Beta yourself with iOS 13 and iPad OS 13

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Apple’s iPhone operating system hits its teens, and spawns a tablet-specific version… Stuff tells you how to make the most of its fab new features and little-known tricks.

The Basics

Back up first: Unless starting afresh, back up your existing device to iCloud. Then plug the thing into a Mac or PC, fire up iTunes and take a full local backup. Chances are, nothing will go wrong when you update to iOS 13… but if your device turns into a brick, you’ll be glad your data’s safe.

Adjust the Home screen: Apple has embraced the dark side. During setup, you can opt for the new Dark Mode, which can also be toggled using Control Centre’s Brightness slider (long-press and tap Appearance). Long presses on the Home screen now give you a contextual menu rather than jiggling apps. And the iPad gets widgets, but only on one Home screen. Baby steps.

Manage your files: Files is more like a desktop file manager now: connect to USB storage or SMB servers (‘…’ in Browse); zip folders with a long tap and Compress; long-press a folder’s background and choose ‘Scan documents’ to scan to that location, rather than first using Notes. On iPad, a Column view offers metadata and actions for the current selection.

Find your way: Maps now has its own take on Street View – you can access Look Around via the binoculars button. Its 3D view is smooth and, in full screen, adds tappable locations to places of interest. Naturally, it initially works in only a handful of US cities. Sigh. But map collections are worldwide: select a place, tap ‘Add to…’, add it to a collection and share with friends.

Go a little bit PC: In the Accessibility section of Settings, go to Touch > AssistiveTouch and turn it on. Disable ‘Always show menu’, plug in a USB mouse or connect a Bluetooth one, and you’ve something closer to a PC setup. Note, Apple’s keen to stress this isn’t proper mouse support, and it works differently from on a Mac or PC, instead of aping a finger.

Do the Splits

Use Split View: On iPad, Split View now enables you to open multiple instances of any app, to pair arbitrarily across numerous spaces. Drag content – a web link, an email address – to its own space to create a new window. Tap a Dock icon for App Exposé, which shows an app’s open windows.

Try Slide Over: Slide Over now behaves like a virtual iPhone. Swipe along the bottom to switch apps. Slide upwards to view recent Slide Over apps. Remember you can now open apps in Slide Over and elsewhere.

On Safari 

Take full-screen grabs: Shoot a screenshot in Safari as normal, and then tap the thumbnail that appears at the bottom-left of the screen. Tap the ‘Full page’ tab and use the strip at the right to navigate and mark up the page, before exporting it to PDF. This also works in Notes.

Go desktop on iPad: Safari on iPad now pretends to be running on a Mac. So you get a downloads manager, ‘weak password’ warnings and per-site settings you can tweak. Also, web apps like those from Google finally work properly on the iPad.

Take Control

Silence strangers: In Settings, head to Phone and turn on ‘Silence unknown callers’. Calls from unknown numbers will be silenced and sent to voicemail. They’re still logged in the Phone app’s Recents tab, so you can call back or block accordingly.

Access Wi-Fi networks: Pull down Control Centre and long-press to expand the network icons. Then long-press again on the Wi-Fi button. You can now change the network without taking a trip to Settings. Bluetooth and AirDrop have similar new toys.

Sign in privately: ‘Sign In with Apple’ will soon be all over your apps. It uses your Apple ID rather than sign-up forms, and you sign in with Face ID or Touch ID. Not keen on handing over your email? The system can hide it.

All in the Edit

Improve snaps and vids: A new curated tab in Photos helps to bring up favourite moments, and the revamped editor makes snaps better. New cropping and adjustment tools create a vastly better experience than on iOS 12.

Perfect your text: Flex your fingers for some new copy-editing gestures: three-finger pinch/unpinch to copy/paste (pinch twice for cut); three-finger swipe left/right to undo/redo; move the cursor just by dragging it. And you can select a word, sentence or paragraph with two, three or four taps.

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Deputy Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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