10 best hidden features in iOS 13

Learn how to use these time-saving and productivity boosting iOS 13 features.

Apple's iOS 13: The most notable new features Here's what iPhone users can expect from Apple's iOS 13.

Apple announced the 13th major iteration of iOS during the keynote address of its 2019 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). iOS 13 brings a lot of significant changes to the mobile operating system, including dark mode and multitasking on iPad; in fact, the new version of iOS includes notable features that didn't make the announcements list. Learn how to integrate these 10 new features in iOS 13 into your workflow.

SEE: 10 dangerous app vulnerabilities to watch out for (TechRepublic download)

1. How to access Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections via the Control Center in iOS 13

In previous versions of iOS, you had to go to the Settings app to change any setting related to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but with iOS 13, Apple has moved some of this functionality into the Control Center. Simply opening the Control Center and pressing and holding on the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth icon will present you with a list of available Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices that can be selected in order to connect to (Figure A). 

Figure A

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2. How to easily create screenshots on an iPad with Apple Pencil in iOS 13

On modern iOS devices, it is more difficult to create screenshots because of the absence of a home button. Remembering whether you're supposed to press the volume up or down button along with the sleep/wake/multifunction button can take more brainpower than it should to create a simple screenshot for sharing.

Fortunately, Apple has fixed this on the iPad with a swipe gesture for the Apple Pencil that makes taking screenshots easier than ever before. Simply drag the Apple Pencil up from the bottom left or right corner of the iPad screen, and a screenshot will be created. 

3. How to use a mouse with an iPad in iOS 13

One of the biggest features that users have wanted from the iPad version of iOS was the ability to connect a mouse. While Apple has gone more than 10 iOS releases without adding this much-requested feature, the company finally caved and added this feature in iOS 13. 

Mouse support in iOS 13 is an accessibility feature, which means that it was not designed for every user to have it enabled, but it's such a cool feature that many iPad Pro power users will instantly turn on this feature.

To enable mouse support in iOS 13, navigate to Settings | Accessibility | Touch | AssistiveTouch | Pointing Devices. Once here, you can see the connected wired USB mouse or pair a Bluetooth mouse, as well as change existing settings (Figure B). 

Once a wired or wireless mouse is connected, you will see a cursor appear on the screen, and you can generally use the iPad as you would through touch, just with mouse gestures like click and drag.

Figure B

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4. How to use the new Reply Menu and formatting options in Mail in iOS 13

In Mail, there are new features that extend the usefulness of replies. Tapping on the reply button when responding to an email, you have new options, which include Reply, Forward, Trash, Flag, Mark as Unread, Move Message, Archive Message, Move to Junk, Mute, Notify/Stop Notifying, and Printing. 

When replying to a message, you also have new formatting options that let you create rich text emails that couldn't previously be created in Mail on iOS without some serious hacking around with external text editors. When replying, tap on the "Aa" button above the keyboard to get to the new formatting options. You can choose the font, bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough, font size, color, alignment options, bullet, and number list styles, and indention (Figure C).

Figure C

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5. How to screenshot full pages in Safari on iOS 13

When you take a screenshot and a Safari window is open, you have a new option to take a screenshot of the full page. Once a screenshot has been made, tap on the screenshot in the modal that appears in the bottom left corner of the screen, then tap on the Full Page option at the top of the screen—this will take a screenshot of the full page as it appears in Safari instead of just the single view that is typically created when making a screenshot (Figure D). When creating a screenshot of the full page like this, a PDF is created instead of the typical PNG image file.

Figure D

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6. How to silence unknown callers in iOS 13

I have covered  apps to kill off the robocalls that we all seem to get these days, and a new feature of iOS 13 should block even more unwanted calls by silencing all unknown callers. Once this feature is enabled, it will block callers that cannot be found on your device through Siri's intelligence feature; this means that any phone numbers not in your Contacts, Messages, or Mail will not ring through to your device and will be sent to voicemail instead. Navigate to Settings.app | Phone and enable the Silence Unknown Callers setting. 

7. How to zip and unzip files in iOS 13

I previously covered how to zip and unzip files using a third-party app on iOS, but this zip and unzip functionality is now baked right into the Files app in iOS 13. When you encounter a zip file in the Files app, you can tap the zip file to unzip, or press and hold on a folder or a set of files and select Compress to create a compressed zip file.

8. How to easily download files in Safari in iOS 13

Since the iPhone was first released, one of the biggest requests users have had was a way to more easily download files in iOS through Safari. Typically, when you download a file in Safari, it doesn't provide much in the way of status during the download and blocks you from being able to continue browsing until you've dealt with the file download. 

In iOS 13, you can download as many files as you want with the new file download manager baked right into Safari. When you tap on a link to a file that needs to be downloaded, it will be added to the file manager, where you can see how many files are currently being downloaded, as well as their download status (Figure E). All downloaded files will appear in the Files app under iCloud Drive | Downloads.

Figure E

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9. How to use Low Data Mode in iOS 13

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn't have an unlimited data plan, or perhaps you live in or are visiting an area with reduced bandwidth through cell coverage and you just need your iPhone to stop trying to hog all of the bandwidth so you can prioritize other tasks on your device?  

If so, iOS 13 can to help with its new feature called Low Data Mode. By enabling this mode in Settings.app | Cellular and toggling Low Data Mode to the ON position, it will cause apps and services on your iPhone to reduce their bandwidth consumption while this mode is enabled.

10. How to get haptic feedback for successful Face ID authentications in iOS 13

Have you ever picked up your iPhone and thought you were authenticated with FaceID, but you weren't and got that buzz of the haptics on your device indicating that you didn't successfully authenticate with FaceID because perhaps you weren't looking at the device with both eyes opened? If so, you can get that same haptic feedback for successful authentications with FaceID as well, making you more aware of when you successfully authenticate with Face ID. 

To enable this setting, visit Settings.app | Face ID & Attention and enable the toggle for Haptic On Successful Authentication. This haptic feedback will play whenever you authenticate for a device unlock, Apple Pay authorization, or iTunes purchase.

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By Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...