Apple’s rumored iOS 13 update is getting closer and today we want to take you through everything we know, and think we know, about iOS 12’s successor.
The iOS 12.4 release is on the horizon, but the first version of iOS 13 will probably arrive before the official version of iOS 12.4 touches down for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
As we push toward Apple’s annual developer conference, iOS 13 rumors are picking up. We don’t have the full picture yet, but we have enough to provide you with a broad outline of the key components which include the beta, the iOS 13 release date, the devices getting iOS 13, and the update’s rumored features.
iOS 13 Beta
Next month, Apple will take the stage at WWDC 2019 where it will go over the changes it’s making to its software this year.
WWDC 2019 starts the morning of June 3rd in San Jose, California. There, Apple will make a keynote the morning of June 3rd (10 AM PT/1 PM ET? where it will outline iOS 13 as well as software updates for Mac, Apple TV, and Apple Watch. The company will almost certainly confirm an iOS 13 beta as well.
Apple’s beta programs give developers and average users a chance to test out new features ahead of time. It also helps the company weed out bugs and performance issues before software updates hit millions of users around the world.
The iOS 13 beta will likely kickoff sometime after the conclusion of the keynote, probably around Noon or 1PM Pacific. Unfortunately, Apple typically staggers the initial beta releases.
Those with a paid developer account will likely get access to the iOS 13 beta in early June, but those in the free Beta Software Program will likely have to wait until late June for access. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The first couple of betas are usually rough, plagued with various bugs and performance issues that Apple will eventually iron out over time. If you depend on your phone or tablet to get you through the day, you’ll probably want to avoid the iOS 13 beta. Or, at the very least, the initial offering(s).
From there, we’ll likely see several iterations of the iOS 13 beta as the company and its army of beta testers poke and prod it for issues. Generally we see around six or seven betas before the initial release.
For more about the iOS 13 beta, please take a look at our guide.
iOS 13 Release Date
The iOS 13 beta will stretch over several months culminating with a release sometime in the fall after another event and Apple keynote.
We don’t have a specific date to share with you at the moment, but odds are good that iOS 13 launches sometime in September for most iOS 12-powered devices.
September is a key month in Apple’s annual release cycle and it’s usually when the company pulls its new iOS software out of beta and releases it for millions of phones and tablets around the earth. And as of right now, it doesn’t look like Apple will deviate from that protocol in 2019.
2019 iPhone rumors are pointing to a release this fall and September is the month Apple typically uses to announce and sell its new iPhones.
iOS 13 will likely make another appearance on stage during the iPhone launch event, this time in official form, and Apple will set a final date for its release.
iOS release dates typically fall between the media event and the new iPhone’s release date.
New iPhones run the new iOS software out of the box which means the 2019 iPhones will run iOS 13, not iOS 12, when they arrive later this year.
In addition to iOS 13, Apple’s 2019 iPhones are rumored to have new cameras, several design changes, improved LTE and Wi-Fi, and battery life improvements.
Which Devices Will Get iOS 13?
Last year, Apple bumped all iOS 11-powered devices to iOS 12. This was a big deal because it meant an additional year of support for fossils like the iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2. Apple typically kills off support at the four year mark, but the decision gave a fifth year of life to these aging devices.
Now before you get excited about a sixth year of support for the iPhone 5s or fifth year of support for the iPhone 6, note that iOS 12 was essentially an apology for everything Apple got wrong with iOS 11.
iOS 12 and its performance enhancements virtually transformed older devices overnight. Phones and tablets that were struggling on iOS 11 blossomed on iOS 12. And, we should note, iOS 12’s performance is still great on older phones like the iPhone 5s and iPhone 6.
Now that everything has (mostly) settled, there’s no guarantee Apple pushes iOS 13 to these older variants. We could see a bunch of devices left behind on iOS 12 and rumors suggest we could see more than just the iPhone 5s left behind.
A questionable rumor from French blog iPhoneSoft.fr claims that Apple will drop support for the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE, original iPad Air, and iPad mini 2.
This is not the first time we’ve heard this and while it seems plausible, there are some holes in the story. For one, the iPhone SE uses the same A9 processor as the iPhone 6s and the fifth-generation iPad, both of which are on the rumored list of devices getting bumped to iOS 13.
On top of that, the iPhone SE was released just over three years ago and Apple usually provides four years of software support before it pulls the plug.
We won’t know for sure until June 3rd when Apple confirms the list of devices getting the iOS 13 beta.
For now, here’s a list of devices that are either in their fourth, third, second, or first year of software support from Apple. These are the devices that will almost certainly get iOS 13.
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone SE
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad (2018)
- iPad Air 4
- iPad (2017)
- iPad mini 5
- iPad mini 4
iOS 13 Features
We’ll get an official list of iOS 13 features at WWDC, but we already have a list of rumored features that we’ve compiled from various reports over the past few months.
According to a report from Bloomberg, Apple is planning to bring dark mode (a feature it brought to Macs with macOS Mojave last year) over to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 13. This information has been backed by a report from 9to5Mac.
When Dark Mode is active you can focus on the app you’re using while the rest of the system fades into the background. It’s built into Apple’s first-party applications and some third-party apps also support it. It also makes a device’s display easier on the eyes at night.
It also looks like you’ll be able to turn dark mode on and off right from Control Center giving you easy access to one of iOS 13’s best features.
The same Bloomberg report claims Apple is planning to bring some big changes to the iPad and CarPlay.
Apple is reportedly planning to include “iPad-specific upgrades like a new home screen, the ability to tab through multiple versions of a single app like pages in a web browser, and improvements to file management.”
9to5Mac’s report backs this up and claims Apple will include the ability for “apps to have multiple windows.” Each window “will also be able to contain sheets that are initially attached to a portion of the screen, but can be detached with a drag gesture, becoming a card that can be moved around freely.”
The site also claims that Apple is aiming to bring an undo gesture for text input on the iPad. The gesture will reportedly require a three-finger tap on the keyboard area and sliding left and right will allow you to undo and redo actions.
9to5Mac also claims that Apple’s making some major changes to the popular Mail application. The upgraded version of the app “will be able to organize messages into categories such as marketing, purchases, travel, “not important” and more, with the categories being searchable. You’ll also be able to add messages to a “read later” queue.
According to Bloomberg, there are also some major changes in the Messages app including the ability to use a profile photo and display name and a new dedicated menu for Animoji characters and Memoji stickers.
iOS 13 feature set also reportedly includes:
- Redesigned Reminders application
- Redesigned volume HUD
- Improvements to “Hey Siri” which includes the ability to reject common background noises like babies crying
- Improved multilingual support for keyboards and dictation
- Expanded in-app printing controls
- A system-wide sleep mode located in Control Center that turns on Do Not Disturb, darkens the lock screen, and mutes all notifications
- Tweaks to the Maps app that include an easier way to setup your most frequented locations
- A new default swipe-based keyboard similar to Swiftkey
- Bug fixes and performance improvements
Now it’s important to remember that iOS 13’s feature set in June might be different from the feature set in September. Apple often adds and subtracts features based on their performance in testing.
Features that go missing are often added back in milestone upgrades (iOS 13.1, etc) later on in the development cycle.
Install iOS 12.3 for Better Security
If you're on the fence, here's one of the best reasons to install iOS 12.3.
If you value your device's security, you'll want to download iOS 12.3 in the near future because it comes with new security patches.
The iOS 12.3 update includes 23 important security patches and you can read about all of them right here.
If you skipped iOS 12.2, you'll get its security patches with your version of iOS 12.3.
iOS 12.2 brought a whopping 41 security patches to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in March. You can read more about the iOS 12.2's patches over on the company's website.
It's also important to note that iOS 12.2 patched up an exploit that allowed websites to use motion sensors to "fingerprint" devices.
Fortunately, Apple patched this issue up in iOS 12.2. If you skipped it, you'll probably want to move to iOS 12.3 soon.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.4, you get four important security patches including fixes for a widespread FaceTime eavesdropping bug that lets you call someone via FaceTime and hear the audio coming from their phone before they pick up the phone.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.3, you get some additional patches with your version of iOS 12.3. Again, they're baked into your upgrade.
Apple lists a grand total of 23 patches on board iOS 12.1.3 and you can read about all of them over on Apple's website.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.1, you'll probably want to install the iOS 12.3 update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch today.
The iOS 12.1.1 update brought 17 patches for potential security exploits. They'll will help protect your phone. You can read about them here.
If you skipped iOS 12.1, you'll get the 24 patches from that update with your version of iOS 12.3. If you skipped iOS 12.0.1, your iOS 12.3 update brings two additional patches. Both patches are for potential lock screen exploits.
If you skipped iOS 12.0, and you're still running iOS 11.4.1 or below, your iOS 12.3 update comes with a longer list of security updates.
The iOS 12.0 update delivered 16 patches for security issues. You can read about all of them over on Apple's security page.
In addition to those patches, iOS 12 delivers new security features aimed at protecting you and the data you store on your device. These include:
Long story short, if you store sensitive data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you have some really good reasons to upgrade to iOS 12.3 today.
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