Did you know you can now reject all unknown calls on your iPhone to block telemarketing and scam phone calls? This is just one of the useful new settings Apple included in September’s iOS 13 update for iPhones and iPads.
iOS 13 includes some powerful hidden text-editing gestures. Many of these gestures work anywhere in the OS, not just while editing text. You can now undo changes by:
- Swiping left on the screen with three fingers or
- Double-tapping the screen with three fingers
You can finally say goodbye to Apple’s least useful “gesture”—shake to undo. Head to Settings > Accessibility > Touch and toggle “Shake to Undo” to off. This option has been here for a long time, but in iOS 13, Apple has finally provided some alternative gestures.
You can also redo a change by swiping right on the screen with three fingers. Use these new gestures to undo or redo changes like moving an email message to the wrong folder and in third-party apps that support undo and redo functionality.
Enable Dark Mode (Automatically)
When you upgrade, iOS 13 asks whether you want to enable the brand new Dark Mode. If you rushed through the initial setup process, you might have missed it, or you might want to try switching between light and dark themes automatically.
Head to Settings > Display & Brightness to toggle Dark Mode. Enable the “Automatic” option to automatically switching between Light and Dark at sunrise and sunset, just as you can enable Night Shift at sunset and disable it at sunrise. You can also enable a custom schedule here if you keep unusual hours and would still like to use both themes.
Third-party apps can detect whether or not Dark Mode is enabled and display their content accordingly. If you have an OLED display (iPhone X, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11 Pro models), then Dark Mode may even improve your battery life, since OLED displays actually “switch off” pixels when displaying black. This is why OLED displays have deeper black levels than their LCD counterparts.
Silence Calls From Unknown Callers
Are you one of those people who won’t answer a phone call from unknown callers? You’re not alone. Apple has now added an option to iOS 13 to automatically reject all calls from numbers that are not in your contact list. You can enable the feature under Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers.
When you receive a call from an unknown number, your iPhone won’t ring like it usually would. The number will be saved to your list of recent callers in the Phone app, and the caller will be invited to leave a message. The person calling will hear the standard number of rings before being transferred to voicemail.
This doesn’t just affect undisclosed numbers (often labeled “Unknown Caller”). It applies to all numbers that aren’t in your contact list. Your iPhone will still let through numbers in your contacts list, numbers you’ve called recently, and “Siri Suggestions” based on your phone usage.
New Location Data Permissions
iOS 13 makes it even easier than ever to control how your location data is shared. You will receive periodic reminders that apps are using your location data in the background, and you will be asked if you want to continue allowing them to do so. Apps can also no longer request permanent access to your location the first time you open them.
You can beat the notifications by reviewing your privacy settings today. Head to Settings > Location Services and scroll down to see a list of apps that have asked for your location data. Tap each one and choose between Never, Ask Next Time, While Using the App, and Always.
“Ask Next Time” is a good option for most apps, since it allows you to select “Allow Once” when the app requests location data. The more conservative “While Using the App” is the next best option for apps you frequently use, particularly social media apps like Facebook and Twitter.
You should always think twice before granting an app permission to “Always” use your permission. Apps with widgets and Apple Watch companions only require “While Using the App” to fetch relevant data. Each app should put a small description beneath these options to explain which features require access to your location at all times.
Control Which Apps Can Access Bluetooth
iOS 13 introduces a new privacy control that allows you to dictate which apps have access to Bluetooth data. Some apps can use Bluetooth data to scan the environment for devices and then use that information to serve up relevant advertisements.
To crack down on this, apps now have to ask for permission to use Bluetooth. As you use apps that request Bluetooth access, you will be prompted to grant or deny permission. Be judicious when giving consent. If an app has little need for access to Bluetooth, deny that request.
You can review your existing privileges under Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth. If you use Facebook, then you will have already had to grant or deny access to Bluetooth, and you can review your decision under Settings > Privacy > Bluetooth.
Strip Location Data from Images When Sharing
Photos are more than image files. They also contain metadata that includes information about the photo, including which camera and lens were used, the camera settings, and also location data. If you have granted Camera access to your Location Services under Settings > Privacy > Location Services, GPS coordinates are captured in each photo you click.
For the record, we aren’t suggesting that you deny the Camera app access to your location. The ability to view your images on a map or group them by place is one of the great advantages of mobile photography. Sharing all that extra information with the whole world can be a problem though.
Fortunately, you can now strip location data from your photos when sharing them:
- Launch Photos and select the image(s) you want to share.
- Tap the Share button to bring up a list of recipients and actions.
- At the very top of the screen where it says “1 photo selected” tap on Options.
- Uncheck “Location” and tap Done.
You’ll need to do this each time you share any photos.
Disable Optimized Battery Charging to Reach 100%
In a bid to improve long term battery performance, Apple has introduced a new setting in iOS 13 called Optimized Battery Charging. The feature, which is enabled by default, uses machine learning to prevent your device from charging past 80% until you need it.
Previously iOS would charge your device to 100%, allow it to discharge, then trickle charge back up to 100%. Over time this results in battery degradation, which is what Optimized Charging hopes to delay. However, if you have a bit of an erratic schedule or your iPhone battery is already in dire condition, you might want to disable the feature.
Head to Settings > Battery > Battery Health and uncheck “Optimized Battery Charging” to disable the feature. We recommend that most users leave this setting alone. If your iPhone refuses to charge to 100% is causing issues with your schedule, then you may want to turn it off.
Take Control of Safari with the Website Settings Panel
Safari in iOS 13 has a few noticeable changes. The “AA” button in the top-left corner of the screen is no longer used purely for Reader mode. Tap it, and you’ll see the ability to change font sizes, Show Reader View, request a desktop version of the website you’re browsing and hide the toolbar altogether for a full-screen experience.
You’ll also find an option called Website Settings. Tap on it, and you’ll be able to set up default behaviors for many of your favorite websites. This includes the ability always to request the desktop website, as well as automatically using Reader view wherever possible.
This is also where you can review permissions on a per-website basis. You can permanently grant or deny access to your camera, microphone, and location. That last one is particularly handy if you’re sick of Google repeatedly asking for your location when conducting searches. Leave these settings at “Ask” to be prompted every time.
Other iOS 13 Changes You Should Check Out
There are a lot of changes to keep track of in iOS 13, so you’re bound to have missed something. Top of the list is the new “Sign in with Apple” option which provides a single-sign-on that uses your Apple ID without giving away unnecessary personal information. It’s like Sign in with Facebook or Sign in with Google, except it’s more privacy-focused than these services. For example, you can choose to share an anonymous, disposable email address with each service you sign into. Emails sent to that address will be forwarded to your primary email address, but the service won’t learn your real email address.
Open up the App Store, and you’ll see a new tab for Apple Arcade. The new subscription gaming service costs $4.99 per month with a free month-long trial, and will eventually provide access to “100+” games to download and enjoy. The service is well-priced, the games are of high quality, and there are no microtransactions or free-to-play economies allowed.
There’s a lot to love about iOS 13. Check out the full list of new features and changes in Apple’s latest update.