There’s a keyboard that lets you swipe to enter text, for example, and a new dark mode that you can set to automatically turn on at night. There are fun new Memojis you can design to make look like yourself. And you can connect two pairs of AirPods to the same iPhone.
Here are a bunch of secret little tricks in Apple’s big new iPhone update.
Connect two pairs of AirPods to the same iPhone
Now you can connect two pairs of AirPods (or Powerbeats Pro headphones) to the same iPhone. This is useful if you’re traveling with someone and you want to share your music or watch the same movie. To set it up, just do this:
- Open the charging case lid and hold the pairing button on the back of your AirPods until the light starts to flash white.
- Bring it close to your iPhone.
- Tap the pop-up menu confirming you want to pair the AirPods to your iPhone.
- Now repeat those steps to connect a second pair.
- Start playing music.
- You’ll hear tunes through one pair of AirPods.
- Now tap the AirPlay button.
- Choose the second pair of AirPods you connected.
- Music should be playing in both sets of AirPods at the same time.
Dark Mode is a new option that lets you set the theme of the phone, and apps that are built to support it, to show darker backgrounds and colors. It’s easier on my eyes at night, since there are fewer bright white colors, but it also just looks cool. There are two ways to turn on Dark Mode. The easiest way is to do this:
- Swipe down from the top-right of your iPhone’s display (or up on an iPhone that has a home button.) This opens the Control Center menu.
- Tap and hold the screen brightness toggle.
- Tap the “Dark Mode” toggle on the bottom left.
- Open Settings.
- Choose Display & Brightness.
- Under Appearance, select Light or Dark mode.
- Toggle “Automatic” to on.
- Choose a custom schedule or set Dark Mode to turn on automatically at sunset and off at sunrise.
Share your phone’s hot spot with the family
You can use your iPhone as a Wi-Fi hot spot (if you have phone hot spot data included with your wireless plan) and automatically share it with your family members. This is good if you’re somewhere without Wi-Fi, say an airport, and your kids want to connect their tablets to the internet. Here’s how to turn it on:
- Open Settings.
- Tap “Personal Hotspot.”
- Choose “Family Sharing.”
- Select the family member you’d like to share with.
- Now choose “automatic” or “ask for approval.”
- If that family member sees your phone as a hot spot, they can connect either automatically or once you approve them.
Hide your location from apps
The update will automatically remind you if apps are using your location or Bluetooth connection. Sometimes you might not want an app to always track your location in the background, so now you can choose to set it to “only while using” when Apple reminds you.
It looks like this:
You can always adjust this manually doing this:
- Open Settings.
- Choose Privacy.
- Select Location Services.
- Tap an app.
- Choose “while using,” “always” or “never” track your location.
The software now supports Bluetooth PS4 and Xbox One controllers. This is one of my new favorite features, since it lets me use my PS4 controller on the road while streaming games from my PS4 at home. But the controllers also work with some games in the iTunes App Store. To set it up, do this:
- Put your Xbox controller into pairing mode by turning it on and then holding the pairing button on the back until the front light begins flashing quickly.
- Or put your PS4 remote into pairing mode by holding the PlayStation button and the share button for about three seconds.
- Open Settings on your iPhone
- Choose Bluetooth and turn it on.
- Select your controller from the list of Bluetooth devices ready for pairing.
- Wait until it says the controller is connected.
- Launch a game with controller support. Many are listed here, and some new ones are in Apple Arcade.
Long press in Control Center to connect to a specific Wi-Fi network
Here’s another hidden trick: You can long press inside Control Center for even more options. My favorite is using this for connecting to a specific Wi-Fi network without having to open settings. It also works for Bluetooth devices. Just do this:
- Swipe down from the top-right of your iPhone’s screen to open control center. (Or swipe up on models with a home button.)
- Tap and hold the Wi-Fi icon (or any other icon).
- Tap and hold Wi-Fi again.
- Select the network you want to connect to.
Share your ETA in Apple Maps
IOS 13.1, a small update that rolled out this past week, now lets you share your ETA with friends or family from Apple Maps. So, if you’re driving somewhere, they can follow along with you on the map and know that you’re safe and when you’ll arrive. To use it, do this:
- Open Apple Maps.
- Set a destination and get directions to it.
- Tap “Go.”
- Tap the bottom of the maps screen.
- Choose “Share ETA.”
- Pick your contact.
- They’ll get a text message with your ETA and, if on an iPhone, a detailed view.
Make your Memoji look like you
You can now make your Memoji look more like you. These are the fun animated videos and still photos you can send to people and are basically just emojis that are made to represent your personality. To edit your Memoji, do this:
- Open the keyboard in Messages.
- Tap the monkey icon on the top menu bar.
- Tap Edit.
- Change your hairstyle and skin color, add accessories like AirPods or add headwear.
Check out the new Apple Photos ‘Day’ view
I use Apple Photos and Google Photos to back up my pictures. But I really love the new “Day” view in Apple Photos, which shows the best pictures and video clips I took on a certain day. Apple will show some pictures it thinks are important, like portraits of people. And video clips are played, too, making the gallery feel alive. Here’s how to see it:
- Open Photos on your iPhone.
- Tap the “Days” tab on the bottom.
- Scroll through some recent days.
- Watch some of your memories come to life.
Take a new ‘high-key light mono’ Portrait picture
Portrait mode was launched a couple of years ago to let you take professional-looking pictures. Apple blurs the background using a “bokeh” effect. There are a few different portrait mode options that change the lighting in your pictures, but a new one in iOS 13 is called “high-key light mono.” It takes a black-and-white picture and makes the background completely white. It can make even a sloppy blogger look cool, as the photo above shows.
Here’s how to take your own high-key light mono portrait:
- Open the camera app.
- Choose portrait mode from the menu.
- Slide your finger through the options to “high-key light mono.”
- Now snap a picture of someone.
Apple has a new “optimized battery charging” option in iOS 13 that will keep your battery healthy so that it doesn’t age as quickly. This doesn’t mean more battery life right now, but it means your battery might not need to be replaced as quickly. It will stay in tip-top performance longer. Apple explains it like this: “To reduce battery aging, iPhone learns from your daily charging routine so it can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use it.”
To turn it on, do this:
- Open Settings.
- Choose Battery.
- Tap Battery Health.
- Toggle “Optimized Battery Charging.” to the on position.
There’s more to find. IOS 13 includes improvements to battery life, new accessibility options, support for faster Face ID and other changes. It’s a big update and worth switching to if you haven’t moved from iOS 12 yet.