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Apple iOS 13 New Features: Dark Mode, Swipe Typing, Performance and Other Improvements

By: Shouvik Das

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Last Updated: June 04, 2019, 06:34 IST

Apple iOS 13 New Features: Dark Mode, Swipe Typing, Performance and Other Improvements

Apple's latest upgrade to iOS brings with itself the biggest design change since iOS 8, but a majority of the new features are still incremental in nature.

Apple has officially unveiled iOS 13, beginning the mobile OS segment of WWDC by taking a smooth dig at "the other folks" (read: Google's Android). The new operating system brings with itself the much-vaunted Dark Mode, which implements a dark theme across all system apps. Along with that, the biggest updates to the new OS include a claimed performance upgrade that should make the OS lighter on resources, which in turn would mean that Apple's promises of it running better on older resources.

Furthermore, Apple has finally introduced swipe typing on iOS' native keyboard, a thoroughly revised Reminders app (which Apple probably hopes you'd use instead of Google Calendar), faster Safari browser, additions to Mail and Notes, a new 'Sign in with Apple' feature focused on not tracking you around the web, new Memoji, editing of photos and videos through the photos app, and the bundled 'Find My' app.

Dark Mode

Dark Mode, as has been said, is bringing in a system-wide setting for the black theme, instead of the white and grey theme that has ruled iOS since forever. Not only is it a departure from Apple's preferred theme of interface, but has also allowed it to toy around with possibilities of a new UI design language. For instance, the darker theme has been used to improve the much-criticised Apple Music interface, while the new Photos and Notes layouts take advantage of the new colour theme too. Apple is also relying more on the Dark Mode for its interface than what Google appears to be doing with Android Q's dark theme.


Beyond the theme, the biggest deal is performance updates. It is a clear acceptance of two factors -- one, it is trying to make amends for the past iOS updates that have invariably slowed down performance on older iPhones, than maintain them or speed them up. Apple was also accused of deliberately throttling older devices, with many reports accusing it of trying to push users to upgrade, by doing so. Secondly, it is also a sign of acknowledgement from Apple that its software are no longer crown-bearers of being the outright fastest around, and the margins between iOS and Android are much thinner now.

On this note, Apple has stated that the new iOS 13 registers Face ID unlocks 30 percent faster, app downloads are 50 percent smaller in size, updates are 60 percent smaller, and app load times have halved, as per claims. This should make the software perform better than what iOS 12 have, and Apple will hope to have solved the cellular network issues as well.

QuickPath, Reminder, Mail

Joining the new iOS 13's improvements is native swipe-typing on the iOS keyboard, which in true Apple style, gets a true Apple name (QuickPath). The Reminders app is the next most improved app of the bunch, getting tile and list views of the Reminders interface. As you keep using the app, it will also use the integrated AI algorithm to predict what time to set your reminders at, contacts to tag, and even direct integration with Mail and Messages. Even Notes will get a similar new layout, and Apple was quick to point out that any AI integration will be done locally, and none of your data will be shared online.

Privacy, Memoji, Photos

To focus on user privacy in face of rising concerns, Apple has also introduced a 'Sign in with Apple' feature, which promises to not track you across the internet, use complete encryption for your data, and even mask your real email address with proxy strings to protect your identity. Also new here are Memoji -- augmented stickers that you can customise with eye shadows, lipsticks, hair colour, goggles and even hats, and use to express yourself more vividly (or alternatively, use as profile photos for iMessage).

In Photos, while you get new controls to edit photographs, the icing on the cake is native video editing, which for the first time will also let you flip videos from horizontal orientation to vertical. This may not sound like much, but can be far more useful than you would imagine. Finally, as expected, there is the new, fused Find My app. It does not get new functionalities per se, but combines the features of Find my Phone and Find my Friends into one app.

To summarise, iOS 13 is now swankier than before, while hopefully ironing out much of the creases that Apple's famed software has collected over time. Developer Preview of iOS 13 should be out soon, and the first public beta will reportedly roll out later this month. The new software will be rolled out to all iPhones upward of the iPhone 6s, including the iPhone SE.