If you haven’t installed iOS 13 on your iPhones yet, expect a dramatic new look. And by ‘dramatic’ we just don’t mean the dynamic dark-themed wallpapers and dark notification trays, but all the stock apps including Messages, Apple Music, Photos, Settings, Reminders and more. What’s the purpose? Well, it’s not just a visual overhaul but to make it go easy on your eyes in low light situations. Apple is known to keep the software design and features consistent across apps and the whole of UI and iOS 13 doesn’t disappoint you with the Dark mode.
We loved the Portrait photo editing features that come as a part of iOS 13. It’s easier to sharpen, brighten and make other tweaks to images. (Also, you finally get the ability to mirror selfie images. So yay!). There’ also the ‘High-Key Mono’ feature that although available only in iPhone XR and later models, changes a coloured shot to monochrome with high-contrast. The effect manages to balance the contrast and brightness well.
However, the massive change comes in the form of new video editing features. What most Android flagships are not able to deliver is the ability to tweak the brightness, contrast and more for a video, something iPhone users couldn’t do natively before. The best part is that it won’t take time as and when you tweak the video. The resulting frames are shown immediately. Where it does take time is when you click on ‘Save’. But nonetheless, we found this impressive. And it makes sense as Apple focused a lot on the new iPhone 11 series’ video capturing abilities.
If you’re not using Google Photos app, the native Photos app in iOS 13 brings a ‘major’ UI change. Now its easier to get hold of images and videos by filtering it based on years, months, weeks and days. These tabs show at the bottom and are definitely an easy way as compared to endless scrolling through the images and videos to search for that one picture.
With a brand new Maps app, you now get easy access to saved places. Many might find the idea of 3D experience with 360-degree panning more impressive than that of Google’s but then it is only available in select countries. Apple says it built the app from the ground up, showing more detailed buildings, roads and shops. And that’s true. We tried using just Apple Maps for a few days and were able to get things done easily. We can say that one can leave Google Maps for this.
Memoji feature gets a breath of fresh air. Those addicted to emojis now have more customisation options to look forward to. It comprises of new hairstyles, headgear, makeup and even piercings. They automatically become a sticker in your default keyboard so you can share them anytime in Messages, Mail and other third-party apps. Talking about keyboard, iOS 13 users finally get the privilege to use swipe gesture for typing (called QuickPath typing). We have seen this in Google’s Gboard and other keyboard apps as well and are just happy to see this finally coming as a native feature.
There are a lot more minor improvements including Siri Shortcuts to bring one-tap access to apps. It works most of the times but we don’t see it being used widely yet. What may get some traction though is the Audio Sharing feature for Airpods. Yes, you can finally play music from a single smartphone on two pair of Airpods at once. The Sharing tab is now cleaner and takes lesser screen area, which is nice to see.
Also, some visual upgrade has been done in CarPlay. There’s a new Calendar app that shows you the agenda for the day the entire time in addition to the Apple Music app with playback buttons and the album art. While these stay on one half of the screen, the second half is taken by the Maps app.
All in all, there is a visible performance boost with faster face unlock time, faster app launches and quicker download times. What’s a welcome addition here is the ‘Voice Control’ feature that lets you control the iPhone, navigate through options, edit texts and more without touching the device. This works well and is customisable as well. You can find the feature under Settings. So, with a change in look, more features and a powerful performance this is a big refresh if you take a closer look.
The new OS version has already been released to iPhone SE, iPhone 6S series, 7 series, 8 series and X series while the new iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Max come pre-installed with it.