While the $5-a-month Apple Arcade subscription doesn’t officially launch until Thursday, iOS 13 beta testers can sign up right now and dive into new games from some of the best indie studios on the planet. With nearly 60 games on the service so far, it’s an overwhelming amount of entertainment, all at once.
Last week Apple dropped a short list of games coming to Apple Arcade for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and Macs. It contained 15 or so games, including new games in classic franchises like Rayman and Pac-Man, an RPG from the makers of Bravely Default, and a bunch of other cool-looking stuff. It was an impressive list, but it’s nothing compared to the tidal wave of titles washing over early Apple Arcade players right now.
I spent much of yesterday afternoon excitedly typing game names into our work Slack. Oceanhorn 2! The first part of the new Shantae game! Square Enix’s Various Daylife! Mini Motorways, a new game from the makers of Mini Metro! Assemble With Care, a new narrative puzzle adventure from UsTwo, makers of Monument Valley! Klei’s Hot Lava, an action game I’ve been waiting for since 2016! Earthnight, that cool dragon-running game from the Nintendo Switch indie direct! Many, many exclamation points were used.
When I loaded the iOS 13 beta yesterday afternoon, there were 53 games available to download and play. As of this writing, there are 59. Apple plans on having more than 100 available in the coming weeks. Thank goodness for my 512 GB iPad Pro. I have so many good things to play right now I don’t know where to start. I’m just going to play everything and see if I can’t come up with some sort of guide to help folks navigate the already crowded service once it launches wide later this week.
For those who need a little more manual control over the wifi networks they connect to, I’m pleased to report that you’ll never have to open the Settings app ever again—hopefully—to connect to a wifi network. Instead, open your device’s Control Center.
Press and hold on the wifi icon to expand the view, like so:
Press and hold again on the wifi icon to pull up a list of all the wifi networks your device detects. Pick whichever one you want to use.
Deleting apps you no longer need (before you update them)
I have a lot of apps on my device, and I tend to forget about them—but still update them constantly, because that’s how the process works. You would think that seeing a giant update chug through for an app I haven’t touched in six months would prompt me to delete it, but then I’d have to go find it in my device, and that takes too long, too.
To address this, Apple is making it a lot easier to delete apps in iOS 13. Now, whenever you see a pending app update on the App Store (or have already downloaded and installed one), swipe left on the app. You’ll see the familiar red “Delete” button, which you can tap to remove the app from your iPhone or iPad. You’ll never have to spend precious minutes hunting through your folders to find and remove an app ever again.
Tell Siri to add multiple items to lists
This one is fun. Fire up Siri and tell it to add things to a list, but make sure you use the word “and” to connect them all together. When you do, iOS 13 will split each item into a separate listing instead of lumping them all together into one reminder, like so:
Share your ETA with friends
You can now share your estimated time of arrival with your friends when you’re using Apple Maps to get somewhere—an especially useful feature if you’re also connected to CarPlay. Your device will automatically message them with your current travel time, and it’ll also send them another message when you’re really close—so they can come outside and hop in the car, instead of forcing you to honk your horn or send a “where are you?” text.
If you always want to let certain people know about your ETA to a particular location—say, when you’re driving home from work each day—add it to your list of favorite locations in Apple Maps. While you’re in the Details screen, you can tap on “Add Person” under “Share ETA” to automatically notify them whenever you’ve pulled up directions to that location.
Finally, a great way to stop robocalls
I’ve saved the best for last, and it truly is one of the greatest, simplest features to ever hit iOS. With one little addition to your Settings app (technically, the Phone option within your Settings app), Apple has killed robocalls—or, at least, made it impossible for them to harass you. And this is a much better solution than paying your carrier for some kind of spam-blocking feature.
Pull up the Settings app, and then tap on Phone. Look for the “Call Silencing and Blocked Contacts” section, and enable “Silence Unknown Callers.” Any number that isn’t in your Contacts, Mail, or Messages won’t ring or appear on your device. It’ll go directly to voicemail instead.
While this poses problematic for times when you want to receive a phone call from an unknown number—say, the hospital, or a job interview, et cetera—you can always disable this feature temporarily if you know you’re expecting a call. It’s a lot less annoying than the alternative, which is having your phone ring four times an hour from some bullshit spammer.
What are your favorite iOS 13 features?
There’s plenty more to like about iOS 13—like the ability to remove any location information from photos you’re sharing with others (via the “Options” setting when you tap a picture in Photos, then tap the Share icon). What are some of your favorite features you’ve discovered? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll profile the best ones in a future post.
Apple recently released the second (developer) version of the iOS 13 beta. That means features plenty of bug fixes and new features. like sorting for your Notes checklists (to move completed items to the bottom), new Animoji stickers, a slider for adjusting the intensity of Portrait Mode lighting, and a prompt that asks you if you also want to unsubscribe from subscription apps you delete.
That’s all well and good, but the best part of the iOS 13 developer beta 2 is that it’s now a lot easier to install the beta on your iPhone or iPad. And while Apple still cautions against doing so until the iOS 13 public beta, this new iteration of iOS 13 already feels less buggy (and a little speedier) than the very first version. You probably shouldn’t use it on your primary device just yet, but the temptation is stronger.
Installing the iOS 13 developer beta profile
Unlike last time, where you had to go through the slightly more complicated process of downloading an .IPSW file and restoring your iPhone or iPad in iTunes using that image, you can now simply install the iOS 13 developer beta profile. In doing so, you’ll be able to update your device to iOS 13 (developer beta 2) directly from your System app, which is a lot easier (and doesn’t require you to restore all of your apps and settings onto your device).
In fact, this is the only way you’ll be able to automatically receive iOS beta updates going forward if you did things the trickier way the first time. Since you didn’t install the beta profile then, your device won’t ping Apple for updates since, technically, it doesn’t think you’re in the beta (even if you’re running iOS 13).
To get started, pull up Safari on your iOS device and head on over to betaprofiles.com. Look for the big “iOS13 + iPadOS” section, and click on the blue download button. Your device will have you approve the beta profile you’re about to install, and it’ll then ask you for a quick reset. Once you’re back in business, you’ll be able to go to Settings > General > Software Update to download and install any new versions of iOS 13. It’s that easy.
During the WWDC 2019 keynote on Monday, we heard about a ton of features coming to iOS 13, the new iPadOS, and macOS Catalina—but Apple itself admitted that there was much more it didn’t have time to showcase. Here are some of the best and coolest software tweaks heading to iPhones, iPads, and Macs later this year.
iOS 13 and iPadOS
Wifi selection from Control Center: The next versions of Apple’s mobile OSes are going to let you select a wifi network directly from the Control Center. At the moment, you can only toggle wifi on and off, so it should save us all numerous trips to the Settings app in the future.
Relationship labels for your Contacts: Contacts gets a tweak with the option to define your relationships with certain people—like your brother or your significant other. It should go some way to helping you manage your sprawling contacts list more easily.
Share to Messages: Tapping the Share button inside an app gives you extra options in iOS 13 and iPadOS—specifically the ability to share directly to people in a Messages conversation.
Mute threads in Mail: Don’t let a busy email conversation distract you anymore. Once iOS 13 and iPadOS land, you’ll be able to mute threads for a specific time period, so they don’t prompt a notification. The muting works across all your Apple devices.
Mouse support: Hold on to your hats, because mouse support is coming to iOS 13 and iPadOS as an Accessibility feature. A click works like a finger press, and while there isn’t an official list of supported devices yet, we know it’ll work with USB and Bluetooth mice.
Control who your kids are chatting with: Among a selection of new features coming to Screen Time is the option to set limits on who your kids are communicating with at certain times. You’ll also be able to manage the contacts that appear on your children’s devices.
Block senders in Mail: Speaking of the default email client on Apple devices, iOS 13 and iPadOS will let you block specific senders—messages from those people get sent straight to the trash, and again, the rule gets applied on all your synced Apple gadgets.
More complex photo searches: Apple continues to add improvements to its Photos apps, as we saw on stage at WWDC. One new feature that wasn’t demoed is more complex searches—you’ll be able to combine terms such as “beach” and “selfies” in a single query.
Volume on screen: There’s a new volume indicator to enjoy in the upcoming software refreshes—it starts off chunky and then shrinks down as you adjust the volume using the buttons on your device. You can also tap and drag on the screen to change the volume.
Download larger apps on cell networks: The default limit for apps downloaded over cell networks on iOS is 200MB, but Apple is making it easier to override this in the next OS refreshes. You can choose to remove the limit entirely or get a prompt each time.
Low data mode: Want to keep data usage down to a minimum? The new Low Data Mode toggle switch in Cellular Data Options under Cellular in Settings is for you. Apple’s in-line blurb says it helps apps “reduce their network data use”—that’s all we know so far.
Optimized battery charging: This new Settings option in iOS 13 and iPadOS changes how your devices charge. Instead of getting pushed right back up to 100 percent every time you plug in, it’ll learn from your daily routine and habits to work out when you’ll need a full charge. This could help your battery last longer.
Auto-close idle tabs in Safari: Dive into the Safari section of Settings, and you’ll see some new options for automatically closing down tabs you’ve forgotten about in iOS 13 and iPadOS. The options areAfter One Day, After One Week, or After One Month.
Take full-page screenshots on the web: Want to take a full-page screenshot of a website? No problem, with the new software updates Apple is rolling out soon: Simply take a screenshot of Safari as you normally would, then tap the Full Page option up at the top.
AirPlay 2 comes to Apple Home: You’re going to be able to add AirPlay 2 speakers to scenes and automations in iOS 13 and iPadOS.
Access your Apple Account: Apple is finally dragging some of the account management settings that were previously only available on the web into macOS. From a new System Preferences option, you’ll be able to manage devices, your Apple subscriptions, and so on.
Unsubscribe from emails: As well as getting the ability to mute threads and block senders in Mail that we’ve already talked about above, Mail on the desktop will also get an unsubscribe button for mailing lists in Catalina.
A virtual Touch Bar with Sidecar: We heard that your iPad could be used as second display via the new Sidecar feature, but one neat extra detail is a virtual Touch Bar that appears on the second screen for compatible apps.
Picture-in-picture for QuickTime: QuickTime already has a PiP mode of sorts, but it’s becoming official with the arrival of macOS Catalina, and it will work across multiple spaces and in full-screen mode. It’ll be available with a single click from the navigation controller.
Share folders in iCloud Drive: iCloud is catching up with Dropbox and its ilk. In macOS Catalina (and indeed with iOS and iPadOS), you can share entire iCloud folders with other people, rather than individual files. You can also grant permission to add files to a folder.
On Monday, a host of developers and press will gather in the heart of San Jose to learn about Apple’s software plans for the coming year. Here’s a collection questions we hope Apple answers at this year’s WWDC.
Will iOS finally get a REAL dark mode?
Almost certainly. With macOS getting a dark mode in last year’s Mojave update, and rival Android getting an official dark mode at Google I/O, it stands to reason iOS will finally get one too. Particularly after pictures of the mode leaked to 9to5Mac earlier this week.
iOS currently has something like a dark mode, thanks to its ability to invert every color on the screen and make white things black, but the new dark mode should be more visually attractive. It’ll also likely be well received by anyone with an OLED display in their iPhone. Dark images on OLED displays use up less battery.
Besides a dark mode, Bloomberg has outlined many new features likely coming in the next version of iOS. They include an improved Mail app with the ability to block emails from certain accounts, an updated and more complex To Do app, and a better Bedtime tab in the Clock app.
Will my iPhone or Watch finally track my sleep?
It’s getting closer. Right now, there are many third-party sleep tracker apps, but nothing native. And that will likely remain the case post WWDC. The Bedtime tab in the Clock app should be a little more extensive and is meant to better support new sleep tracking features available on the Watch. It seems sleep tracking won’t come just yet.
Instead, Bloomberg suggests Apple will announce a Sleep Mode for the phone which should automatically mute notifications, turn on Do Not Disturb, and even dim the lock screen, so it doesn’t blind you at three in the morning.
Will the Apple Watch get better battery life?
Unlikely. While an updated watchOS could improve battery life on existing Apple Watches, it’s doubtful it will be a significant enough improvement to get excited about.
And perhaps that’s just one reason sleep tracking won’t be live on the Apple Watch any time soon. Right now, the watch gets 18 to 24 hours of battery life. Battery life will need to improve substantially if Apple wants people wearing the watch to bed every night.
Will the iPhone Health app finally be useful?
Signs say yes. The current belief is that Apple will finally refresh the app and update the landing screen for it. Apple will also reportedly add a new feature for “hearing health” so you can know if you’re listening to stuff too loudly. As with health wearable rival Fitbit, Apple will finally embrace period tracking.
It’s also important to note that over the last few weeks, Apple quietly refreshed both the MacBook Pro and the iPod Touch. It could have saved either of those refreshes for WWDC itself, but instead, it updated the hardware ahead of its major showcase. If we wanted to speculate, using nothing but circumstantial evidence,we might suggest Apple was clearing the way for even bigger hardware news.
Yes, in a way. Marzipan is the internal name for a set of developer tools that will allow devs to develop a single app that works across iPhones, iPads, and macOS devices. Such a set of tools would enable Apple to unify iOS and macOS, eventually, combining them into a single operating system that works across a multitude of screen sizes and processor types.
Apple has repeatedly denied the unification rumor, with Craig Federighi spending a chunk of last year’s WWDC promising that iOS and macOS would never merge. But Marzipan itself definitely exists. Apps that will work across platforms are already here, in the form of the News and Voice Memo apps that appeared in Mojave last year (both were originally iOS exclusive apps). We should expect to see more Apple developed universal apps at WWDC this year, including Podcasts and Screen Time.
According to Bloomberg,Apple will also announcethat third-party developers can create a single app for the iPad and macOS. The apps would be available on the iPad and macOS stores respectively, but devs would only have to code the app once to work across both types of devices—and hopefully, we’d only have to buy it once too. It’s not quite what Marzipan is rumored to be (still no explicit cross macOS/iPhone support), but it’s a step closer.
Not exactly. It’s hard to believe that Apple will straight up kill iTunes entirely, though, with the launch of a standalone TV app and the rumored Apple Music standalone, it seems possible that Apple will enter the early stages of phasing iTunes out.It’s about time.
Will we get more details on Apple Arcade?
We’d better.Arcade was announced back at Apple’s weird services-focused March event, and there haven’t been a lot of details since, but given WWDC is a developer conference and Arcade will need lots of developer support to succeed, it seems logical we’d learn more about the tools game designers need. We’ll also hopefully see some of those games. Sonic and Frogger-like games have already been announced, but Apple noted several developers had already signed on to build games for its service. Presumably at least one will be ready to show off on stage.
Will watchOS finally let you download apps from the Watch?
Hopefully. Right now, if you need a new app on an Apple Watch, you have to pull out the phone the watch is bound to, download from a dinky little app store that is really just a subsite of the primary iOS app store, and wait for it to download, slowly, from the phone to the watch.
Apple is reportedlyplanning to add an actual app store to the Watch itself, making adding new apps a lot easier. Among those should be a calculator watch, so you can make like that one uncle in 1988 and do quick math from your wrist.
Will Siri stop sucking?
Probably not. Siri might be available on nearly every iOS and macOS device, but the system struggles to be as smart as rivals Google Assistant and Alexa, which the HomePod made painfully clear. There are no rumors currently related to improved intelligence, but Siri shortcuts, a feature introduced last year in iOS, should be coming to macOS as well.
Will Apple talk about privacy and security?
Count on it. Facebook might be terrible at caring about your privacy, but Apple has pointedly made privacy and security a selling point. There are no actual rumors about new privacy or security features, but at this point, the surprise would be Apple not mentioning it at least once.
On the security front, there is a rumored rival to Tile expected. Apple supposedly has plans to combine Find Your Phone and Find Your Friends into a single app and start selling a dongle you can attach to non-Apple products so you can find them too.
Will we see a new Apple TV?
Definitely not. The Apple TV is unlikely to be updated any time soon, and the TV app just got a refresh after the March event. However, it is important to note that tvOS hasn’t seen any new features leaked ahead of WWDC. So there could certainly be some surprises left in store.
Will we see the revamped iPhone SE?
Unlikely. While many people I know would love a cheaper and smaller iPhone and there have been rumors of one in the works from Apple since it killed the last one, the chances of Apple showing it off at WWDC are very slim.
Signs point to an iPhone SE 2 announcement in March 2020. So if you’ve got tiny hands, you’d better sit on them.