Here’s what we like about iOS 13 (and one thing we don’t)

The latest upgrade to the iOS operating system is here, after having been teased for months. iOS 13 adds a number of features users have been asking for, and while it’s not the most meaty upgrade Apple’s ever released, it does have a few nifty features worth mentioning for those on the fence.

Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive review of every new thing in iOS 13 — just a rundown of some of our favorite new things (and one thing that’s not quite so welcome).

Dark mode

Probably the most aesthetically appealing feature is Dark Mode. Whether you’re a charcoal purist or not (we’ve certainly got our Dark Mode haters here in the office at TNW), it’s nice to finally have the option. And if you like it very dark, then I have good news for you: for the most part, this Dark Mode isn’t just gray but pure black. We’re talking black backgrounds on most default apps, and it’s a delight if you’re like me and use your phone at night way more than you should.

Dark Mode can also be customized to switch on and off at particular times. If you’re familiar with Night Shift — which makes you iPhone screen warmer at sundown to help your brain wind down before bed — it works much the same way. You can also add a Dark Mode toggle to your Control Center, so you can turn it on and off at a moment’s notice.

I only have one quibble against the Dark/Light mode juxtaposition: prior to this, I could differentiate between a regular Safari tab and a private one by the fact that private was in dark mode by default. Now there’s no quick visual indicator. It’s a very minor complaint in the grand scheme, but still one I felt was worth mentioning.


The new keyboard also supports swiping to type. As someone who uses tapping thumbs with the alacrity of a Mavis Beacon graduate, it took a little bit for me to get used to, but it works just great. It’s also a little strange to have to swipe the whole word before it appears on screen (I assume some AI black magic fuckery is at work to make the words appear so beautifully out of my haphazard key-tripping), but I don’t hate it by any means.

There are some hiccups: for example, if you swipe and the word is not quite what you wanted, pressing the delete key deletes the whole word. But, as with Dark Mode, it’s definitely nice to finally have the option. I’m sure if you prefer one-handed typing, this might change everything for you.

Photos rejiggered

Your photos are now sorted by years, months, and days in the Photos app. The photos are also laid out in a more appealing way, not being crammed together in same-sized tiles. It’s hard to describe how much better it is: suffice to say it looks more like an album and less like a filing system.

With a guest appearance by Monet and Pogo, my friend’s bearded dragon.

The editing and retouching software is now much more intuitive. Before this, it was just one step up from Microsoft Paint, but now the tools are actually useful and (for me at least) usable. You can adjust white balance, vibrancy, noise reduction, sharpness, and probably even more minute things I’m sure Napier knows more about than I do.

This new Photo library probably goes hand-in-hand with the camera updates Apple is rolling out with the new slate of iPhones. With better cameras come better pictures, and it’s good to see Apple has updated the software to match them in quality.

This octopus

There are three new Animoji: a mouse, a cow, and an octopus. The latter is my favorite. I mean look at it.

Look at this fucking octopus!!


There’s one elephant in the room we should probably address, and that’s the bug reports that are rolling in aplenty from people who have updated. Users have reported crashing apps and camera problems. My biggest issue is that some of my Photos have been randomly reassigned dates and times when they definitely weren’t taken — I noticed this while browsing the library and spotting a photo taken in 2013 in my 2017 folder.

The bugs are apparently so numerous and harmful the Department of Defense is reportedly cautioning its employees against upgrading until iOS 13.1 comes out. Apple has bumped the release date of the latter to September 24, and it’ll hopefully address some of the issues.

Inside Apple’s redesigned ‘cube’ store in New York City

On the outside, the tall, luminous glass of the cube is now complemented by a newly designed public plaza (pictured above) where people can enjoy views of sites like Central Park and The Plaza Hotel — all while enjoying free WiFi from Apple. And although the glass cube at Apple Fifth Avenue was covered in rainbow colors recently, I’m sorry to tell you that was only temporary.

Apple says the store’s re-opening means it will “resume its place at the heart of one of the world’s most vibrant creative communities,” in a space that’s had more than 57 million visitors since it first opened. The company didn’t say how many visitors it’s expecting for the rest of the year, but considering the cube is one of NYC’s most photographed locations, it’s safe to say you’ll never see the store as empty as in these pictures. (Except maybe the one day a year it’s closed.)

As for the bed bugs that caused Apple to close the store for 24 hours earlier this year, well, an Apple representative told Engadget the issue “hasn’t come up in a while.” So, if you happen to be in New York City and want to check out the new cube, that probably means you can do so with peace of mind. Apple Fifth Avenue is opening tomorrow at 8AM ET, when over 900 employees will be waiting to cheer on customers who are picking up their shiny new iPhone.

OneDrive on iOS will start uploading photos in HEIF format instead of JPG

Until now, OneDrive app on iOS was uploading your photos in JPG format. Microsoft has now announced that it will start uploading photos in HEIF format instead of JPG from this month. Microsoft is making this change to preserve the image quality of original photos and to save storage space.

HEIF is the default file format for photos on most Apple devices running iOS 11 or later. You can view HEIF photos on Macs, iPhones, and iPads. After uploading to OneDrive, you can also view these HEIF files on the OneDrive website. On non-Apple devices, you can enjoy the HEIF photos inside the OneDrive app.

If you want to continue working with existing JPG format, change the setting (Settings > Camera > Format) on your iPhone to ‘Most Compatible’.