iOS 13 hands-on: dark mode, Apple Maps, reminders and more

Apple's IOS 13 is here – or rather, the public beta for iOS 13 has arrived, giving the masses the first chance to devour Apple's latest operating system. This year, Apple is splitting its mobile software into two parts: iOS, for the iPhone (and the iPod touch if you still have one), and a new version called iPadOS, for the iPad, which gives you the first impressions from here.


Now everyone can install this beta from today, but if you don't want to risk your phone, here are some first impressions of all the new top features.

Dark side of the mode

Dark mode! It's here! It makes things dark! Or rather, it makes the overall OS and Apple & # 39; s pre-installed apps dark because third-party apps are not yet updated with the new Dark Mode API with which they can also flip. In addition to apps that get the right black backgrounds (which could somewhat help the life of the OLED battery, at least in theory), the dark theme also applies to the glass structures for the dock and notifications.

The dark mode is the biggest cosmetic change in iOS here, and it looks good. The new theme has been expanded in almost all Apple apps, although there are a number of holdouts, such as the Apple Store app and the iWork suite that have not yet received support.


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge and Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

However, it is not just a toggle. Apple lets you schedule automatically when it is turned on or off, or set it to coincide with sunrise and sunset, in addition to the scheduled switch button in the Control Center that gives users manual control (for example, when you are in the dark). space and you don't want to blind yourself).

photos & # 39; s

One of the more surprising changes here is the new Photos & # 39; s app, which adds a new viewing mode that automatically sorts photos by day, month, or year. In the beginning it was a bit complicated and the algorithmic sorting did not work properly during testing, although that may be due to the limited number of photos on our test account. In theory, it is a good idea to help you mark your best photos over time.

Much more important, however, are the new editing tools, which are surprisingly powerful. You can edit brightness, highlights, shadows, contrast, saturation, white balance, sharpness, definition, vignette and noise reduction on photos. The user interface is simple: it's just a scroll wheel of the different photo modes to edit, with a slider to adjust the effect, but the results are impressive, and more importantly, the new app is super fast.

Pro users will still want to stick to more comprehensive solutions such as Lightroom, but for most people the new tools should be more than enough to adjust an image before it is sent to Instagram or Facebook. And based on what's up to now, some of the most basic photo editing tools in the App Store are certainly at risk Get Sherlocked.

Apple Maps

Apple Maps gets a lot of nonsense from the disastrous launch and the fact that Google Maps has been so much better for so long. But Apple hopes to change that reputation to iOS 13, which gets a whole new Maps app.


First impressions are surprisingly good: the new cards contain much more data than the old ones; the quick row of favorites icons for home, work and your favorite stores or restaurants is handy; and there's a collection feature that lets you group and share places – for example, when you want to plan a vacation or share your favorite places to eat with a friend. I have already compiled lists of my favorite bars and restaurants in the city, and it is something that I can see myself using in the future.

Apple has also made a number of major speed improvements here, especially when you huddle the map and pick up directions. Compared to the ever-improving Google Maps, the slimmer, more focused Apple app is actually pretty fun.

Other parts of the update are from Apple just coming to cruising speed, with additions such as real-time public transportation estimates and a new, Google Street View-like mode that are just table stakes. Apple has also made a number of major improvements to CarPlay, where my colleague Dan Seifert has studied here.

Is this all enough to overcome the huge head start of Google Maps? We will have to wait and see, but for the first time I can imagine Apple Maps to be an option, which in itself seems like a victory.


The old Apple Reminders app was extremely bare. The only prominence was due to Apple's privileged position as a standard option. The new one is much more complete, from basic additions (you can now filter reminders from your lists of what needs to be done today, what is highlighted and what is planned) to the more complex (a new quick menu bar that is displayed via the keyboard for things like geofences , add times or images to reminders).


A heavy dose of Siri has also been added, for a Fantastical-like detection of what you are typing (ie type "Remember to feed the fish every afternoon" and you will be prompted to turn that into a daily reminder.) And in a handy trick is to tag your contacts in your memories so that you will be pinged in cool cross-app functionality the next time you try to transfer them to iMessage.

The new Reminders app is still not the best, and dedicated GTD software such as Things of will still function better if you need more functionality. But given the placement as the standard option for Siri and the deep integration of iOS and MacOS, it's good to see that Apple has made some effort to make improvements. And with those inherent benefits, the rest of the app is just good enough, maybe good enough.

The rest

  • Search My combination Search my iPhone and find my friends. It looks good, and the new local Bluetooth tracking seems useful, but this seems to be an early introduction to Apple launching its own Tile competitor (which is rumored to be coming this fall).
  • Speed ​​improvements: Apple says the entire operating system should be faster, with apps that launch faster and downloads that take up less space. It was hard to get an idea of ​​those improvements on a first-class iPhone XS, which already has more power than needed to work comfortably with iOS. Hopefully Apple can continue its iOS 12 momentum here.
  • The new swipe keyboard is great. Apple is really late here (Swype was launched in 2002, for reference), but the forecast works well and the swiping is fast.

  • Apple has And last but not least fixed the volume indicator: it now appears as a small slider on the left side of the screen, instead of hiding the entire view of whatever you were doing. One more for the list & # 39; Why did this take so long? & # 39 ;, But it is good to see that it has finally been addressed. (Currently, it is against the custom volume bars that apps like Instagram and YouTube have devised to bypass the old ones, but hopefully that will be addressed when those apps are updated for iOS 13.)
  • The new Health app now offers you more intelligent data that shows trends in your condition over time. Apple has also finally added a built-in period tracker that will help you predict and synchronize cycles with the equally redesigned app on the Apple Watch.
  • Memoji has more options to customize them, and Apple is now letting you turn them into stickers to use as what are in fact custom emoji, which may make them more useful for actually sending messages to people.

What's missing

However, there are some notable gaps in iOS 13 right now: there are not two of Apple & # 39; s major new subscription services that the company announced earlier this year. Apple Card and Apple TV Plus are currently completely absent, while a third, Apple Arcade, only has a sample tab in the App Store (which brings the updates tab rather annoyingly into a submenu in the App Store app).

Apple's upcoming Sign in With service is also missing, which in theory would offer a more privacy-focused way to log in to apps and services that do not expose or collect your personal information. It has the potential to become a major problem – especially since Apple plans to make it mandatory for apps that offer third-party sign-in services, such as Google and Facebook – but now it's not available in beta.

As a reminder, this is still a beta, so some things may not work yet, or Apple may change this before iOS 13 is launched in the fall. It can also mess up your phone, so make sure you've supported everything and installed it at your own risk. We have a lot more to offer on iOS 13 in the coming months, especially as we get closer to the planned fall release date.


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