Is iOS 13 a worthwhile update for the iPhone? What about the iPad?

13 is an unlucky number for the iPhone 6 (and older models), as well as some of the iPads that are past their prime. But are you really missing out if you stay on iOS 12? Let’s see what’s new in iOS 13.

Dark Mode! Seemingly a simple thing, but it means a great deal to many (and it’s not all that simple, just ask Google). As rumors swirl that Apple will go all-in OLED as soon as next year (including the XR model), this mode will become indispensable for improving battery life and eye comfort.

The built-in keyboard is getting swipe functionality. You can have that right now with third-party keyboards, though, but iPhones will revert to Apple’s keyboard for critical pieces of the software.

Plus there’s the matter of privacy – some of those third-party keyboard send data back to their servers. Speaking of, we also get Sign in with Apple. This system supports both FaceID and TouchID and will keep your private data (even your email address) hidden away from curious apps.

There are other improvements too, FaceID will get faster, Maps and Photos are getting new UIs, app downloads will get smaller, Siri’s voice will improve. There’s more too, but we won’t repeat everything – they are all worthwhile improvements.

Is there anything that makes you “wow”, though? Some of these seem almost trivial, things that an Android phone might get through the Play Store.

Also note that iOS 13 is taking something away too – 3D Touch is getting cut out. They will be replaced by the Haptic Gestures that were introduced with the iPhone XR and don’t require dedicated pressure-sensitive hardware.

The changes to the iPad branch of the OS – now with its own name, iPadOS – are a bigger deal. The improvements are nothing earth-shaking, but things like mouse support, widgets and better multi-window support may spell doom for the MacBook. Not the MacBook Pro, perhaps, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see an iPad + Smart Keyboard combo replace the MacBook Air.

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