iOS 13 is here — or rather, the public beta for iOS 13 has arrived, giving the masses their first chance to take Apple’s latest operating system for a spin. This year, Apple is splitting off its mobile software into two parts: iOS, for the iPhone (and the iPod touch if you still have one), and a new version called iPadOS, for the iPad, which you can check out first impressions of here.
Now, anyone can install this beta starting today, but if you don’t want to risk your phone, here are some first impressions of all the top new features.
Dark mode! It’s here! It makes things dark! Or rather, it makes the overall OS and Apple’s preinstalled apps dark since third-party apps aren’t getting updated yet with the new Dark Mode API that will let them flip, too. In addition to apps getting proper black backgrounds (which should help OLED battery life a bit, at least in theory), the dark theme applies to the glass textures for the dock and notifications, too.
Dark mode is the biggest cosmetic change to iOS here, and it looks pretty nice. The new theme is comprehensive across almost all of Apple’s apps, although there are some holdouts, like the Apple Store app and the iWork suite that haven’t gotten support yet.
It’s not just a toggle, though. Apple will let you automatically schedule when it turns on or off, too, or set it to coincide with sunrise and sunset, in addition to the planned Control Center toggle that will give users manual control (say, for when you’re in a dark room and don’t want to blind yourself).
One of the more surprising changes here is the new Photos app, which adds a new view mode that sorts pictures automatically by day, month, or year. It’s a little complicated at first, and in my testing, the algorithmic sorting didn’t work great, although that may be due to the limited number of photos on our test account. It’s a good idea in theory, though, meant to help highlight your best pictures from over time. Read more