13 easy-to-miss iOS 13 improvements you’ll want to use

As iPhone users begin exploring the iOS 13 public beta that is now available, here are some easy-to-miss features they should remember to check out.

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Leif Johnson/IDG

Millions are exploring the iOS 13 public beta now that it is available. As they do, they should take a look at these easy-to-miss features in Apple's new iPhone OS.

The hidden mouse

You can use a Bluetooth mouse with an iPad – to some extent – but Apple doesn’t make the feature particularly easy to find. To enable it you must:

  • Open Settings>Accessibility
  • Open Touch
  • Turn Assistive Touch on
  • Add the Bluetooth mouse as a Pointing Device

This support is very limited – it really just lets you point at and click items on the display. It really is an accessibility feature and acts pretty much as a Switch Controller (on a budget).

One good thing?

You can use the zoom controller on a connected Bluetooth mouse to zoom while in camera mode – pretty useful for tripod shots.

New Privacy warnings

The new operating system introduces lots of new privacy warnings. These mean that if an app wants to track your location or use your camera, Bluetooth or microphone, the system will let you know. You’ll receive push notifications and must watch out for little blue alert signals at the top left of the screen, just beside the time.

Another cool thing: When sharing an image from your Photos library, you’ll find a new check box that lets you share the picture without including your location.

Search Messages

Looking for a specific word or phrase in Messages? While in the app, just swipe down from the top of the display to bring down the search field and type your request.

Voice control

Now that you can manage your device using Voice Control, Apple has evidently improved the speech-to-text translation abilities of iOS.

And that’s why whenever you see a search field in a system app, you’ll be able to tap the small microphone icon that you’ll see on the righthand side and speak your search request.

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Something for AirPods people

Siri will announce Messages and let you speak your answers. In iOS 13, it will continue to do so, but if you open Settings>Notifications>Announce Messages with Siri>Messages you’ll find a new set of preferences that lets you choose whose messages you’ll be told about. These can be from:

  • Favorites
  • Recents
  • Contacts
  • Everyone

I tend to only use this feature with Favorites.

The Downloads folder: Another way to make you upgrade iCloud

It’s nice that when you download items to your devices using Safari, the data will be stored in a new Downloads folder in your iCloud Drive.

Or is it?

The problem will be that over time, that folder will become full of items you may never choose to look at again, so you’ll need to delete items from that folder fairly frequently to protect your precious iCloud storage space.

Mail gets more powerful

When you begin using it, you’ll soon find new ways Mail has been improved in iOS 13.

You can format text, make text bigger, change fonts and so on. You can also use new tools in the Reply menu, including ones that can mute a message thread or notify you when a message is received in that conversation.

Uninstall unwanted apps

There seems to be a general consensus that nearly everyone at times sees apps they no longer use listed in their updates section, but they update the apps anyway because doing so is easier than finding and deleting them.

This changes in iOS 13. Now you can delete unwanted apps in the Update screen.  

Look Around? I can’t see it

Everyone will be talking about Apple’s exciting new Maps feature, Look Around.

The problem with this feature is availability – it isn’t. In order to get a sense of what this will be like, the best thing to do is to visit Cupertino on your Map and then explore the area using Look Around. Apple will makes the feature available across the U.S. initially and then take it worldwide on a region-by-region basis in 2020.

Edit video as easily as images

Photos is packed with enhancements, and one you might miss is that you can now edit video on your device.

Tap Edit, and you’ll be able to rotate, crop and apply filters to videos. You can even rotate them when you forget to film in landscape view like every iPhone user ever does when taking images/video.

And another thing: You can now adjust the intensity of the pre-made filters using a the slider you’ll see when applying them.

You’ll also find new edit tools for vibrance, white balance, sharpness, definition, and noise level, plus a new vignette tool.

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Capture the face

You can get much, much better portrait shots on iPhone XS/R-series devices.

That’s because Camera now lets you adjust the position and intensity of the virtual studio lighting in Portrait Mode. That means you can move light toward and away from your subject to get a different effect. There’s also a new High-Key Mono Portrait Lighting option.

A feeling for your Face(ID)

Another hidden feature: haptic feedback when you unlock your iPhone using Face ID. Enable this in the new Face ID & Attention settings in iOS 13, where you should enable the Haptic on Successful Authentication checkbox.

Check your Notes

Here’s something you might miss:

  • Open Notes
  • Turn your iPhone to landscape view
  • Wonder at the new Gallery view that lets you search through your Notes visually.

You’ll also find a bunch of new files/folders management and sharing tools. And you can reorder items in checklists.

One more thing

There are many additional features in iOS 13, including a good many applications of machine intelligence to help you get things done more effectively.

Have fun – and do let me know your favorite new features.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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