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Our favorite hidden iOS 13 features

Macworld | Jul 26, 2019

It’s these small touches make iOS 13 a joy to use.

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Apple's long WWDC keynote covered lots of big new features for iOS 13. And we're really excited about Dark Mode, and the new Maps, and the swiping keyboard and all that, but now that the beta is here, we're discovering lots of little tweaks and changes that really make iOS 13 a joy to use.

Here are five of our favorite little hidden features within iOS 13, but there are lots more.

Bear in mind, iOS 13 is still in beta, so some of these might look a little different in the final release this fall, and we sure to discover even more great hidden features by then.

Call spam is getting WAY out of hand, and Apple is helping do something about it with a new Silence Unknown Callers feature. Open the Settings app, then tap on Phone, you’ll find a toggle for it.

With this turned on, your iPhone will allow any call from a number in your Contacts, Messages, or Mail, but any other number or any unlisted number will go straight to voice mail without ringing your phone at all. Trust me, you did not win a free cruise.

Then there's the new volume indicator. I have complained for years about that big square volume display in the middle of the screen, and iOS 13 FINALLY changes it to a sleek little slider off in the corner.

But what most people don't know is that you can drag that slider up and down to change the volume, instead of just pressing the volume button a whole bunch of times.

If you're like me, you sometimes hit the tabs button in Safari and then WHOA--you've got DOZENS and DOZENS of open tabs, going back forever.

That's why I love this new option in Settings to automatically close Safari tabs after one day, one week, or one month. I set mine to one week because sometimes you do need to go back to an old tab, but it really helped get a handle on that massive stack of open tabs.

If you want to connect to a Wi-Fi network or a bluetooth device, you don't have to dig into the Settings app anymore! Now you can do it from control center.

Just expand the connections area, and then 3D touch or long-press on the Wi-Fi or the Bluetooth buttons. Connecting to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is such a common thing, and seeing this feature makes you wonder why Apple has made us do it through the Settings menu for all these years.

Back in iOS 11, Apple added a document scanner to the Notes app. It's a REALLY fast and easy way to capture images of paper documents and digitize them, but they were kind of stuck in the Notes app. You could export it, but doing so was kind of a convoluted mess.

In iOS 13, you can open the Files app and go to any folder, even a cloud folder, and scan a document as a PDF right there. It's a great way to easily save a copy of your important paper documents to the cloud, so they're always available. That way you don't have to drive all the way back home when you forget to bring your dog's vaccination records to the boarding kennel. Not that I would know anything about that.
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