iOS 13: The five best features and how they work

ZDNet's Beth Mauder walks you through her five favorite iOS 13 features and how you can try them on the iPhone.
Written by Elizabeth Mauder, Editor

Apple is releasing the next major version of its mobile operating system, iOS 13, on Sept. 19. This is a software update that comes with the new iPhone 11 and will roll out over the air to some older iPhones. 

Also: iPhone 11, Pro, and Pro Max: All the best deals

It's not a drastic overhaul of iOS or anything like that, but it does bring a handful of new features. ZDNet's Beth Mauder takes you through her five favorite new updates. 

Watch the video above, or read through the transcript below to learn more about iOS 13 and how it works. 

Best new iOS 13 features

Also: Get your iPhone and iPad ready for iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 

Stop unknown callers

I can't tell you how many spam calls I get. Thankfully, iOS 13 combats that. Your iPhone can now block unknown callers who aren't in your contacts or found in your email. 

To enable this feature, go to Settings > Phone > andtoggle to Silence Unknown Callers. When on, unknown calls won't make your phone ring and are sent to voicemail.


Apple has introduced a QuickPath feature on the iPhone -- and it's literally what it sounds like. You place your finger on the keyboard and swipe from letter to letter to spell out a message. QuickPath is enabled by default after installing iOS 13; you don't have to turn it on.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in Control Center

iOS 13 now gives you the ability to quickly access Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings through the Control Center --  just swipe down from the top-right corner. You'll be able to long-press on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth buttons to view and connect to available networks or devices without having to open Settings. And simply downloading iOS 13 adds this new feature.

Dark mode

Dark mode is a feature we've already seen incorporated into the Mac, and some apps like Twitter also have it. But now the iPhone offers it -- system-wide. Dark mode reduces strain on your eyes and saves your battery. To turn it on, swipe into the Control Center, and then tap the Dark Mode button. You'll also be able to schedule it to turn on at night or set other hours.

Find My

Apple merged Find My Friends and Find My iPhone into a single app, called Find My. What's also new is you can now help find lost devices for people and vice versa. 

If you lose your iPhone and have Find My iPhone enabled, you can mark your phone as lost. Apple will then crowdsource its location by asking all Apple devices to look for your phone's Bluetooth signal. Once the signal is found, you'll be notified. But, don't worry, Apple says the service is completely anonymous and encrypted.

Want to try these features in iOS 13?

Once Apple releases iOS 13 on Sept. 19, just open upthe Settings app on your phone and head to General > Software Update > and hit Install. That's it! 

iOS 13: Things Apple still needs to fix

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