We combed through iOS 13 and iPadOS, and this is what we found.
Are you tired of updating your iPhone or iPad yet? This year’s iOS release has been a whirlwind: Apple released iOS 13 and then iOS 13.1 and iPadOS in the span of just a few days. After you’ve updated your iPhone or iPad to the latest software and caught your breath, make sure to try out the new dark mode (huzzah!), the gesture keyboard and improvements made to Safari, along with anything else we cover in our complete guide to iOS 13. Those features are great and all, but we’ve also found a handful of features Apple didn’t announce that are just as good, if not better.
The new volume indicator alone is — chef’s kiss — a feature iOS has needed for years. And iMessage search, well, it’s downright amazing. Don’t forget about the new photo-sharing options.
Below are 13 of the best, hidden features we found in iOS 13. If you haven’t installed iOS 13 yet, make sure you get your phone ready for the update before taking the plunge. Should something go wrong while it installs, you’ll be glad you took the time. Oh and if you’re still on the fence about getting an iPhone 11, be sure to read our review.
Optimized battery charging
Routinely charging your iPhone’s ($999 at Amazon) battery to full, and keeping it there for extended amounts of time, can damage your battery over time. A new option in iOS 13 is intended to help prolong your battery’s life by learning your charging habits and preventing the battery from immediately charging to 100%.
If you normally charge overnight while you sleep, Optimized Battery Charging will keep your iPhone’s battery at 80% for most of the night, finishing off the last 20% of charge right before your alarm goes off.
To use the new features, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health and turn it on.
Use the new Scroll Bar
When you’re scrolling a webpage in Safari, a new Scroll Bar shows up on the right side of the screen. Only instead of just being a handy way to see where you’re at on a page, you can now use it to scroll faster. Try it out by starting to scroll on a page, then long-press on the scroll bar and drag it up or down. The faster you drag, the faster Safari will scroll.
Scan documents in the Files app
The revamped Files app now lets you scan documents and save them directly to your device or cloud storage with little effort. Open the Files app, select the Browse tab, tap on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner, then Scan Documents. Hold your device over the document you want to scan, and it should automatically capture the page. You can scan multiple pages into one PDF file and then save to iCloud, or import it into another app once you’re done.
iMessage search actually works now
Searching for past messages in the iMessage app has always been horrible. It simply hasn’t worked. That’s changed. You can now search for a single word or phrase, and results are almost instantly displayed.
It’s pretty cool. To try it, open the Messages app, swipe down to reveal the search field and type. Neat, right?
Search your iPhone with your voice
Anywhere you find a search bar in Apple’s own apps, you’ll notice there’s now a microphone on the far-right side. Tap on the new icon to enter your search query by voice, instead of having to type it out.
Apps like Settings, Mail, Messages and the Today View are just a few examples of where you can find the new voice search option.
Share photos with or without location information
You can now strip location information from a photo when you share it directly from the Photos app. The new option means you can leave the photo geotagged and you can view where it was captured, but when you share it across social media, email or messages, you can strip that information and keep any location information private.
Select a photo (or photos) you want to share in the Photos app then tap on Options at the top of the screen and turn off Location under the section labeled Include.
New volume indicator
Another long-overdue feature iOS users have been begging Apple to change is the volume indicator. You know, the pop-up that takes over the screen whenever you adjust the volume when watching YouTube or Netflix?
The indicator in iOS 13 is much smaller and slides in from the side of your screen. As you adjust the volume, it shrinks down to just a small line, all but hiding as you find the right volume level. Thanks, Apple.
The “hidden” part here is that when that white bar shows up on your screen, you can use your finger to drag the volume up and down instead of having to use the physical volume buttons on the side of your iPhone or iPad.
iMessage and FaceTime gain Dual SIM support
Business users and international travelers will appreciate the addition of iMessage and FaceTime support for the second number when two SIM cards are being used.
Apple added Dual SIM support with the launch of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max ($1,099 at Amazon) and iPhone XR ($749 at Amazon). The feature comes in handy for those who don’t want to carry separate personal and work phones, or for those who often travel internationally and need a data plan that’s less expensive than roaming fees.
Prior to iOS 13, users could only use one phone number for iMessage and FaceTime.
Delete apps from the update screen
Managing old apps you have installed on your iPhone or iPad ($329 at Amazon) is never a priority, or at least it isn’t for me. I know I’ve watched in the App Store as an app is updated, knowing full well I’ll never launch that app again. But because the app isn’t easy to find on my home screen, I don’t bother finding it and uninstalling it.
After installing iOS 13 or iPadOS, the next time you see an app you no longer need in the Updates list, swipe to the left across the listing and then tap Delete.
Use a mouse to control your iPhone or iPad
It’s true, you can use a mouse or trackpad to navigate your phone or tablet. The experience of using a mouse with your iPad takes some getting used to — there isn’t a typical mouse pointer. Instead, there’s a cursor that more or less mimics your finger.
You can assign shortcuts for specific tasks, such as going back to the home screen, in the new settings menu. Connect a mouse to your iPhone or iPad then go to Settings > Accessibility> Touch > Assistive Touch (turn this on) > Pointing Devices to customize how it works.
Remove app size limitations on cellular data
Apple has finally given us the option to remove App Store download limits. Meaning you can, if you want, download a game that’s over a gigabyte in size on your cellular data plan.
Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > App Downloads to get rid of the limit or have the App Store ask you if you want to download any apps over 200MB.
Safari has a download manager
You can now download files when using Safari on an iPhone and iPad. The Download manager icon won’t show up unless you have an active (or recently active) download. Your download is automatically saved to a Downloads folder in your iCloud Drive account, which you can access in the Files app.
Long screenshots of websites
If you’ve ever had to take multiple screenshots of a webpage in order to capture the text of an article, you’ll be happy to know that iOS 13’s screenshot tool has a new trick. Open Safari and take one screenshot of any website and immediately tap on the thumbnail preview. Above the screenshot will be two options: Screen and Full Page.
The feature works in Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Mail, or Apple Maps.
Selecting Full Page will turn the entirety of the webpage you’re viewing into a PDF file that you can then crop, annotate and save to the Files app.
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