iOS 13: What You Need to Know

When it's coming and what the rumor mill is saying

A person using a smartphone to take a picture of a city.

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Users of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are eagerly awaiting the release of iOS 13, the next-generation version of the operating system that powers those devices. Apple hasn't revealed any details of iOS 13 yet, but the rumor mill is working hard to figure out what it will offer. This article provides all the latest news and rumors about iOS 13. Keep an eye on it: it will be updated regularly, including after Apple makes its plans for iOS 13 official.

Remember, for now, what you read here is speculation. Apple won't announce the official details of iOS 13 until June 2019 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

iOS 13 Compatible Apple Devices

In recent years, Apple has emphasized making new versions of the iOS compatible with as many older devices as possible. Expect that trend to continue with iOS 13. This table provides a good estimate for the devices that will be compatible with iOS 13.

iPhone iPod touch iPad
iPhone XR 6th gen. iPod touch iPad Pro series
iPhone XS series   iPad Air series
iPhone X   6th gen. iPad
iPhone 8 series   5th gen. iPad
iPhone 7 series   iPad mini 4
iPhone 6S series    
iPhone 6 series    

If your device can't run iOS 13, it likely can still use iOS 12, which is an excellent operating system. To learn more about it, check out iOS 12: The Basics.

Getting iOS 13

As with all previous versions of the iOS, iOS 13 will be a free upgrade for all users who have devices that can run it. Upgrades will be done in the same way they are now. To learn more, check out:

Key iOS 13 Features

According to the rumor mill, expect the following new features to be introduced with iOS 13:

  • Dark Mode: This system-wide feature would allow users to change the colors shown on their device to match the time of day and their preferences for how bright the interface is. Think of changing colors that are currently light to be dark. This can reduce eye strain and make use in the dark more pleasant. Apple introduced a similar feature in macOS Mojave.

A version of Dark Mode can be used on current versions of the iOS. To learn more, read How to Invert Colors (aka Dark Mode) on Your iPhone and iPad.

  • New Home Screen: A redesigned version of the default iOS Home screen is expected, but what form that redesign will take is currently unknown. Expect a redesign to the CarPlay interface to match.
  • Improved iPad Features: Improving the functionality of the iPad has been a big emphasis in recent versions of the iOS and that should continue in iOS 13. Improvements may include an updated version of the Files app, the ability to run two tabs of the same app at once, and Apple Pencil improvements.
  • Improved Augmented Reality Features: Rumor has it that at least one model of the 2019 iPhone will include a three-camera system for improved 3D and Augmented Reality features. Expect iOS 13 to be updated to support that.
  • Longer Live Photos: The maximum length of Live Photos is expected to be increased in iOS 13.
  • New Emoji: The standards body that governs the emoji standard is expected to introduce new emoji in 2019. Apple will include them in iOS 13.

iOS 13 Release Date

Every year, Apple unveils the initial details about the new version of its operating system at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June. Expect the company to do the same for iOS 13. The OS should be available in Apple's Public Beta Program not long after that for people who want to use pre-release versions.

The official release of iOS 13 will come in Fall 2019, around the same time as the release of the 2019 iPhone models.