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FAV 5: Five Things to Love About iOS 13

Posted by Davis Jefferson Twitter | Email

Apple's long-awaited iOS 13 is finally here! Included are a ton of new features and refinement of existing features, but these are my 5 favorites:

1. Dark Mode - don't be afraid of the dark.

Photo of the new Dark Mode setting in iOS 13

Dark Mode is argueably the most popular tweak to the macOS version 10.14 "Mojave" where the desktop as well as the backgrounds of apps, folders, pretty much everything can be switched to a darker color, like Maps does when you are driving at night. Photographers like it, developers like it, night owls who stay up to all hours on their Mac in a dark room, like it. Most people I work with seem to like, even prefer, Dark Mode once they've used it. I find that switching the text to white-on-black makes evening reading much easier on my tired eyes at the end of the day. Those who wear glasses likely can relate; those who are younger than 40 - you just wait - your time is coming. The Dark Mode feature is now available on our iPhones. Some users will prefer using Dark Mode on their iPhone all day long. Test driving it now, and I think I'm going to be in that group.

2. Photos - new and improved.


The Photos app has been completely overhauled, with the goal of making it easier to flip through years of accumulated photos. The improved editing tools for both photos and videos are pretty exciting, and Video edits are now nondestructive, so you can remove an effect like a filter or undo a trim to return to your original video. I was able to take a photo album and turn it into a movie fairly quickly, choose background music and then had multiple options for sharing it. And editing feature I would have liked to have, but can't seem to do on my iPhone 8, is select an individual photo in the movie clip and not trim but expand it so it displays on the video longer. The ability to zoom in or pan out with a Ken Burns effect would have been nice, but for now these features are reserved for iMovie. I have read some complaints from some upgraders that iOS 13 deleted photos. Apple's website indicates that the new Photos app "Removes similar shots and clutter - duplicate photos, screenshots, whiteboard photos, documents, and receipts are identified and hidden, so you see only your best shots." Hidden, not deleted, so the photos are there. You can find them under "Other Albums."

3. Maps - we have the technology, we can rebuilt it. Better, stronger

Maps icon in iOS 13.

Cue up the theme from this SciFi fan's favorite 1970's TV show. Oh wait, the iPhone already has a Bionic chip, and it didn't cost 6 million dollars. But we're talking software here! Rebuilt from the ground up, the brand-new Maps features significantly improved and more realistic details for roads, beaches, parks, buildings, and more. Here's a new feature that I know my family will appreciate on the road trip: Share ETA: Share your estimated time of arrival with family, friends, and coworkers. Your ETA even updates should a significant delay occur. That should keep my mother from worrying. Or maybe not.

4. The Files App learns new tricks

Files app icon in iOS 13.

Finally, with the updated Files app, we get external drive support to access files on a USB drive, SD card, or hard drive. A new downloads folder gives us a central place to access our web downloads and attachments from Safari and Mail. iCloud Drive folder sharing allows us to share folders with friends, family, and colleagues in iCloud Drive. We can now create folders on the local drive and add our favorite files. We get Zip and Unzip functionality and built-in file server access to connect to a file server at work or a home PC using SMB from Files. Separate from the camera and Photos apps, we also have a new Document Scanner to make digital copies of physical documents and put them directly in the location where we want to store them.

5. Performance Enhancement. No, not that kind.


iOS 13 will not likely help your love life, but you may find that your iPhone runs faster. My iPhone 8 feels like a new phone, like when I purchased it back in December. Apps launch up to 2x faster in iOS 13; unlocking iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR with Face ID is up to 30 percent faster; smaller app downloads, up to 50 percent smaller; and, app updates will be up to 60 percent smaller on average. (As a bonus, now with smaller downloads, we will be able update over a cellular connection.)


These 5, of the many features in the new IOS 13, will likely impact my daily usage the most, as I am using my iPhone primarily for business communications. iOS 13 brings a level of file management and enterprise support that may sway me to go with an new large-screen model like the iPhone 11 Pro, and retire my iPad. I may be able to leave my MacBook in it's carry bag, or not even bring the bag into the client's home or office unless I need to do a MacBook specific thing, like plug into an ethernet jack or run Windows. The list of things that the iPhone can't do , as compared to the MacBook, is getting shorter and shorter.

Important to note at this point that a "version 13" operating system for the iPad, repackaged as iPad OS, is scheduled for release at the end of the month. We are expecting features that will bring the iPad closer to MacBook functionality.

How will iOS 13 affect your daily life? What are your favorite features and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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