your cursor has also become a little faster and smarter. Move your cursor by simply picking it up and moving it to where you want it instead of struggling to drag-and-place like in iOS 12. Another cool keyboard feature: You know when you need to copy-and-paste a sentence in a text or email? Text selection is easier too. Simply tap and swipe on the text you need to select.

These are awesome. What about the truly unique features?

Apple has paid special attention to certain features that can easily be overlooked if you’re not looking for it.

Volume HUD
On the left side of your iPhone are your volume buttons for more or less volume. When a user presses these, the volume icon that pops up on the screen is now a slider. You can even use your fingers to slide it up or down instead of pressing the buttons on the side. The slicer icon is fresher, more subtle and modern than in iOS 12.

Tap, hold and edit
Undoing actions and editing texts or emails is faster and easier than ever. Simply tap and hold down three fingers on your screen and an editing menu will appear at the top of your screen. You can tap the “back” arrow to undo an action, or copy-and-paste pieces of text from other emails or documents. Deleted the wrong email? This feature comes in handy. The “back” arrow will return the email you deleted back to your inbox. Phew!

iOS 13 features

Track Pad
Now moving your cursor within a body of text is easier and more accurate. In iOS 13, your keyboard becomes a trackpad, which allows you to place the cursor more efficiently. Simply hold down the space bar and move your thumb around your keyboard. You will notice the cursor moves around the text wherever your thumb moves. Beforehand, you’d have to use your finger to drag the cursor to where you wanted it to be, which was sometimes difficult if your fingers were a little big or if you had hashtags in your text.

iOS 13 track pad

Silence Unknown Callers
This is going to be a game-changer for anyone who can’t stand getting calls from telemarketers, private numbers, robocalls, spammers and numbers you don’t have saved to your contacts list. Simply toggle ON this feature in your Settings and you’re done.
Go to Settings > Select “Phone” > Toggle ON “Silence Unknown Callers”

Emergency SOS: Call With Side Button
iOS 13 has introduced another feature for your safety. You can now automatically call loved ones and emergency services when this feature is toggled on. All you have to do is press the right-side button 5 times. You can do this while holding your phone in your pocket or bag, which is far more discreet. Beforehand, you’d have to hold both the left and right-side buttons to perform this action (which is still available).
Go to your “Health” app > Enter friends and emergency details > Tap “Done” > Hold down the right-side button > Press 5 times

Low Data Mode
This feature is especially awesome if you are travelling overseas with limited data or if you’re on a data plan that only gives you a couple of gigs a month OR if you’ve ever been slapped with an unexpected, massive bill. Your iPhone will actively work to ensure less data is being used by your phone’s apps.
Go to Settings > Select “Mobile Data” > Tap “Mobile Data Options” > Toggle ON “Low Data Mode”

Virtual Home Button
Since the release of the iPhone X, we said goodbye to the much-loved home button. Well, for those with the iPhone X, XR, XS, XS Max or the iPhone 11 series who miss it, you can now have a virtual home button. It acts as a mini Control Centre where you can activate Siri or check notifications.

So, any downfalls to expect?

After about 5 days of playing around on our iPhones testing out various apps and processes under the new iOS 13, we can safely say that the update isn’t 100 percent perfect. On the odd occasion, some Phonetradr team members temporarily lost signal, while other members experienced sudden app closures while using their phone. Others’ screens froze for a second or two while being used as well. Also, if your WiFi isn’t well connected, the download could take hours as it is 2.2GB.

This is where iOS 13.1 comes in. As of 25 September, 2019 – only a few weeks after iOS 13 itself was released – 13.1 came in as the hero to save all of iOS 13’s discrepancies. Although there is plenty to gush over when it comes to iOS 13, it was not without its bugs. So what exactly did 13.1 change?

Major bug fixes
App crashes, jumpy scrolling through your Camera Roll, WiFi connectivity issues, screen freezing and other major bugs have been fixed for the most part on 13.1. Youtube reviewers like Zollotech have found more than 20 bug fixes throughout the iPhone.

Haptic Touch Usability
Haptic Touch was introduced with the iPhone X series, but the functionality of it has improved from iOS 13 to 13.1. When you apply pressure to an app on your screen, a short menu would always appear above the app icon, making it a little difficult for you to stretch your fingers. Now, the menu drops down below the app icon so that usability and mobility of your fingers is a little easier.

Audio Sharing
Apple reintroduced Audio Sharing in 13.1. To play music via wireless Apple devices like AirPods, all you need to do is hold the device next to the phone and it will connect and play. 

Icons Are Larger
iOS 13.1 has slightly larger icons, which are also bolded now, for improved visibility and usability. For example, if you are in your Camera Roll, the editing icons at the bottom of your screen are slightly bigger so that it’s easier to select.

Sharing your ETA
On Google Maps, you can now send your exact ETA (estimated time of arrival) to the person you are visiting. Needless to say, the ETA is a smarter, more accurate number than the usual, “I”m on my way!” Also, when sharing your ETA, your iPhone is able to pick up if your friend has iOS 13 or 13.1. If they don’t, the ETA will be sent via SMS. Pretty cool!

Emoji Improvements
Some of the more popular emojis like the heart eyes and the kissy face emoji have been brightened and the red hearts enlargened.