iOS 13 Review, Features & Updates.

Launched alongside the new iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max is Apple iOS 13. iOS 13 is Apple’s newest operating system for iPhones and iPads offering new software perks even for older iPhones (iPhone 6s and later).

Apple brought a very different sort of update to last year’s iOS 12, which was built around improving performance, fixing bugs and stability issues to the iOS 13.

iOS 13 does bring a new look to the software that runs on iPhones, overhauls a few oft-criticized first-party applications, and puts additional emphasis on user privacy. Most of all, it adds new, powerful interactions for power users some of which we thought we’d never see in Apple’s mobile software.

There are two major changes that will change the way you use your iPhone, these includes; Dark Mode and Sign in with Apple and Apple gives some long-time apps impressive overhauls in Photos and Maps.

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Dark Mode

Dark Mode is the best iOS 13 feature and the most visual change. Dark Mode introduces a dramatic new look for iPhone. It’s thoughtfully designed to make every element on the screen easier on your eyes and is seamlessly integrated throughout the system. And it’s simple to turn on from Control Center or set to automatically turn on at night.

Apple Dark Mode also works in conjunction with Night Shift, the iOS setting that can adjust the color of your screen to more warmer colors in the evening, easing the eye strain caused by blue light. Dark Mode complements the ambient lighting True Tone feature on newer iPhones.

It changes up the interface (except for some third-party apps), exchanging bright white and light gray colors for black and dark gray hues.

iOS 13 Sign In

iOS 13 introduces a new way to sign into an app or a website on your phone that balances convenience and privacy. Sign In with Apple lets you use your Apple ID account to log in, verifying your sign in either with Face ID on newer iPhones or Touch ID if you’d prefer to use a fingerprint reader. All you’re providing upon sign in is your name and email address, and even that latter piece of information can be disguised.

Sign In with Apple gives you the option of hiding your email address by using Apple’s email relay service instead. In this scenario, Apple creates a unique, random email address and forwards any communications sent out by the app or website to your actual email.

Apple can even generate single-use randomized email addresses, so you never have to give your real email address away to an app again. Two-factor authentication is built into this feature to give you even more security.

iOS 13 Photos:

Apple upgraded the Photos app, introducing a new feature that curates your entire Photos library and shows you a selection of highlights from your life by day, month, or year. Photos and videos are intelligently organized, making it easier to browse and relive your favorite memories.

It also comes with new editing tools which gives the ability to adjust a picture’s vibrance and white balance so you can control the intensity of adjustments.

The iOS 13 makes most of your photo editing tools available for video editing, letting you rotate, crop, and apply filters to videos. In the Camera app, you can make Portrait Lighting adjustments, moving the light closer or further away depending on the look you’re going for. There’s also a new High-Key Mono lighting effect for creating monochromatic looks.

iOS 13 Maps

Apple made some upgrades to its map featuring broader road coverage, better pedestrian data, more precise addresses, and more detailed landcover.

Another Maps feature that Apple is implementing is the Look Around feature, which gives you a high-resolution ground-level look at the area you’re looking up in Maps. This feature is Apple’s version of Google Street View.

ARKit 3

Apple also introduced ARKit 3, which adds a number of new features for more realistic AR applications.

People occlusion is the most important one. 3D models placed in the augmented reality environment can pass in front of or behind human figures now, and your view will be blocked accordingly. This will make a big difference for realism in AR apps that are used in crowds or in multiplayer AR games.

Also remarkable, though, is the motion capture feature, which we saw demonstrated at WWDC in June. If you picture motion capture from the production of movies or video games when you hear that term, you’re not far off. The specifics of the technology are different, but ARKit 3 allows app developers to capture a skeleton in motion for a human figure using the cameras on an iPhone.

It’s not as precise as professional studio solutions, but it’s good enough to make some fun new apps possible—and in theory, it could even be used by indie video game developers to bridge the gap with triple-A productions.

It’s important to mention that Apple’s documentation says these new features are generally limited to Apple devices with the “A12/A12X Bionic chips, ANE, and TrueDepth Camera.” The page in question hasn’t been updated yet, but it’s safe to assume that the new, A13-equipped iPhone 11 and 11 Pro phones also support it.

Recent iPhones (iPhone X and later, but not the iPhone 8) can track faces and environments on the front and back cameras simultaneously, and the front-facing TrueDepth sensor array on those phones can now track up to three faces at once.

Apple has also made improvements to performance and functionality across the board with a plethora of smaller optimizations, like building world maps faster in shared AR experiences, using machine learning to speed up plane detection, and several other things.

Other Features

  • QuickPath keyboard
  • improved battery life:
  • FaceTime correction
  • Voice Control
  • Better Wi-Fi controls


Compatibility with older devices was a cornerstone of iOS 12 last year because Apple was trying to fight against consumer perception that it purposely and aggressively ends support for older phones in order to drive new phone purchases.

Truth be told, as was the case with iOS 11 and iOS 12, if you want a phone that will get several years of software support rather than just one or two, the iPhone is the way to go. That hasn’t changed with iOS 13.

iOS 13 drops support for the following iPhone models that were supported by iOS 12: the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus. It also ends support for the first iPad Air, the iPad mini 3, and the iPad mini 2. It now supports the somewhat recently released seventh generation iPod touch, but this release drops the sixth generation.

This is a pretty dramatic culling, though it comes a year after iOS 12 did not drop support for any devices at all that were already supported by iOS 11. You can essentially summarize iOS 13’s cuts as Apple declining to support all iOS devices that had only 1GB of RAM.

Supported iPhone models

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone SE

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