The next major update for Apple's operating system - iOS 13 - isn't far away and, following tradition, it'll deliver a range of brand-new features iPhone users are sure to love.
iOS 13 won't just be accessible to those who pick up the still-to-be-announced iPhone range for 2019 - it'll be available to download on all existing, compatible iPhones. So even if you're happy with your iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone XS Max, for example, you can still look forward to the new, upcoming operating system.
Can I download iOS 13?
If you own a compatible iPhone, you'll be able to download iOS 13 in Autumn 2019 when it's officially released. However, there are ways to download iOS 13 before this date if you just can't wait that long.
If you're not opposed to trying out the beta version - which is part of Apple's testing phase - then you might be able to download it as early as this July. Apple release a Beta version of its newest iOS every single year, and to be able to download it you need to be a member of the Apple Beta Software Program first. It's free, you just need to register - just be aware that Apple are still working on the software, so performance issues can sometimes occur.
If you own an iPad, things are also slightly different this year. Instead of iOS 13 you'll be prompted to download a brand-new operating system exclusively for iPads instead called iPadOS. We predict its core features will be the same as those found on iOS13 however, we a few adjustments designed to optimise the iPad experience.
Designed to ease eye strain and provide a more comfortable user experience, Apple's new Dark Mode for iPhone implements a new darker look system-wide and across all of Apple's own internal apps. White backgrounds turn to black, with complementary colours used for text, icons and more. Third-party app developers can also integrate Dark Mode in their apps, so you can expect to see it across many of your favourites in the near future.
You can manually activate Dark Mode, or schedule it to switch on at a certain time every single day instead.
There's now a faster way to type, and it's all thanks to Apple's QuickPath keyboard. Instead of tapping individual letters, you can now use the gesture-based keyboard to send messages without lifting your finger off the screen.
Just swipe to quickly craft a text, and the QuickPath bar will be on hand to auto-complete sentences too. It's much quicker - and a must for one-handed texters.
Apple Maps has had a huge upgrade, and has been completely rebuilt to deliver better road coverage, more pedestrian data and super detailed land coverage.
The Apple team were reported to have driven a whopping 4 million miles to gather all the extra data to make this iOS 13 update possible, and it'll be rolled out globally in stages The US will receive it first, and UK users can look forward to the feature in 2020.
New camera features
You'll find loads of new editing and shooting tools within the Camera app thanks to iOS 13. Portrait Lighting sees a revamp with a range of extra effects, and you can now adjust the intensity and location of the effect too - giving you more control over the focus of your snaps.
A first for iPhones is the all-new video editing tools offered by iOS 13 too. You'll find options to crop, rotate and even apply a filter to your video - something sought after by users and previously only available via third-party apps.
Editing, and browsing through your photo gallery, will also be even easier with iOS 13. Thanks to improvements to on-device machine learning, the Photos app will now curate your shots for you, cherry-picking the best images and highlighting them to bring the specific photo to your attention.
Clutter, such as blurry photos or similar images, will be automatically hidden to tidy up your feed as well.
Find My Phone and Find My Friends become one
Merging two super handy apps into one, Find My Phone (for when you misplace your device) and Find My Friends (for when you need to locate the whereabouts of a friend) have now become an app titled Find My.
The best part? Find My will even work if the device you're searching for isn't connected to Wi-Fi or a network. Bluetooth beacons from nearby Apple devices will help you locate your device in seconds instead.
Sign In with Apple
Helping you to protect your privacy and personal information online, you can now choose to log in to apps and various websites via Sign In with Apple. Instead of making a new account either with your own email address or via a social media account, you'll have the option to use your Apple ID instead. This means you can use Touch ID and Face ID to authenticate, and if the provider is after an email address for sign up, sign in with Apple will provide a random, unique address as an alternative.
This random email address will then automatically forward all messages to your real email address, that's protected by Apple. Every time you create a new account on an app or website, a new email will be generated so people won't be able to track your activity either - helping you escape targeted advertising.
Performance updates and other features
While not as obvious, there are loads of updates working behind the scenes of iOS 13 to ensure the best performance yet. Face ID is expected to be up to 30% faster than before, apps are set to launch twice as quick, there's 38 new language keyboards on offer and App Store downloads are now 50% smaller thanks to a new way of packaging apps before they're uploaded by developers. Updates are also around 60% smaller to save you space on your new iPhone.
Memojis will offer more customisation levels than ever before - including support for Memoji profiles in Messages - and you'll be able to see time-synced lyrics whenever you play music too. Siri has also had an audio update, with Apple claiming the voice of the intelligent assistant sounds much smoother and more natural than before thanks to AI software.
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