9 Reasons To Upgrade The iOS

So does the iPhone’s amazing operating system go from strength to strength with the new version, iOS 13? Are you going to update your iOS? Let us give you nine reasons why we think you should.

As an iPhone owner we are sure you can agree that Apple’s iOS is amazing. The iOS enjoys a 97% customer satisfaction rating, and that’s pretty much unheard of. Not only are they happy we iPad and iPhone users are quick to upgrade too. Apple reports that 85% of iOS users are using the previous version, iOS 12.

This compares very favourably with its main rival, as only 10% of Android users are on Android 9, and even fewer on Android 10, which was released in early September.

“iOS 13 brings new capabilities to the apps you use every day, with rich updates to Photos and Maps, and privacy-protecting features like Sign In with Apple, all while delivering faster performance,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We’re excited for customers to experience what’s coming to iPhone this fall and can’t wait for them to see how great everything looks in Dark Mode.”

Apple themselves are clearly very happy with their latest iOS updates, iOS 13 for iPhone and iPadOS for the iPad. And the are absolutely right to be so, iOS 13 is fantastic and you need to upgrade so you don’t miss out. Below we have laid out our reasons to ensure you download the latest and greatest version of Apple’s mobile operating systems yet.

1. You Have to Try Dark Mode

On the Macs, the last version of macOS, Mojave, introduced a Dark Mode, whereby the Mac’s colour scheme would be changed, with black backgrounds replacing white ones for a much darker overall appearance. With iOS 13, this feature comes to the iPhone. It works system-wide, that is, on all the iOS screens such as the Home screen, Notification Centre, the Widget screen and more, and it also extends to Apple’s native apps such as Safari, Mail, Maps and Notes.

It’s available for third-party developers to integrate into their own apps too. It can be scheduled to turn on automatically at sunset or at a certain time, so if you prefer your iPhone dark in the evenings when lights are dim, the choice is yours.

2. A Noticeable Performance Boost

Apple has made under-the-hood enhancements and optimisations to make iOS run faster on your iPhone. We’re promised Face ID will unlock your phone 30% faster in iOS 13. The way apps are stored on the App Store is also going to change, making downloads 50% smaller and updates 60% quicker. Apps will launch twice as fast too.

3. Upgraded Camera and Photos Apps

The way the Photos app organises your snaps has had an overhaul too. Using on-device machine learning, it curates the entire library to highlight the best images according to the day, month or year they were taken. Similar photos and duplicates are hidden, and junk like snaps of till receipts and notices are ignored. Obviously, they’re still there and are still accessible, but when you’re browsing this new ‘diary’ view, they don’t get in the way.

If you’re looking through a year view, you can cycle through similar events in previous years. For example, if you take photos at a family meeting at Christmas every year, while perusing last year’s party, you can flick through your collections to see previous years’ festive photo collections.

There are several new editing options, and these now extend to videos too. For the first time, you can rotate and crop a movie, and add filters and other enhancements to your footage. The strength of these added effects can be increased or decreased with a swipe, giving you greater control over your images.

Portrait Lighting is being taken to a new level. You know the way professional photographers light up a subject? The Camera app’s Portrait Lighting mode reproduces this. In iOS 13, it’s been enhanced so you can intensify or soften the effects, in a similar way to a pro snapper moving the lights towards and away from his model. Moving the light in sharpens the eyes and brightens and smooths facial features, while moving the light farther away creates a more subtle, refined look.

A new High-Key Mono effect creates a beautiful, monochromatic look for Portrait mode photos too.

4. Improved Security and Privacy

Ever come across an app or a website that lets you log in with Facebook or Google instead of using a username and password? This can be very convenient, but some people might not like having to go through social media sites or search engine giants, fearing this log-in might be used for tracking and advertising purposes. iOS 13 offers an alternative. An option to Sign in With Apple will be made available to developers, allowing iPhone users to access their apps and services with no tracking concerns. Face ID (and presumably Touch ID too) can be used to authenticate the log-in, and the app is given no new info.

Sometimes an app asks to use your email address, to send you further information. While you can still opt to do this, if you want the information without revealing your email address, you can hide it and iOS 13 will assign a random privacy address which is sent to the app. Incoming emails to that address are then forwarded to your own. This is done on a per-app basis, so you can stop incoming emails from an app that no longer interests without blocking them all. When an app asks if it can use your location, as well as the usual ‘yes’ and ‘no’, iOS 13 allows you to allow this just once then ask again next time it wants to use it. If you allow an app to use your location on an ongoing basis, you can get a summary of when and where the app in question has used this information.

5. Enhanced Maps Easier to Find

Apple has been busy improving the Maps app, sending out cars and planes to take more detailed photos, from which they build better street maps. Roads, beaches, parks and buildings are all presented with greater clarity in these new-style maps. Naturally, they’ll take time to roll out in countries outside the USA, but they’re certainly worth waiting for. W

e can look forward to broader road coverage, better pedestrian data, more precise addresses and more detailed landcover. Another new Maps feature is Look Around, powered by 3D images taken by Apple’s cars while out mapping. Tap a binoculars icon on the main Maps screen and you can get a 3D view of a particular feature, or a silky smooth street view.

Other new Maps features include Collections, to share favourite local amenities like cafes or shops with your friends, and Favourites, for navigating to frequently visited destinations like home, work, the local shops or the pub with a simple tap from the launch screen.

6. All New Siri Functionality

Siri Shortcuts was introduced with iOS 12, and gets a boost in iOS 13. The app is to become more powerful than ever, with suggested automations making it even easier to build multistep actions. Siri’s voice has changed too. Previously, it was delivered in pre-recorded snippets using an actor’s voice.

With the new operating system, it uses Neural TTS (Text To Speech). This generates the words and creates the spoken sentences on the fly, making it more natural to the ears, and less of an audio cut-and-paste.

7. Discover a New Way to Type with QuickPath:

The on-screen keyboard benefits from a new feature that lets you type by dragging your finger from key to key, without lifting it in between. It’s great for one-handed typing.

8. All New Ways to Use Voice Control

Coming to Accessibility, Voice Control allows those who have difficulty using a keyboard and mouse the chance to control their Apple devices – including iPhones, iPads and Macs – using their voice. This is more than straightforward speech to text. All sorts of actions and interactions are accommodated.

9. New Reminders and Messages features

Another app that’s had a much-welcome tune-up is Reminders. It has a new toolbar to quickly add times, dates, locations and flags, and a revamped user interface, with more ways to organise your reminders and keep track of them too. The app is more deeply integrated with Messages too.

You can tag someone in a reminder, so that reminder is brought to your attention when you’re messaged by that person. Talking of Messages, this app has also had a refresh. You can now share a photo or emoji and your name inside a message, so when the person receives it, they get to see your picture and who’s messaging them even if you’re not in their Contacts app.

Memojis have been beefed up, with lots more features available, such as make-up, more glasses options, new hats and hairstyles, jewellery and more. You can even add AirPods. Every time you create a new memoji a sticker pack built into the iOS keyboard is created, which you can use in Messages and more. The feature is being brought to older iPhones too.

Obviously, you can’t animate a memoji without a Face ID camera, but you can soon put them together on any iPhone with an A9 chip, which is the iPhone 6s/6s Plus or later.

iOS 13 is out now, and as usual, it’s a free upgrade. To run iOS 13, you need an iPhone 6s/6s Plus or later, or an iPhone SE.

If you are struggling with updating, or with any of the new features of iOS 13 on your iPhone, we are here to help! You can order a print edition of The iOS 13 iPhone Guidebook, and The iPadOS Manual by clicking on the images below. Alternatively, you can buy and read the digital versions in the Pocketmags iOS app.

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Russ Ware

Russ has been testing, reviewing and writing guides for tech since the heady days of Windows 95 and the Sega Saturn. A self-confessed (and proud) geek about all things tech, if it has LED's, a screen, beeps or has source code, Russ will want to master it (and very likely take it apart to see how it works...)

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