iOS 13.1.2 Review: Third time lucky

In Apple’s most impressive software update so far, iOS 13 streamlines core applications and introduces a plethora of handy features, that are marred a little by a few minor, but persistent technological niggles.

Apple initially released the highly anticipated operating system to the public on September 19 but since then has continued to tweak the operating system with iOS 13.1.2 being rolled out September 30.

Core Apps

Safari enjoys a host of innovative additions and refinements making internet browsing a smoother and more versatile experience. Rather than having to bear the tedium of manually scrolling to the bottom of lengthy web pages, the new scrubber on the sidebar gives users the option to flit through content much faster, saving time and effort especially when trying to locate a specific line of text or image concealed in reams of material.

Similarly, the capacity for full-page web screenshots prevents the need to painstakingly capture entire pages in a series of separate, overlaying shots, again improving the efficiency of the Safari browser. And Safari downloads can now be tracked via the download manager tab found in the top right of the screen, which is directly linked to Files making it a breeze to keep tabs on any downloaded content.

Notes’ functionality has been much enhanced by a bunch of nifty hand gestures that allow for greater control when editing text. Simply pinch text to copy it and spread the pinch to paste it, swipe with three-fingers to the left to undo and to right to redo, and cut text by rapidly pinching it twice (this one is more hit and miss than the other gestures). Not only are these gestures intuitive, save the tricky double pinch required to cut text, but having these editorial options quite literally at your fingertips is pretty empowering.

iOS 13 also tweaks Music in a few small ways that have some big payoffs. When a track is playing users can select from three new glyphs neatly spread across of the bottom of the screen: lyrics, bluetooth connectivity and track queue. Selecting the lyrics option brings up lyrics that are played in real time, so you can sing along to your favourite tunes without having to open up a separate app. With this impressive addition, Music now doubles up as an impromptu karaoke app and this speaks volumes to the extent that the updated operating system improves the overall capability of the iPhone.

Messages too has seen a shift towards improved functionality with memojis now conveniently integrated into the emojis tab on the keyboard so that you can send memoji stickers without having to close it. And at long last the keyboard features a quick path setting which is on par with its android competitors’.

Other Changes

One of the most notable additions to Apple’s new iOS is the dark mode option found in the brightness section of the control centre. Enabling dark mode shifts background colours to black, which is appreciably lighter on the eyes and allows for less intrusive iPhone use when in low-light environments (so long as you have also turned the brightness down).

Beyond its practical applications, the darker aesthetic offered by this mode is refreshing and the fact that wallpaper colour schemes correspond to its activation is a nice touch. The darker colours highlight the smaller, sharper, bolder glyphs and icons that iOS 13 has made part of the home screen and Safari.

iOS 13 greatly enhances bluetooth capacity by allowing for an additional device to be paired to an iPhone. This means that two sets of Airpods can be connected to the same Apple device, which is a particularly apt addition to the iPhone when sharing longer journeys with another person.

Apple’s software innovations are ever so slightly waylaid by some pesky glitches: the camera app has a frustrating tendency to crash when switching between the front and rear facing cameras and reminders sometimes fail to sync across multiple devices, meaning reminders marked complete on one device may reappear on others.

However, these snags do little to undermine iOS 13’s improvements to iPhone performance, especially when considering apps launch nearly twice as fast and face ID takes around 30 per cent less time to unlock your phone.

Overall, the weighty list of functional improvements, the minor aesthetic tweaks and slight jumps forward in performance that come with iOS 13 changes updating your iPhone from a boring tech task to an exciting necessity.

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