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iOS 13 Hidden Features: Mute Mail Threads, Silence Unknown Callers, Reading Goals, Low Data Mode and More

Apple this week debuted iOS 13 with a ton of updates, including a new dark mode option, major performance improvements, faster Face ID, simpler photo editing tools and a new Photos interface, a Sign In With Apple Privacy feature, a swipe-based keyboard, and tons more.

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In addition to these features that made it into Apple's keynote event, there are dozens if not hundreds of smaller hidden features that are included in iOS 13. Below, is our comprehensive list new and notable "hidden" features in iOS 13.

Wi-Fi Options in Control Center


You can change WiFi networks right from Control Center, but it's a bit annoying to get to. Long press in the middle of the WiFi/Bluetooth widget to bring up the extended options, and then Force Touch the WiFi icon to see a list of networks available.

iOS 13 Wi-fi Options

Bluetooth Options in Control Center


As with Wifi, you can access your list of available Bluetooth devices from the Control Center. Long press in the middle of the WiFi/Bluetooth widget to bring up the extended options and then Force Touch on the Bluetooth icon to see a list of Bluetooth devices you've connected to before.

iOS 13 Bluetooth options

Location Settings


Apple mentioned during the keynote that location access is getting scaled back in iOS 13, and in the Settings app, there's a new option that requires an app to ask each time it wants to access your location.

iOS 13 Location Settings

Block Senders in Mail


In iOS 13, your list of blocked phone numbers and contacts extends to the Mail app, which lets you block people from sending you mail. The Settings app has a feature for blocking contacts in Mail and ignoring blocked senders.

iOS 13 Ignore Blocked

Thread Muting in Mail


If you swipe on a message in the Mail app and then choose "More," there's a new option to mute a thread so you won't get notifications when a new email in that thread is received.

iOS 13 Mut Threads

Reading Goals in Books


In the Books app, there's a new Reading Goals feature that keeps track of how long you've read each day. The app encourages you to read every day, see your stats soar, and finish more books.

iOS 13 Reading Goals
- Silence Unknown Callers - In the Phone section of the Settings app, there's a new toggle that will let you block all unknown callers, cutting down on spam calls that you're receiving.

iOS 13 Silence Unknown Callers

Low Data Mode


In the Settings app under Cellular, there's an option to enable Low Data Mode, which says it helps apps on your iPhone reduce their network data use. There's also a Low Data Mode option that can be enabled for specific WiFi networks.

iOS 13 Low Data Mode

Improved Messages Search


In the Messages app, when you swipe down to search, you'll see a new interface with suggested contacts and links you've been sent. Searches bring up the most recent results, with an option to see more by tapping "See All."

iOS 13 Messages Search

Notes Folder Management


In the Notes app in iOS 13, there are new tools for managing your folders. Tap the "..." button to get to options like Add People, Move This Folder, Rename, and View Attachments.

iOS 13 Notes Management

PS4/Xbox Controller Support


Apple announced PS4/Xbox One S controller support for Apple TV, but these controllers will also be supported on iPhone and iPad.

iOS 13 Game Controller Support

New Animoji


There are three new Animoji in iOS 13: a cow, an octopus, and a mouse. As mentioned on stage, there are also tons of new accessories for your Memojis, and there are new Memoji stickers you'll see available in the emoji portion of the iOS keyboard.

iOS 13 Animoji

Separate Emoji and Globe Keys


The emoji key on the iOS keyboard is no longer the same key as the globe key that lets you switch between languages. The emoji key lives next to the number key and the globe is now below. In iOS 12, a long press swapped between functions of the all-in-one key.

iOS 13 Keyboard Buttons

Automatic Safari Tab Closing


In the Safari section of the Settings app, there's a new option to automatically close all of the tabs that you have open in Safari. You can set it to a day, a week, a month, or leave it on manual, which is how it currently works.

iOS 13 Safari Tab Closing

Attachments in Calendar


You can now add attachments like documents to events you have scheduled in the calendar app.

iOS 13 Attachments in Calendar

App Updates


To update apps in iOS 13, you need to open up the App Store, tap on your profile and choose apps from the Pending Updates section. There was an updates tab in iOS 12, but it's been removed in favor of an Apple Arcade tab in iOS 13.

iOS 13 App Updates

Safari Screenshots


When you take a screenshot in Safari, there's a new option to save it as a full page, which exports the entire webpage as a PDF that you can save or share. You can also use Markup to edit it before sending.

iOS 13 Safari Screenshot PDF

Updated Mute Switch Interface


When you toggle on the mute switch on the iPhone in iOS 13, there's a new interface that lets you know whether Silent Mode is on or off. It's located at the top of the display, replacing the former notification that popped up in the middle of the display.

iOS 13 Mute Graphic

Optimized Battery Charging


A new iOS 13 feature introduces Optimized Battery Charging. According to Apple, the iPhone learns from your daily charging routine and waits to finish charging past 80 percent until you need to use it, which is meant to cut down on battery aging.

iOS 13 Optimize Battery

Home App Improvements


The control options for your HomeKit devices in the Home app have been revamped and streamlined. Available controls vary by device, but in general, the change makes options you check or use frequently (such as various light colors) easier to access. Controls are also now shown in a card-style view so you can swipe them away to get back to the main Home app screen.

iOS 13 Home App

AirPlay 2 Devices in HomeKit Automations


You can now use AirPlay 2-enabled devices in HomeKit automations. So you can do things like set music to play when you arrive home.

iOS 13 AirPlay 2 HomeKit

Photos Zoom


In the Photos app, there's a new +/- symbol at the top that, when tapped, lets you zoom in and out of your Photos tab. You can also zoom in and out using pinch gestures.

iOS 13 Zoom

Business Chat Suggestions


When calling a business that offers business chat, your iPhone will offer to start a business chat instead so you can interact with a business from a text message instead of through a phone call.

Time Synced Lyrics in Apple Music


When accessing the lyrics for an Apple Music song, they're now presented synced to the music, so the lyrics will scroll along as the song progresses. Lyrics can be accessed by tapping the new lyrics icon at the bottom of any song interface.

iOS 13 Music Lyrics

Up Next in Apple Music


There's a new toggle when playing any Apple Music song that lets you see exactly what's up next so there's no mystery as to what's going to play after the current song.

iOS 13 Next Up Apple Music

Apple News+ in Stock App


The Stock app will now offer relevant business publications from Apple News+.

Voice Memos


A new pinch to zoom gesture in the Voice Memos app lets you zoom in on the waveform to make editing easier.

Do Not Disturb


Do Not Disturb While Driving will not activate in iOS 13 when you're using public transit.

Peek Gestures


Peek gestures, that let you see previews of emails, links, messages, and more, are now available on any iPhone or iPad that runs iOS 13 or iPadOS. These were previously limited to devices with 3D Touch.

Quick Actions


You can now press and hold on an app icon to quickly perform actions specific to the app on any device, iPhone or iPad. This too was previously limited to devices with 3D Touch.

iOS 13 Quick Actions

Dolby Atmos Playback


2018 iPhones and iPads support Dolby Atmos video playback in iOS 13.

Personal Hotspot Sharing


If you have Family Sharing enabled, your family members can automatically join your personal hotspot in iOS 13.

Automatic Personal Hotspot

You can automatically connect to your iPhone's personal hotspot when no internet connection is available, and there's an option to remain connected even when your device is asleep so you can continue to receive messages and push notifications.

Popular WiFi Networks


In iOS 13, your iPhone detects which WiFi networks are being used and lets you know if one is available.

Delete Apps From Update Screen


In the App Store, you can now delete apps from the list of apps to be updated by swiping to the left on them.

iOS 13 Delete Apps

Timer


The Timer feature in the Clock app has been updated with a new interface in iOS 13. When a timer is counting down, there's a new circle that slowly depletes, along with the standard timed countdown.

iOS 13 Timere

New Volume HUD


There's a new look for the volume interface in iOS, which is designed to be less obtrusive. It's a bar on the left side or top side of the display, which shrinks down as you continue to press the volume up or down buttons. What's neat is that you can also touch the bar with a finger to adjust sound with a swipe in addition to using the physical volume buttons.

Haptic Feedback for Face ID


Haptic Feedback for Face ID will cause your phone to vibrate slightly when it unlocks in iOS 13. It can be enabled by going to Settings > Accessibility > Face ID & Attention.

NFC Tags


In iOS 13, iPhones are able to read a wider range of NFC tags. Japan's national identity cards will support the iPhone through a government developed app, and Germany will also allow Apple users to load their national ID cars, residence permits, and biometric passports onto their iPhones using NFC.

Canceling Apps With Subscriptions


When deleting an app that you have a subscription to, in iOS 13, you'll get a warning that the subscription is still active so you can make sure to cancel before deleting it. The warning includes options to manage your subscription.

iOS 13 Cancel Subscriptions
Image via Federico Vittici


Quick Actions Menu Size


The menu that pops up when using a Quick Action is also smaller in size with less obtrusive icons that have also been relocated to the right side of the menu interface.

Quick Action

Voice Messages


When using the option in Messages to record a voice-based message, there's a new icon for the option. It's now a waveform rather than a microphone icon.

Voice Messages
Note that almost all of these features are also available in the iPad and are part of Apple's new iPadOS operating system.

For more on what's new in iOS 13, make sure to check out our full iOS 13 roundup. We'll be adding to the hidden tips and tricks list over the course of the coming months, keeping a catalog of the new features and changes added to iOS 13 during the beta testing process. Know of an iOS 13 feature we don't have in our guide or our roundup? Send us an email here.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS


Top Rated Comments

(View all)

20 weeks ago
All good except this one, App Updates.

I won't use Apple Arcade but I will have a dedicated tab anyway.
Rating: 50 Votes
20 weeks ago
Removing the Updates tab is a huge mistake. Literally the most used tab for myself and most people. Wtf.
Rating: 43 Votes
20 weeks ago
Silence unknown callers. Yeeessss!
Rating: 40 Votes
20 weeks ago
Really like a lot of these, and where things are going, but so far not a fan of where App Updates have moved to.
Rating: 27 Votes
20 weeks ago

All good except this one, App Updates.

I won't use Apple Arcade but I will have a dedicated tab anyway.

Exactly. How is that different from games? I'll never use either tab, but I don't want to be tapping through that nest of menus to get to updates every day.
Rating: 19 Votes
20 weeks ago
iOS 13 is looking really good!
Rating: 17 Votes
20 weeks ago
How are these hidden? This doesn't fit the criteria of that term.
Rating: 15 Votes
20 weeks ago
These are all good things, Apple is definitely getting back into stride.

MR users will still complain that iOS can't read their mind or make them happy inside or whatever.
Rating: 13 Votes
20 weeks ago
"Improved Messages Search" YES! This is so overdue and much appreciated.
Rating: 11 Votes
20 weeks ago

Silence unknown callers. Yeeessss!


I want to know more about the feature before I get excited about it. Does it only silence calls that show up on the caller ID as 'Unknown'? If so, that feature has very little benefit to me. Probably only 1 to 2 percent of the junk calls I receive actually show up as 'Unknown' on the caller ID. The rest of the junk calls I receive have spoofed the caller ID so that the area code and exchange is the same as my number but the last four digits are different every time. THOSE are the calls I really want to silence.
Rating: 9 Votes

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