13 small but cool new iOS features, from faster scrolling to permanent hotspot

13 small but cool new iOS features, from faster scrolling to permanent hotspot
It took Apple nearly two and a half hours to go through all the new developments in its walled software garden during the WWDC 2019 keynote, and for a good reason. This is one of the biggest new iOS releases in recent memory, complete with both user-facing aesthetics like the systemwide dark mode, as well as under-the-hood improvements like 2x faster app loading and much improved app update speeds.

Most of the newly-announced major features were long overdue, like the stock swipe-type keyboard introduction, or the machine learning algorithms that tidy up the tons of imagery that usually resides in your Photos app but some little known new additions remained unmentioned yet they are worthy to shine a light one. We rounded up a few of those new iOS 13 features that remained somewhat hidden from the public eyes and ears during the WWDC presentation, yet they would spark joy of the level only Marie Kondo can to tidy iPhone and iPad users.

New volume controls

This may sound minor but has been a pet peeve of many a user from iOS time immemorial. The volume control indicators have been redesigned and moved away from the center to the top‑left corner (or the top center in the case of the mute switch), instead of right smack in the middle of the display. At long last, the indicators now don’t hide a bunch of the current display content underneath until they disappear.

Scroll bar scrubbing

Apple claims this new iOS 13 feature will make you "instantly navigate long documents, web pages, and conversations by dragging the scroll bar," and it indeed lets you grab the scroll mark at the right, and drag all the way to the end of an extremely long read in a jiffy, then return back up.

The scrolling intertia speeds in iOS have been something of a pet peeve for a while now, particularly for when you read long articles or have to scroll through YouTube vids/comments, and you want to quickly go to the end or back to somewhere in the beginning.

With iOS 13, however, Apple has found a neat little way to address the issue while keeping its regular smooth scrolling unchanged for the majority of users who don't need more inertia from their swipes.

Enhanced QR code scanning

This one is an improvement on an already existing feature - the QR code scanner that can have a dedicated toggle in the Control Center. Heretofore, said toggle simply led to the Camera app with no frame to suggest where to point, but now the new QR code toggle from Control Center sends you into a dedicated camera mode, complete with a frame for the code, a flashlight toggle if it's dark around for the camera to read it, and "enhanced privacy" in deciphering the code.

Persistent personal hotspot

Before iOS 13, Apple placed limits on the iPhone's hotspot connectivity, as it is rather taxing on its battery life. Now, however, its' up to the user, and iPads can connect to your iPhone’s Personal Hotspot "automatically when there’s no internet connection available," instead of having to manually go to Settings each time. What's more, said iPad will stay connected even when it goes into sleep mode, in order to receive messages and notifications even when the screen is off.

Using a mouse with your iPad

Speaking of Apple tablets, the new iPadOS has... mouse support. Yep, it introduced as an AssistiveTouch helper in the iPad's accessibility options, mouse support includes both wired and wireless gear, as well as the Magic Trackpad thingy of Apple. Once connected, the "cursor" won't look like a typical arrow one, of course, but rather a circle imitating a finger touch. 

You can connect your mouse by going to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch > Pointing Devices and add the Bluetooth gear the regular way, or connect the Magic Trackpad with a Lightning cable, as that's the only way it works for now. You can adjust the cursor's speed, or use the scrolling wheel, if any, to go through web pages. Neat.

Optimized battery charging

There is only one entry in the battery sction of the new iOS 13 features list, but is it something. Apple says that "a new option helps slow the rate of battery aging by reducing the time your iPhone spends fully charged. iPhone learns from your daily charging routine so it can wait to finish charging past 80% until you need to use it." In everyday living this translates into using machine learning to predict the time when you usually grab your phone from the charger and go, so that it can be pumped to 100% a little before that. 

Charging your phone to 100% and staying they for a long time (like your typical overnight scenario) degrades the battery way more compared to quickly reaching the 80% mark, and then topping it off to 100% a bit before that time in the morning you usually unplug the phone, so that the battery doesn't stay fully charged for naught. Needless to say, you can turn optimized charging on and off in iOS 13. 

No more app download limits on cellular connection

Apple has had app size download restrictions when using mobile data since the times said data was scarce and limited. Nowadays, however, nobody cares if the app they download is more than 150MB, or, more recently, more than 200MB in size, as they have big data caps to play with, if any. Thus, iOS 13 finally dispenses with that silly app download size restriction on cellular connections, letting you download as big of a game as you like on the go without any workarounds. 

Playstation DualShock and Xbox gamepad support

In another "high time!" moment, Apple is extending support to Xbox One and Playstation DualShock 4 game controllers to iOS 13, tvOS and iPad OS, which will cover the ones that Apple's upcoming Arcade gaming service will include in its roster. Thus, come this fall, the controllers you already have and are used to play with, will be compatible with gaming on your Apple gear as well, at long last. Connect the world's two most popular game pads via Bluetooth and you will be able to run and crouch in Fortnite with your beloved analog sticks that Apple didn't support until now.

Nondestructive video edits

Not only can you use most all of the editing options for photos and videos interchangeably, but video edits are now what Apple calls "nondestructive," and you can take out a filter or another effect you have applied, or go back to the original length of the video if you don't like how a trim turned out.

Find iPhones or iPads that are offline

If a thief grabs your iPhone, takes out your SIM card and turns off Wi-fi, with iOS 13 you can have the phone's location reported to you by complete strangers, even if it's offline. How come? Well, Apple calls this crowd‑sourced location, and it is a very simple premise. Any Apple device nearby yours will be able to pick up its Bluetooth signal and report the phone's whereabouts directly to you. The more nearby iPhones detect yours, the more precise the space triangulation. "It’s completely anonymous and encrypted end‑to‑end," chimes in Apple, in case you are worried about privacy.

AirPods sharing

Remember splitting earbuds on the plane so you can both watch the same movie on the only iPad you took with you? Well, it may be romantic but gross and mono, so you don't have to do it any more. Come iOS 13, that same movie or playlist can stream on two AirPod sets at once, so piece be upon the whole family.

Easy text zooming and desktop mode access in Safari

Instead of having to tap three times to zoom the text of a web page, now Safari comes with a zoom option first in the address bar, so you only tap once, and pick the desired zoom level which is now displayed as helpful percentage to boot. From that same menu you can also ask for the new desktop mode if the web site isn't displaying correctly in mobile view, toggle the Reader View option, or hide the toolbar altogether for larger reading canvas.

Rich text formatting options

Apple added a new menu for "desktop-class" formatting and more professional‑looking emails. You can change the font, its style, size, and colors directly from the new keyboard toolbar. 

There are now also text alignment options, numbered and bulleted lists, indentation, and text strikethrough in addition to bolding and italics. It's part of the new action bar above the stock keyboard that also adds attachment options "including the ability to scan, insert a photo or video, add attachments, and insert drawings."



1. Marcwand3l

Posts: 464; Member since: May 08, 2017

So in big part we are locking at things that have been available on Android for some time. I'm glad Apple is waking up.

3. vgking9699

Posts: 229; Member since: Mar 01, 2019

Android has app download size limits like current iOS but iOS is 13 is removing the size limits While android will still be stuck with limits on downloading apps

7. JCASS889 unregistered

You are wrong I've been able to download any size app since android was released.

8. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

Look guys, JCA-the-idiot is back! For ur info though, he is talking about limits for downloading on mobile data. Go read the article first before posting stupid stuff....

15. dumpster666

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 07, 2019

are u a moron....i was always possible on android to download any app of any size using mobile data...even 2g data...

43. Marcwand3l

Posts: 464; Member since: May 08, 2017

I can download right now Asphalt 9 on mobile data on my Android phone. And it's a 1.7Gb download. Playstore only tells me that the app is too big and I should use Wifi but it I hit Proceed it will download the app.

13. oldskool50 unregistered

No it does not. As far as I know, Google has never placed a lock on app sizes. Also most devs make the app smaller, wand when on wifi, the app downloads the needed content in the background, and I have download as much as 2GB of data for games like Asphalt and others. Sorry you're wrong on that one. Apps in the begging were never big. But I've download apps that were over 500MB many times when I first bought Android phones like around the time the S3 came out. Because at the time, all carriers had unlimited data. They didn't start capping data until video streaming because a thing and it started putting a strain on their networks. Don't ever try to lump Android into that restricted crap you love so much. We've never had such stupid restrictions...EVER!

44. Marcwand3l

Posts: 464; Member since: May 08, 2017

That is incorrect.

2. iloveapps

Posts: 909; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Cool features.

45. Shkselectah

Posts: 50; Member since: Jun 26, 2018

certainly cool, we have been using them for a long time on android

4. Reviewerofstuff

Posts: 136; Member since: Jun 02, 2018

You guys not gonna address the ridiculous $999 price for the monitor stand?

5. OneLove123

Posts: 1291; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

That's cheap to them.

6. Valdomero

Posts: 707; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

To be honest, that new iMac is destined to professionals of the graphics industry (photo, video, animation) and sound recording stuff, not for the average joe or jane. Cool and all the tech is, I'm not into that world, so I'm not interested to buy such equipment, maybe if I become a video editor or work at Hollywood/Natgeo or work at Warner Chappell. Otherwise it's a waste of money.

14. oldskool50 unregistered

So what. How exectly does that justify charging $1000 for a metal stand? I've had a custom built VESA stand made for me that allows me to mount a TV from 40" up to 100" on the same stand and that whole stand which sits on the floor only cost me $200. THIS IS A CUSTOM stand, not a retail option that could be sold in the millions. No way you can justify $1000 for a stand. PERIOD. The new Mac Pro cost $5000 to start? First when you consider OS X does not do the things you do on something like a Silicon Graphics workstation, which also start at similar pricing, $5000 is extreme. Now don't get me wrong, the upgrade capability of the new mac pro is nice. But considering the issues Apple has always had with the mac pro, I'd be pissed like many trashcan mac users who paid all that money, only to have issue with heat and logic board failures which is not an issue with similar spec'd Windows machines. Even Microsoft charges way to much for their Surface studio products. And yes the pros who buy that, cost is not an issue; and it isn't meant for the retail market. But just because you slap "Pro" like Margues Brownlee said on a product, doesn't mean it's actually worth the extra cost they slap on it with the name.

29. mackan84

Posts: 682; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

Shut up and buy a custom stand vesa for this to then.

34. Valdomero

Posts: 707; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

True, in any moment I've defended that $1k stand, that's a total ripoff. For the rest of what you said, well, I'm not into that world of design and stuff, and there has to be better Windows-based setups than Apple's. I'm trully worried about how the heat is going to dissipate, there's only 1 big fan pulling out all that heat...

9. AmashAziz

Posts: 2934; Member since: Jun 30, 2014

It's expensive. Apple is greedy. Get over it.

10. joshuaswingle

Posts: 743; Member since: Apr 03, 2018

We don't cover Mac news.

16. oldskool50 unregistered

I've noticed that. Is there a reason for that? Not the pro model, but the Air and Macbook, how come you don't cover those? In fact you don't cover PC's either. Is there a reason? To much changes?

19. Vokilam

Posts: 1437; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

“PHONE” arena. P-H-O-N-E Any more questions?

20. Vancetastic

Posts: 1866; Member since: May 17, 2017

Thank you.

25. Guaire

Posts: 897; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Good to know iPad is a P-H-O-N-E.

30. Vancetastic

Posts: 1866; Member since: May 17, 2017

It runs iOS, a mobile operating system, and some even have sim cards!

32. Guaire

Posts: 897; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

Do you mean iPadOS? Do you really claim iPad is a phone? What about iPod Touch? It's a phone too?

35. Vancetastic

Posts: 1866; Member since: May 17, 2017

It also runs a mobile OS. Wanna stick that foot farther in your mouth?

49. Guaire

Posts: 897; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

My mistake. I shouldn't have argue with a fool.

11. kplayon

Posts: 68; Member since: Mar 02, 2018

Keyboard needs numbers above them. And I despise Apples inertia scrolling still. Should be faster. I feel like i have to swipe on a treadmill when I use an apple phone vs android. Anyways, bravo. All this makes iOS much better.

12. oldskool50 unregistered

Finally, fast browser web scrolling. This has been on Android for years. On my phone, one flick and 75% of the screen will scroll if I don't stop it. I never understood why Safari has slow scrolling. especially on pages that are very long and filled with media. Finally being able to use a mouse. With a tablet, this should have been available from the very beginning. Even if the only support was for BT mice. Yet apple criticized the Surface. At least the surface worked with a mouse. Sure your finger can be a mouse, but when you can use a mouse with a smaller pointer, that means you can make some elements on the screen smaller, so that you have room to add morefeatures, which means an app needs less app pages. Even though the Windows UI isn't designed for touch, touch works perfect and yet you still have access to a mouse. Apple could have made a built-in mouse capability just in the UI, where on the keyboard there is a mouse-pad with 2 click buttons. I don't get the hype on Dark Mode. And maybe it's because on windows and Android, there have been ways to darken the UI from a long time and maybe I just take it for granted, I could pretty much always darken something on the UI. But I guess when you haven't had an available capability for 20 years, while others have had it; i guess it is a big deal. Windows has had high contrast settings where the backgrounds were darkened and the other elements were made lighter, as part of the Accessibility features for those who may have a visual handicap. Android also has provided the same. even though it didn't darken all the 3rd party apps, it did darken the UI. Nice improvements though and it nice to see Apple really catching up to where others have been. Should make iOS a bit more enjoyable to use. Shouldn't have taken this long though.

17. Zylam

Posts: 1823; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Wow I have to say this is an awesome update. The files app, mouse and Xbox/PS support alone are huge for me. Still won't go back to an iPhone but can't wait to pick up an iPad Pro.

18. civicsr2cool

Posts: 281; Member since: Oct 19, 2016

Bruh, the iOS13 jailbreak is going to be insane! I cannot wait!

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