12 of the best hidden features we found in iOS 13 and iPadOS


iOS 13 is shaping up to be a pretty significant update. 

Angela Lang/CNET

One of the best parts of installing an iOS update is finding all of the features that Apple hasn't talked about. Hidden features are often among the most useful aspects of updates, and the release of iOS 13 and iPadOS is shaping up to be no different. Not only is there now a dedicated dark mode (huzzah!), but there are improved privacy features, Apple Maps has a new look and you can even gesture-type on the default iOS keyboard. For the past month, we've been digging around iOS 13 and iPadOS and have found a handful of tools that Apple didn't talk about during WWDC

Below are 12 of the best new hidden features we've found so far, from better battery charging and dual-SIM support in iMessage, to using a mouse to control your iPhone or iPad. 

We'll keep looking and updating this post throughout the rest of the beta program. If you want to get in on the fun early, here's how to install iOS 13 on your iPhone now. If you installed iOS 13 and want to go back to iOS 12, it's possible. 



iOS 13 will help prolong your iPhone's battery life. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Optimized battery charging

Routinely charging your iPhone's ( $1,000 at Best Buy) battery to full, and keeping it there for extended amounts of time, can damage your battery over time. A new option in iOS 13 is intended to help prolong your battery's life by learning your charging habits and preventing the battery from immediately charging to 100%.

If you normally charge overnight while you sleep, Optimized Battery Charging will keep your iPhone's battery at 80% for most of the night, finishing off the last 20% of charge right before your alarm goes off. 

To use the new features, go to Settings > Battery > Battery Health and turn it on.

Now playing: Watch this: iOS 13 beta's best tricks to try


iMessage search actually works now

Searching for past messages in the iMessage app has always been horrible. It simply hasn't worked. That's changed. You can now search for a single word or phrase, and results are almost instantly displayed.

It's pretty cool. To try it, open the Messages app, swipe down to reveal the search field and type. Neat, right?



You can now use your voice to search Apple's own apps. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Search your iPhone with your voice

Anywhere you find a search bar in Apple's own apps, you'll notice there's now a microphone on the far-right side. Tap on the new icon to enter your search query by voice, instead of having to type it out. 

Apps like Settings, Mail, Messages and the Today View are just a few examples of where you can find the new voice search option. 



Apple continues its privacy push with new features in iOS 13. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Share photos with or without location information

You can now strip location information from a photo when you share it directly from the Photos app. The new option means you can leave the photo geotagged and you can view where it was captured, but when you share it across social media, email or messages, you can strip that information and keep any location information private.

Select a photo (or photos) you want to share in the Photos app then tap on Options at the top of the screen and turn off Location under the section labeled Include.

The new volume indicator is close to hidden... and that's a good thing. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

New volume indicator

Another long-overdue feature iOS users have been begging Apple to change is the volume indicator. You know, the pop-up that takes over the screen whenever you adjust the volume when watching YouTube or Netflix?

The indicator in iOS 13 is much smaller and slides in from the side of your screen. As you adjust the volume, it shrinks down to just a small line, all but hiding as you find the right volume level. Thanks, Apple.

iMessage and FaceTime gain Dual SIM support

Business users and international travelers will appreciate the addition of iMessage and FaceTime support for the second number when two SIM cards are being used. 

Apple added Dual SIM support with the launch of the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max ( $1,100 at Amazon) and iPhone XR ( $618 at Amazon). The feature comes in handy for those who don't want to carry separate personal and work phones, or for those who often travel internationally and need a data plan that's less expensive than roaming fees. 

Prior to iOS 13, users could only use one phone number for iMessage and FaceTime.



How often do you delete apps from your iOS device? 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Delete apps from the update screen

Managing old apps you have installed on your iPhone or iPad ( $249 at Walmart) is never a priority, or at least it isn't for me. I know I've watched in the App Store as an app is updated, knowing full well I'll never launch that app again. But because the app isn't easy to find on my home screen, I don't bother finding it and uninstalling it.

After installing iOS 13 or iPadOS, the next time you see an app you no longer need in the Updates list, swipe to the left across the listing and then tap Delete.



iOS 13 will read you your incoming messages, and you can control which contacts it works with. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Announce Messages with Siri limited to contacts of your choice

If you have AirPods ( $145 at Amazon) or the recently launched Powerbeats Pro earbuds, you'll notice that Siri can now read incoming Messages to you without you doing a thing. You can even reply to a message just by talking after the message has been read -- it's really cool.

The first time you use either pair of earbuds with a device running iOS 13 or iPadOS, you'll be asked if you want to turn on Announce Messages with Siri. 

To customize how the feature works, open the Settings app and go to Notifications then Announce Messages with Siri. There you can select if you want notifications from everyone, your contacts, recents or just your favorites.



It seemed like it would never happen, but with iOS 13 you can use a mouse to control your iPad or iPhone.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Use a mouse to control your iPhone or iPad

It's true, you can use a mouse or trackpad to navigate your phone or tablet. The experience of using a mouse with your iPad takes some getting used to -- there isn't a typical mouse pointer. Instead, there's a cursor that more or less mimics your finger. 

You can assign shortcuts for specific tasks, such as going back to the home screen, in the new settings menu. Connect a mouse to your iPhone or iPad then go to Settings > Accessibility> Touch > Assistive Touch (turn this on) > Pointing Devices to customize how it works. 



Finally, you can decide if you want to run through your wireless data plan when downloading apps from the App Store. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Remove app size limitations on cellular data

Apple has finally given us the option to remove App Store download limits. Meaning you can, if you want, download a game that's over a gigabyte in size on your cellular data plan. 

Go to Settings > iTunes & App Store > App Downloads to get rid of the limit or have the App Store ask you if you want to download any apps over 200MB.



You no longer have to worry about how to manage a file you download using Safari on iOS 13. 

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Safari has a download manager

You can now download files when using Safari on an iPhone and iPad. The Download manager icon won't show up unless you have an active (or recently active) download. Your download is automatically saved to a Downloads folder in your iCloud Drive account, which you can access in the Files app.

For more tips and tricks, be sure to check out our complete guide to iOS 13 and iPadOS.



Hopefully Apple will expand this new screenshot tool to more apps before iOS 13 launches. 

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Long screenshots of websites

If you've ever had to take multiple screenshots of a webpage in order to capture the text of an article, you'll be happy to know that iOS 13's screenshot tool has a new trick. Open Safari and take one screenshot of any website and immediately tap on the thumbnail preview. Above the screenshot will be two options: Screen and Full Page. 

Selecting Full Page will turn the entirety of the webpage you're viewing into a PDF file that you can then crop, annotate and save to the Files app.

Originally published June 25.
Update, July 10: Adds screenshot tip. 

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Original author: Jason


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