While these subtle features may not be as flashy as Dark Mode or the new photo editing tools coming in iOS 13, they’re bound to make everyday tasks like replying to email and multitasking more convenient.
But in addition to these sweeping changes, Apple has also sprinkled many subtle updates throughout iOS 13 that are less noticeable but will have a big impact when it comes to convenience.
Apple hasn’t announced an official launch date for iOS 13 beyond this fall, but in years past the company has debuted its new smartphone software alongside its refreshed iPhone models in September.
Here’s a look at some of the smaller new features coming in iOS 13, from the ability to change settings like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi straight from the Control Center to better tab management in Safari.
Set tabs in Safari to close automatically after a day, a week, or a month.
If you often open new tabs when browsing the web on your smartphone and forget to close them, you’ll appreciate this new feature coming in iOS 13. You’ll be able to tell your iPhone to automatically close tabs in Safari after a designated period of time, such as a day, a week, or a month.
Just open your iPhone’s “Settings” menu, navigate to “Safari,” and select the “Close Tabs” option under the “Tabs” subhead. From here, you can choose to close tabs manually or select one of the options mentioned above.
Type just by swiping your finger across the keyboard.
The iPhone’s keyboard is finally getting swipe gesture recognition by default. When iOS 13 launches later this year, you’ll be able to type just by swiping your finger across the keyboard, just like you would when using a third-party keyboard like SwiftKey.
Apple has supported third-party keyboards for the iPhone for years, but building this feature into the iPhone’s keyboard makes it that much more convenient to use.
More easily manage email in the Mail app.
iOS 13 improves on the Mail app by offering controls for managing email in a cleaner and easier-to-navigate interface.
The Reply menu that’s accessible when tapping the reply button at the bottom of an email, for example, now offers a range of options, such as the ability to mute a thread, opt-in to notifications when a response is received, flag a message, and move a message to the trash, among other actions.
Adding all of these options to the same place in the reply menu makes sorting through emails feel much faster and more intuitive in Apple’s Mail app.
Get better visibility into how apps are using your location.
Many apps use your location in the background to provide services like directions and the weather. Now, in iOS 13, you’ll be able to get a better grasp of just how often apps are keeping track of your whereabouts. The software will occasionally send notifications that tell you how many times a particular app has used your location over a certain period of time. From there, you can decide to continue to always allow that app to use your location, or restrict its access to only view your location when you’re using the app.
Change Wi-Fi networks or connect to a Bluetooth device from the Control Center.
You’ll no longer have to dig into the settings menu to connect to nearby Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices when iOS 13 launches. Such actions are now accessible directly from the Control Center, which you can launch by pulling down from the top right corner of the screen on an iPhone X or later. (For other iPhone models, swipe up from the bottom edge of the screen.)
When in the Control Center, press and hold on the section that includes the symbols for cellular, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Airplane Mode. This will open a dedicated window for all of these controls. Then, press and hold on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to choose a network or device to connect to.
Send calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize straight to voicemail.
With robocalls on the rise , we’re probably screening our incoming calls more than ever before. Apple,like Google , is hoping to help with that. The company’s iOS 13 software offers a new setting that, when turned on, will send calls from phone numbers not found in your Contacts, Mail, or Messages app straight to voicemail.
Just open your iPhone’s settings menu, press the “Phone” option, and toggle the switch next to “Silence Unknown Callers.”
Have Siri read new text messages through your AirPods.
This new feature will come in handy during times when your phone is across the room or buried in your bag while listening to music through AirPods. In iOS 13, Siri will be able to read incoming text messages to you through your AirPods, making it so that you don’t have to reach for your phone and interrupt whatever you may be doing to check your phone.
Just open the “Settings” menu, tap “Siri & Search,” and choose the “Announce Messages with Siri” option to turn this on.
Adjust your iPhone’s sound level without having the volume indicator occupy space in the middle of the screen.
The volume indicator in iOS 13 has moved to a much less intrusive location near the top of the screen in iOS 13.
When pressing the volume button or toggling the mute switch on the side of the phone, you’ll notice the volume gauge is much smaller and is now situated above the home screen. This makes it feel more subtle and out-of-the-way compared to the previous location in the center of the iPhone’s display.
Play video and Live Photos without opening them individually.
Apple is making some big changes to the iPhone’s photo library in iOS 13, and among the biggest updates is the way it organizes photos by year, month, and date in the Photos tab. When browsing these sections, you’ll also notice that videos and Live Photos will play automatically without sound as you’re scrolling. It’s a helpful touch that makes it easier to get a quick glimpse at videos you’ve taken without having to take the time to open it.
The first HarmonyOS-powered phone from Huawei to arrive in 2021
Huawei’s HarmonyOS was unveiled last year during the Huawei Developer Conference and there’s a report claiming that this year’s conference on September 10 will bring the HarmonyOS 2.0. Interestingly, the rumor cites Richard Yu himself, the company’s CEO. And the first phone with the in-house operating system will launch as early as next year.
A smartphone running the said OS already exists and will likely hit the market next year along with a number of new devices including PCs, tablets, smart wearables and other IoT products. In fact, the first smartwatch running HarmonyOS is expected to make a debut until the end of this year.
iPhone XR will reportedly be replaced by iPhone 12s in Q2 2021
Previously, conflicting information had emerged about iPhone XR’s future. We now seemingly know when it will be discontinued and which phone will replace it.
The iPhone 12s will supposedly be LTE-only
Samsung, LG experiment with virtual demo rooms of the future amid IFA conference
Tech events so far this year have made something clear — it’s not tough for giants like Apple and Samsung to go all-virtual with their launches. But one aspect of a typical tech event doesn’t translate to a computer or phones screen: the demo room. Samsung thinks it’s found a possible solution.
The company on Wednesday hosted a virtual Life Unstoppable event that coincided with the IFA electronics show in Berlin. It wasn’t a typical press conference like the company’s two Unpacked events held over the past month. Instead, Samsung used Epic’s Unreal Engine for games to build a virtual, 3D tour experience — a sort of choose-your-own adventure digital demo — for the media and its partners.
“Would we have done it if COVID wasn’t around? I’m not sure,” Benjamin Braun, Samsung’s head of marketing for Europe, said in an interview. “That is a different way of presenting new products that no one’s done before.”
The novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 25 million people around the globe, has caused companies to rethink their product launches. GSMA canceled Mobile World Congress, the world’s biggest mobile show, a week before journalists arrived in Barcelona in late February. Instead of phone launches over the past several months, Apple, Samsung, Huawei and OnePlus all held digital events or introduced devices via press release.
IFA, taking place in Berlin from Sept. 3 to 5, is the only big tech conference with an in-person component this year. But only 5,000 people can attend, far below last year’s level of 200,000. While Samsung isn’t attending IFA, it’s still hosting events, like Life Unstoppable, that coincide with the shortened convention.
Samsung’s virtual house
Participants of Life Unstoppable will navigate around a digital house that contains about two dozen different Samsung devices, ranging from its $3,500 waterproof, outdoor Terrace TV to its updated Galaxy Z Fold 2 foldable phone. The visit revolves around a 45-minute guided tour, but participants are able to branch off on their own to look at the back ports of a TV or circle back to the kitchen to check out the appliances.
Samsung noted that “every detail,” from the home’s artwork to the furniture’s fabric, “was carefully selected following meticulous research into the type of guests that would be visiting Samsung House, resulting in a truly immersive home environment.”
There’s also an augmented reality component that lets people see what the new products, like TVs, will look like in their own homes. And Samsung noted that immersive 8D audio makes visitors feel like they’re really in the home
During Life Unstoppable, Samsung unveiled a host of new products, ranging from a smart video projector called The Premiere to its Wireless Charging Trio pad that can charge a phone, watch and earbuds at the same time. Samsung also introduced a new fitness band, the Galaxy Fit 2; a low-priced 5G smartphone, the Galaxy A42 5G; and the budget Galaxy Tab A7 tablet.
While Samsung determined Life Unstoppable was the best format for IFA, Braun said, it may go a different route with CES and other trade shows.
“We constantly need to force evolution, force innovation, not only in our products but also in the way we present ourselves,” Braun said. “At some point, once COVID is under control and we’re back to potentially physical [events], then we need to rethink them as well. How do we merge the two?”
LG’s ‘virtual exhibition’ and IFA’s ‘Xtended Space’
Samsung isn’t the only company trying to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation by creating a virtual experience for regular show attendees to enjoy in lieu of IFA this year.
On Tuesday, LG launched its IFA “virtual exhibition,” demonstrating its latest product lineups within a realistic rendering of its usual IFA home — the Berlin Messe’s Hall 18.
First impressions show this to be an improvement to the usual in-person experience. No longer must you spend upwards of 30 minutes attempting to navigate the labyrinthine convention center with its many entrances and exits to reach the LG booth, and gone are the hordes of people that usually delay your journey even further.
But as you click through the virtual exhibition, you start to remember why attending these shows in person was important in the first place.
The cinema screening room in which you are supposed to be able to enjoy the deep blacks of LG’s latest screen technology doesn’t have quite the same impact when you’re viewing it through your own laptop or phone screen. The same is true when testing the sound quality of LG’s speakers and headphones in its virtual audio booth.
It’s hard to say how cool and effective LG’s rollable TV is without being able to examine it from all angles. Maybe it would help if you could navigate the exhibition in VR, which would allow for a more immersive, less static experience. Samsung said its Life Unstoppable home could be viewed in VR, but it was mostly designed for PCs, phones or tablets.
While LG and Samsung are offering their own takes on the virtual trade show, the wider event is also going online this year via a digital platform it’s calling IFA Xtended Space.
All the new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets and more from IFA 2019
Through an online hub, virtual attendees will be able to join live streams of keynotes, press conferences, panel sessions, presentations and virtual exhibitor presentations and match-making opportunities that will allow them to establish new business contacts. New products will even be presented in 3D, although it remains to be seen how easy it is to form a proper first impression of new tech without being able to touch it or hold it in your hands.
IFA’s organizers acknowledge that this year’s show won’t replicate the experience most regular attendees are accustomed to, but they believe its digital platform will offer something novel to people — whether they’re using it to supplement their in-person visit to the show, or to attend remotely.
“A digital platform can hardly compensate for a true on-site experience,” IFA Executive Director Jens Heithecker said Tuesday in a press release. “However, the IFA Xtended Space enables all those who are interested to know even more and those who cannot join the IFA 2020 Special Edition physically in Berlin to have a truly unique virtual experience.”
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