iOS 13 Rumors: Release Date & Features for Apple’s Latest Software Update

The countdown has begun! We will soon find out what features Apple plans to roll out to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch when iOS 13 debuts at the Worldwide Developers Conference this June. Here, I’ll break down all the features the mobile software update is likely to include, including the most-requested updates from our readers and staff.

What You Need to Know

What Is iOS 13?

This year’s free software update for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

When Can I Get It?

Assuming Apple sticks to its usual cycle, you’ll be able to update to iOS 13 beginning September 2019. To test the software early, you’ll likely be able to enroll in a public beta program in late June. Early leaks say WWDC will be held from June 3–7, but Apple has not yet officially announced the event details.

What to Expect from iOS 13

A report from Bloomberg earlier this year predicted the following iOS 13 features:

Dark Mode

Dark mode was met with a warm reception when it debuted on macOS Mojave for laptop and desktop computers last year. The feature is great for nighttime use as it offers a more neutral palette with less bright whites. Dark mode is beneficial for daytime use too, dimming controls and panels in Apple’s built-in apps, which in turn boosts focus by drawing more attention to an app’s workspace. I’ve been loving dark mode on my MacBook Pro (as well as on some third-party iPhone apps such as Day One) and think this will be a nice option for iOS stock apps. This is also one of our most requested features from staff and readers. Based on the rumors, our dreams will likely come true!

CarPlay Improvements

Apple CarPlay is the best in-vehicle software I’ve tried, yet it’s been some time since it’s seen significant updates. According to Bloomberg, improvements are on the way, although details have been hard to come by. One missing feature we’ve been perplexed by is Hey Siri. The ability to summon your digital assistant hands-free would help users keep their eyes safely on the road.

iPad Interface Redesign

Rumor has it that Apple plans to redesign the iPad’s Home screen, add tabs to apps, and revamp the user interface for the Files app. Considering Apple’s focus on making the iPad a tool for serious work, this attempt to make the tablet experience more similar to that of a laptop or desktop computer is a step in the right direction. But unless Apple is willing to merge iOS and macOS (which CEO Tim Cook has said he doesn’t plan to do), I believe it will be challenging to make the iPad a fully functioning work device.

Cross-Platform Apps

At last year’s developer conference, Apple announced plans to bring apps including News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and the Home app to the Mac by the summer of 2019. Up until now, developers have had to create apps for iOS and macOS separately. While this venture stops short of merging Apple’s mobile and desktop software, it will pave the way to make it easier for developers to port apps for iOS over to macOS.

Magazine & TV Subscription Apps 

Apple announced new TV and magazine subscription services during a special event in March. As Apple shifts its attention to services, we expect the company will include ways to access its original video programming and magazine subscription bundle in iOS 13.

Longer Live Photos

Some rumors suggest that Live Photos will go from their current three-second duration to six seconds long. This feature would be bad for storage, but good for capturing memorable moments.

What We Hope to See in iOS 13

While no one is predicting that we’ll get the following features, they would make the biggest difference to the user experience of our readers and staff.


Dynamic Wallpaper

I’ve been enjoying macOS Mojave’s dynamic wallpaper, which features a picture of a dune with shifting light that changes throughout the day from full sunlight at noon to complete darkness at night. How cool would it be if Apple brought dynamic wallpapers to our iPhone and iPad Lock and Home screens?

Contacts for Messages

Texting contact information requires switching back and forth between the Contacts and Messages apps; Apple could easily streamline this process by adding Contacts to the Messages app. That way, we could simply tap the Contacts icon above the keyboard in the Messages app and send the info without any hassle. Here’s hoping Apple hears our prayers!

Multiple Users for iPad

Apple computers support multiple users in order to keep your data private and workspace settings customized to you. Since families, schools, and companies often share iPads, it would make sense to set up multi-user support for tablets. We’ve been waiting for this feature for years.

Mark Texts as Unread

In Apple’s Mail app, you can swipe left to mark a message as unread. This is an easy way to remember to revisit a message you didn’t have time to address in the moment. With text messages, we want that same capability! This is one of our most-requested features from readers; sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference.

Photo Management by Device

With iCloud Photo Library, deleting a picture or video on one device removes it from all devices. With iOS 13, we’d love to be able to manage photos by device, enabling us to keep smaller collections on mobile devices in order to free up more storage space.

Weather Widget for Home Screen

Today View was Apple’s solution to bringing widgets, which Android users have long enjoyed, to the iPhone. Trouble is, Today View requires you to swipe right from the Lock screen to access your list of widgets. For those of us who want to see things like weather forecast as soon as we wake up our devices, Apple should add the ability to set customizable widgets on the Lock screen.

Add Captions and Dates to Photos

Apple sorts your photos and videos for you, leaving albums as the only way to customize your collection. With iOS 13, readers have written in requesting features like the ability to caption and title photos as well as change the date the photo was taken. We agree that more user control over photo organization would be a great thing.
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        Author Details

        Donna Schill's picture

        Author Details

        Donna Schill

        Donna Schill is the Editor in Chief of iPhone Life magazine and is a journalist specializing in producing multimedia content. Aside from managing the editorial team at iPhone Life, Donna co-hosts the iPhone Life Podcast, teaches online iPhone educational courses, and enjoys reporting on live Apple events. Donna began her career as a newspaper reporter before joining the iPhone Life team, where she pairs her penchant for storytelling with her love of Apple products. 

        Donna holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication and earned her undergraduate degree in Media & Communications from Maharishi International University. Her writing has appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Little Village Magazine, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, the Fairfield Ledger, and the Iowa Source, and she was a researcher for American journalist Claire Hoffman's memoir, Greetings from Utopia Park. She is also the host and executive producer of a feminist podcast, Thread the Needle (