Today is a big day for Apple fans, because the company kicked off its WWDC 2019 coference with announcements of several major software updates.
First up is iOS 13. With it comes a focus on performance improvements, with 30 percent faster Face Unlock as well as 50 percent smaller app downloads and 60 percent smaller update downloads, which will lead to apps launching up to twice as fast.
The update also brings Dark Mode, which is exactly what it sounds like. When enabled, the entire UI of iOS will darken. That should help make iOS a bit easier on your eyes when you’re in a low-light environment and could help lead to some power savings for iPhone owners with an OLED screen.
There are lots of improvements coming to existing Apple apps with iOS 13, like a redesigned Apple Maps app with more details, better text formatting in Mail, a swipe keyboard, and better Memoji with support for makeup, accessories, and even AirPods. You’ll also get Memoji Stickers to give you a more personalized alternative to emojis. A new photo editing interface is coming, too, along with Photos app improvements like machine learning that’ll help you delete duplicate photos. And Apple says that it’s redesigned the volume control with iOS 13 as well, moving it to the upper-left corner of the screen so that it doesn’t obscure whatever you’re watching.
The iOS 13 update brings Sign In with Apple, which is a more privacy-centric version of the “Sign In with Google” and “Sign In with Facebook” buttons you see all over the web, letting you sign in to compatible apps without sharing your personal info. Apple’s AirPods are getting an audio sharing feature that’ll let you share the music you’re listening to with another AirPods wearer, CarPlay is getting UI improvements, and Siri is getting a more natural voice.
Also announced today is iPadOS. This tablet-focused version of iOS includes an improved home screen that’ll let you fit more app icons into your view and the ability to pin your widgets to the side of the screen. You’ll also be able to run two instances of an app side-by-side, and the Files app is getting a new Column View as well as support for USB drives and SD cards that you can plug into your iPad.
iPadOS brings with it improved text selection, letting you select text with a swipe, and you can use a three-finger swipe to undo. Safari is getting better, desktop-class browsing that’ll automatically show you a touch-optimized desktop website, and a download manager is included, too. There’s reduced Apple Pencil latency as well, along with all of the iOS 13 improvements like Dark Mode and Sign In with Apple.
Finally, watchOS 6 is coming to Apple Watch devices. It adds an independent App Store on the watch, letting you browse and download apps right on your wrist. Plus, developers can create Apple Watch-only apps that are designed to work without a companion iPhone apps.
The update to watchOS 6 also brings several health and activity improvements. A new Cycle Tracking app will help women log and track information related to their menstrual cycles (also coming to the Health app on iOS), and a new Trends feature will let you view your activity over the past 90 days and 365 days to compare how you’ve been doing with your fitness lately.
Other notable improvements coming with watchOS 6 include a Noise app with real-time decibel levels so you can be aware of noisy environments that could damage your hearing; new watch faces, a Voice Memos app; a new Calculator app that’ll let you figure out tips and split the bill; and audiobooks support.
iOS 13 is compatible with the iPhone SE as well as iPhone 6s and later while watchOS 6 is compatible with Apple Watch Series 1 and later. iPadOS is compatible with iPad Air 2 and later, all iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and later, and iPad Mini 4 and later.
Apple is launching iOS 13, iPadOS, and watchOS 6 beta releases for developers today, and public beta releases will be available through the Apple Beta Software Program in July. All three updates will launch to the public this fall.
So now that all of these major updates are official, which new iOS, iPadOS, or watchOS feature are you most excited for?