Eight iOS 13 Tips to Get You Started

Apple today released iOS 13, the newest version of the software that's designed to run on the iPhone. Apple's yearly software updates always bring long lists of new features and changes that can make your ‌iPhone‌ feel like a foreign device.

New updates can be intimidating, but installing them is often worthwhile because Apple's updates make sure your devices are safe, up to date, and have the latest feature improvements.


If you're worried about performance taking a hit on older devices, rest assured that Apple has made an effort in both iOS 12 and iOS 13 to make older devices more efficient. In iOS 13, Face ID is faster, apps launch up to twice as fast, and are, in general smaller in size for quicker downloads and updates.

We're going to jump start you with the what you need to know to get up and running with iOS 13 right away with these iOS 13 tips:

1. Try Out Dark Mode

Your ‌iPhone‌ isn't going to look too much different when you install iOS 13, with one exception - a new dark theme that's available if you enable it. Apple will ask you if you want to turn on Dark Mode when you first update your ‌iPhone‌ to iOS 13, and if you do opt to turn it on, prepare for everything from apps to the Home screen to shift to a darker shade.

darkmodesettingsmusicphotos
‌Dark Mode‌ is one of those features that iOS users have wanted for ages, and it's great if you have eyes sensitive to light or want a darker theme for your apps at night. Most Apple apps, like Mail, Messages, Health, Reminders, the App Store, Apple Music, and more have dark themes that activate whenever you turn on ‌Dark Mode‌, and third-party developers are also able to develop darker themes to swap to when ‌Dark Mode‌ is activated.

You can turn ‌Dark Mode‌ on permanently, toggle it on when you need it, or set it to come on at a set schedule, such as sunset to sunrise, all of which can be controlled via Settings or the Control Center. The opposite of ‌Dark Mode‌ is Light Mode, which is the same old mode that's been available on your ‌iPhone‌ for years, so that's an option too if you don't like the darker display.

darkmodeschedules
For more on ‌Dark Mode‌, including how to access it and how it looks, make sure to check out our Dark Mode guide.

2. Learn These New Gestures

Some of the gestures on your ‌iPhone‌ (and iPad) are a little bit different in iOS 13, but they're easy to adjust to. Here's a quick list of what's been tweaked:

  • Scrolling - Just grab the scroll bar and drag it upwards or downwards to get where you want to go instead of swiping.
  • Selecting Text - Drag a finger right over text to select it. Double tap to select a word, triple tap to select an entire sentence, and quadruple tap to select a paragraph.
  • Cursor Movement - To move the cursor when writing a note or an email, just stick your finger on it and drag it wherever you want it to go.
  • Cut, Copy, and Paste - Pinch up with three fingers to copy, pinch up with fingers two times to cut, and pinch down with three fingers to paste.
  • Undo/Redo - To undo and redo, swipe with three fingers to the left or the right.
  • Selecting Multiples - To select multiple items, like messages, files, or folders, tap with two fingers and then drag.

Can't remember all these? If you tap and hold with three fingers, an edit bar appears with undo, redo, cut, copy, and paste.

Bonus for iPhone XR and ‌iPad‌ owners: 3D Touch functionality is available in the form of Haptic Touch or a long press (on the ‌iPad‌). Just long press where supported. It's available almost everywhere ‌3D Touch‌ was available. New iPhone 11 and ‌iPhone 11‌ Pro users will also need to get used to ‌Haptic Touch‌ instead of ‌3D Touch‌.

3. Go Configure These Settings

  • Silence Unknown Callers
  • Automatic Safari Tab Closing
  • Optimize Battery Charging
  • Location controls for Shared Images

4. Set Up a Messages Profile

When you open up Messages for the first time after installing iOS 13, it's going to prompt you to set up your profile. Your profile is basically just a name and a photo that's shared with people when you converse with them.

messagesprofile
Your profile can be customized with an image you took, an Animoji, or just a letter, and you can choose to share it with your contacts, everyone, or no one at all.

For more on Messages, make sure to check out our Messages guide.

5. Try Swiping Instead of Typing

iOS 13 has a new "QuickPath" keyboard, which is Apple's fancy way of saying that it's added swipe gestures for typing. You can now slide to type, dragging your fingers over letters instead of picking them up to type as you normally do.

iso 13 swipe keyboard
If you've ever used a swipe-based keyboard, this is the same thing. Just swipe from letter to letter to form words. If you hate it, don't worry, you can still tap, or use swipes and taps interchangeably.

6. Memoji/Animoji Stickers for Everyone

Memoji and Animoji have been available on all devices with a Face ID camera, but in iOS 13, Animoji and Memoji are expanding to stickers that everyone can use.

ios13b2newanimojistickers
There's a new Animoji Stickers app in the app drawer in Messages, where you can choose from already-available Animoji characters in a variety of poses or create new Memoji stickers that look just like you.

Animoji and Memoji stickers are available on all iOS devices that run iOS 13 and work like all other stickers so you can send them to people in Messages. You can also access your Animoji/Memoji stickers in other apps through the "Recently Used" menu.

Learn how to create and use Animoji/Memoji stickers in our how to.

7. Edit Videos in the New Photos App

When you open up the Photos app for the first time, it's going to look a bit different. There are new Years, Months, and Days organizational options you can tap in the main ‌Photos‌ tab.

ios13photosdays
Apple's aim with these new sections is to help you find your best photos so you can relive your memories whenever you want.

Editing photos looks different too, but all of the options you're used to are there, with some new editing tools to make your photos look better than ever. You can also edit videos for the first time ever, which is a fun new addition to iOS 13. It works just like editing photos, so it's a simple and quick way to trim down video footage or add cool effects.

For more on what's new in the ‌Photos‌ app and how to use all of the new features, make sure to check out our Photos guide.

8. Look Around in Maps

Maps in iOS 13 more or less looks the same, but Apple has continued to expand its redesigned Maps interface with more detail, so you may notice some changes right when you open the app.

applemapsstreetview
One neat new feature you might want to check out is the "Look Around" option, which is Apple's equivalent to Google Street View. Look Around lets you get a street level look at what's around you or what you search for, which is great for scoping out restaurants, shopping, and more.

Maps has other neat features like lists of Collections and Favorites, and when Siri gives directions, you'll notice that they're much more natural. ‌Siri‌ will say things like "turn left at the next stoplight" instead of "turn left in 500 feet."

If you want to know about everything new in Maps, make sure to check out our Maps guide.

Compatible Devices

You can install iOS 13 if you have an iPhone SE, ‌iPhone‌ 6s, ‌iPhone‌ 6s Plus, ‌iPhone‌ 7, ‌iPhone‌ 7 Plus, ‌iPhone‌ 8, ‌iPhone‌ 8 Plus, ‌iPhone‌ X, ‌iPhone XR‌, ‌iPhone‌ XS Max, or ‌iPhone‌ XS (and it'll come pre-installed on the new 2019 iPhones). It's not compatible with the ‌iPhone‌ 6 and earlier, so if you have an older ‌iPhone‌, you'll need to stick with iOS 12 (or earlier).

If you have an ‌iPad‌, you need to know that instead of iOS, it's going to run iPadOS going forward. Don't worry, though, iPadOS is pretty much identical to iOS 13 and offers all of the same features, with a few other changes designed specifically for the larger screen of the ‌iPad‌.

For iPads, the new iOS works on iPad Air 2, ‌iPad Air‌ (3rd Gen), iPad mini 4, ‌iPad mini‌ 5, ‌iPad‌ (5th-7th Gen), and any iPad Pro.

If you do have an ‌iPad‌ and want to know more about iPadOS, you'll find details in our iPadOS roundup.

Learn More about iOS 13

We have a lot more information on every new feature in iOS 13, large and small. If you want to learn more about what's new and what you can expect when installing iOS 13, we recommend reading our full iOS 13 roundup.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about the new features in iOS 13 or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Top Rated Comments

FloridaGary Avatar
22 months ago
Step 0: Learn not to be impulsive and install.a buggy, not really for the public release. Wait until 13.1 or 13.2.
My phone is running fine. Have been using it for over an hour and have not experienced any bugs. I’m sure there are a few, but nothing that ruins the experience. Love the speed and fluidity so far.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NufSaid Avatar
22 months ago
I find it amazing that they’re able to speed things up just with the software updates.

I can’t believe how much faster face unlock works. Love the swipe keyboard and not having the beep when you enable Siri and of course the much awaited volume control move.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HiRez Avatar
22 months ago
Cut, Copy, and Paste[/B] - Pinch up with three fingers to copy, pinch up with fingers two times to cut, and pinch down with three fingers to paste.
I think pinch "up" and pinch "down" is confusing. Pinch means you contract your fingers together or spread them apart (this isn't really a "pinch" either but...). I think "pinch in" and "pinch out" might be more clear. "Up" and "down" kind of sounds like you need to move your fingers up or down on the screen.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Bm27 Avatar
22 months ago

While that’s true for the basics, there are so many new featuresApple should really create a comprehensive guide for iOS.
These have been available free for IOS versions in the Books app for some time. Apple’s IOS 13 guide is 467 pages, hopefully comprehensive enough lol. ?

Attachment Image
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
alexandr Avatar
22 months ago

Why did it take them so long to enable dark mode..Geeze......
so you're complaining about it even after they rolled it out?..
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
realtuner Avatar
22 months ago
The main problem I have with Apple is they still have the “it just works” attitude that someone can pick up an iPhone and start using it.

While that’s true for the basics, there are so many new featuresApple should really create a comprehensive guide for iOS.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

prosser macbook air colors stacked

Images Reveal Colorful New MacBook Air Design

Tuesday May 11, 2021 5:06 am PDT by
Apple's next MacBook Air will feature a completely new design and come in a range of colors like the 24-inch iMac, according to leaker Jon Prosser, who has now released supposedly accurate renders of the new machines based on leaked images. In a new video uploaded to YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser elaborated on his previous prediction that Apple's next-generation MacBook Air models ...
m1 ipad pro chip

M1 iPad Pro Over 50% Faster Than Previous Generation in Early Benchmarks

Tuesday May 11, 2021 11:56 am PDT by
Last month, Apple introduced a new iPad Pro with the same M1 chip found in the latest Macs, and early benchmark results indicate that the M1 iPad Pro is over 50% faster than the previous-generation iPad Pro. Based on five legitimate Geekbench 5 results (here's the fifth) for the fifth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the M1 chip, the device has average single-core and multi-core scores of...
iPhone 13 Camera Backs

iPhone 13 Models Will Be Slightly Thicker and Will Have Larger Camera Bumps

Monday May 10, 2021 10:41 am PDT by
Apple's upcoming iPhone 13 models will be slightly thicker than the iPhone 12 models and will also feature larger, thicker camera bumps with lenses that protrude less, according to iPhone 13 schematics seen by MacRumors. The new iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models are expected to feature a thickness of 7.57mm, up from 7.4mm in the iPhone 12 models. That's an increase of 0.17mm, which won't be hugely ...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Fires Newly Hired Ex-Facebook Product Manager Following Revelations of Past Misogynistic Comments

Thursday May 13, 2021 12:10 am PDT by
Apple has fired Antonio García Martínez, an ex-Facebook product manager and author of the controversial book "Chaos Monkeys," following public and internal calls for removal and investigation due to past misogynistic statements, The Verge reports. Apple hired Martínez earlier this week to join its ads team, however, comments that Martínez made in the past sparked condemnation from users...
imac m1 blue isolated 16x9 500k

M1 iMac is Up to 56% Faster Than Prior-Generation High-End 21.5-Inch iMac

Wednesday May 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Apple's M1 iMacs are set to start delivering to customers next week, and ahead of the official launch day, benchmarks for the machines have been showing up on Geekbench, likely from reviewers who are testing them. It will come as no surprise that M1 iMac benchmarks are right on par with benchmarks for the M1 MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini, coming in with an average single-core score...
iPad Pro Feature

Early M1 iPad Pro Orders Now Preparing to Ship

Tuesday May 11, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
Apple will soon ship out 11 and 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro models, according to multiple Twitter users and MacRumors readers who have seen their orders shift to "Preparing to Ship" status. So far, we haven't seen any shipment notifications, but that's the next step and is likely to happen in the near future. Apple has not provided an exact delivery date to those who ordered a new M1 iPad Pro, but ...
fortnite apple logo 2

Judge in Epic vs. Apple Case Floats Potential Compromise

Wednesday May 12, 2021 3:54 pm PDT by
In the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Epic Games, the two companies are this week calling up their expert witnesses to argue their points before Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who will make a decision in the case after a three week trial. Expert testimony is not as exciting as some of the leaked App Store documents that were highlighted last week, especially as much of what's being...
AirTag in Envelope Feature 2

AirTag Used to Successfully Track a Mailed Package Across the UK

Wednesday May 12, 2021 8:44 am PDT by
An Apple customer in the United Kingdom has successfully used Apple's Find My network to track an AirTag as it was being sent by mail to a friend in a completely different city. Outlined in a blog post at Intego, Kirk McElhearn said he taped an AirTag to a piece of card, wrapped it inside a small bubble envelope, and then sent it on its way. Kirk lives in the small town of...
maxresdefault

Video: Make Your iPhone Last Longer With These Battery Preserving Tips

Monday May 10, 2021 1:23 pm PDT by
Maximizing battery life is something that many iPhone users deal with on a regular basis as we all want our iPhones to last as long as possible. Sometimes there are bugs in iOS that make the battery drain faster, and sometimes we just need to eke out as much as possible on a long day out and about. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In our latest YouTube video, MacRumo...
macos big sur ios 14 iphone 12 pro macbook air icloud drive desktop documents hero

Apple Merging 'iCloud Documents and Data' Service With iCloud Drive in May 2022

Tuesday May 11, 2021 2:36 am PDT by
Apple plans to merge its iCloud Documents and Data service with iCloud Drive starting in May of 2022, according to a support document published late last week (via MacGeneration). iCloud Drive and iCloud Documents and Data share the fundamental ability to backup data from apps. However, iCloud Documents and Data was often a cumbersome, confusing experience. In contrast, iCloud Drive is more...