What the Tech: Trying out iOS 13

News

Apple is currently testing a new operating system for its iPhones. iOS 13 was introduced in June and is currently being tested by developers and other power users to work out any bugs before its released to the public this fall. I had a chance to try it for myself to see how much things will change once the full update is available.

If you’ve ever had your face light up from the too-bright screen on iPhone, you’re going to appreciate the new feature everyone is talking about: Dark Mode. Found in settings under ‘Display’, the new dark mode inverts the colors on the screen. Words are in white while the background is black. Other colors appear normally. Dark mode is easier on the eyes when your lying in bed with the lights turned off or when you’re in bright daylight outside.

At the moment Dark Mode works only with Apple’s apps that come pre-loaded on iPhones but developers will likely update their apps to work in dark mode as well.

Turning the volume up or down has always blocked part of the screen with the volume indicator appearing in the middle of the screen. In iOS 13, volume control appears as a small slider on the side of the screen next to the volume buttons. A small change (literally) that you might appreciate more than some of the other updates.

You can use memojis as profile photos in contacts. Create your own memoji (if you haven’t already) by choosing your face shape, nose, eyes, hair, ears and other features and add it to your contact information. Now when you call or email someone your memoji will appear on their phone. If your contact doesn’t do their own memoji, you can create one that will appear in your contact list only.

Battery charging is smarter in iOS 13. Battery optimization is a new setting that, when turned on, allows your phone to charge only to 80% (which extends the life of the battery). The phone also learns your habits such as when you use your phone the most and when you typically put it on charge.

Block more spam calls with a new setting in the phone app that will silence calls from unknown numbers.

It is easier to join Wi-Fi and Bluetooth networks in iOS 13. Rather than all those taps within Settings, you can wipe down from the upper-right to open Control Center, then hard-press the WiFi or Bluetooth icons to see which networks are available. You can choose one to connect to as well.

There is no longer a “Find My Friends” app and a “Find My iPhone” app. Apple has combined the two into an app called “Find My”.

There are other new features and settings in iOS 13 including active subscription warnings where you will be notified of any active subscriptions when you delete an app, and you’ll be able to delete apps through the updates list.

iOS 13 will not be released to the public until September but right now anyone can join Apple’s Beta Tester program to download it early. It is not recommended for everyone though because iOS 13 is still buggy and doesn’t work with every app you may be using.

If you insist on giving it a try, you can join the Beta Testers program here.

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