iOS 13 hands-on review: Dark Mode, revamped Photos app, and swipe-typing keyboard

At this year’s WWDC, Apple announced iOS 13, the next generation iOS after months of relentless rumors. With iOS 13, Apple has some big changes iPhone fans have been demanding for years. Apple’s newest iOS version is also polishing up a few fan-favorite apps with features that encourage you to upgrade.

The first beta of iOS 13 is now available for testing purposes. And you need to be a developer to try out iOS 13’s new features ahead of its public release. However, keep in mind that this is just a beta, meaning that it’s still in the works and has some bugs and glitches.

I now have iOS 13 beta installed on my iPhone and I will show you some of the major new changes in Apple’s next-generation iOS.

First, release date and compatibility

Apple confirms that iOS 13 will launch to the public this fall, along with new iPhones. I think Apple still has a lot of work to do to improve iOS 13 ahead of its official launch as I noticed some bugs. To be honest, the beta is not stable now and I don’t really recommend it to you.

If you are thrilled to test some of iOS 13’s features, wait until Apple releases iOS 13 public beta. This is Apple’s traditional way of testing its new iOS version on a larger scale and will roll out next month. Last year, iOS 12 public beta was released to the public on June 25 and Apple will do the same thing this year.

iOS 13 will not support all iPhone models out there. Older models like iPhone 6 won’t be getting iOS 13 when it lands in our shores this fall. If you have got iPhone 6 or older, then you are stuck with iOS 12.

Dark mode

This is something I have been expecting for years and it is finally here in iOS 13. Dark mode now works across the entire operating system, just like its macOS Mojave counterpart. You can quickly enable it from the Control Center and it turns all your stock apps, menus, notifications, widgets, and everything to a darker color, which is ideal for nighttime reading.

To be honest, most apps look really nice in dark settings. However, there are some instances where the text did not make the switch. The result is a sort of dark UI with white text. This seems plausible seeing that this is an unfinished work.

Faster app launch

Apple says that app launch speeds are up to twice as fast in iOS 13. However, I did not really feel the difference in the beta as it was laggy and crashed. One thing I did notice is the faster Face ID unlock when compared to iOS 12, but it is not massive.

Shared audio

Audio sharing is a cool iOS 13 feature that allows users to connect two pairs of AirPods with one iPhone. This means that two people can hear the same thing from one audio source. All you need to do is to hold your iPhones near each other, which eliminates the need for a headphone splitter.

The feature could be very convenient for two people sitting next to each other on a bus listening to the same music. However, it is very unstable, which is pretty annoying. Apple needs more time to work on the feature ahead of its public launch.

New QuickPath keyboard

iOS 13 is making typing much easier than before. Indeed, you now can insert a word by simply sliding across the keyboard. This is something Android has already had for over a decade. Previously, the only way to swipe-type on your iPhone is by using third-party keyboards like Google Keyboard or Swype. However, it’s now built directly into the operating system.

To be honest, this is pretty helpful, especially for typing long sentences on a bigger screen. Everything is smooth and you just need to slide your finger across the letters to form a word.

A revamped Photos app

The Photos app is now better, smarter and more visually appealing. All of your photos are now organized in a way that makes it easier to browse and relive your favorite moments. In reality, there are now 4 photo modes at the bottom, including Days, Months, Years, and All Photos.

  • All Photos: All your photos you have taken with your iPhone so far
  • Days: All the best photos you take each day
  • Months: All the best photos of each month
  • Years: A throwback of the best moments from recent years.

Apple also updated the image editing interface, making it easier to spice up your photos; you can adjust the brightness, crop your images, or reduce noises. The coolest part is that you now can adjust the lighting on a portrait photo directly within the Photos app; you can move the light closer or further away to make your portraits more beautiful.

Another cool feature is that you now can apply photo effects to videos and finally rotate them. That means you now have a full set of editing tools to spice up your videos, including sharpness, contrast, and noise reduction.

These are the 5 best iOS 13 features you need to check out. There were a lot of features Apple did not talk about at the keynote like Silence Unknown Callers, Wi-Fi Selection in Control Center, and Single Sign-On Extension.

The Verdict

iOS 13 brings about some changes we all want to see like Dark Mode, smarter Photos app, new keyboard, and better security. The beta version is very laggy and I don’t really recommend it to regular users. However, if you are a professional user who wants to test out the new software, you are good to go.

What do you think of iOS 13? Let us know in the comments below.

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