24+ iOS 13 tips to help you be more productive

Here's a curated selection of some of the better iOS 13 tips for mobile warriors on the go.

Apple, iOS, iPhone, iOS 13, WWDC, iPad, tips
Leif Johnson/IDG

Apple says iOS 13 is now installed on more than half of the world’s active iPhones. I’ve been exploring the latest version of iOS since it was announced at WWDC 2019 and curated a collection of some of the tips I’ve found since then.

These should help you be more productive and efficient while on the go.

The new Undo

One of the most welcome improvements in iOS 13 is the transformed Undo/Redo function:

Undo: Swipe right with three fingers on the screen.

Redo: Swipe left with three fingers on the screen to redo that change.

Another great feature is Look Around, which delivers a Street View-like experience on your iPhone.

This isn’t available everywhere (yet) – when it is available you’ll see a binoculars icon. If you want to test it out, why not visit N. Tantau Ave in San Jose and scroll up the road to find a view of Apple Park?

Share your ETA

New to Maps, you can now let someone know your ETA.

Tap the location you are going to in the Maps app and look for the "Share ETA" item above the words Add Person. Tap the latter and your selected contact(s) will be sent your estimated time of arrival.

A new way to type

QuickPath lets you swipe your finger between letters without removing it from the keyboard – you’ll see a wooshing graphic to show you are writing and the iPhone will use AI to try to write the words you want to write. It’s an effective tool, once you get used to it.

Zip and unzip files

You no longer need a compression app on your iPhone; you can now zip and unzip files in the Files app:

  • Download the file to your device.
  • Tap and hold it to summon the redesigned contextual menu.
  • Tap Compress to create an archive of the item.

Automatic close

Are you someone who ends up with dozens of still-open websites in Safari tabs on your iDevice? Open Settings>Safari and scroll down to the Tabs section where you should select Close Tabs. You can choose to close tabs manually, or automatically after a day, week or month.

Colorful flags

Open an email, tap the reply icon, then tap Flag. You’ll find that you can now flag messages for later reference using any of seven colors, or tap the last choice to remove an existing flag.

Scan from inside Files app

I've mentioned this before: If you want to scan a document directly into your Files app, just tap the Ellipsis icon above Browse and choose Scan Documents.

You’ll find lots more new iOS 13 (and iPad OS) features here.

Not every change in iOS 13 has been welcome, however. For example, I still haven’t been convinced there’s much value in the intelligent recommendations row that takes prime space in the otherwise much improved Share pane.

Hidden iOS 13 talents

Each time Apple ships a new operating system, you’ll find a few new talents hidden somewhere inside of the software. iOS 13 was no different – for example, you can even set up a Bluetooth mouse as a pointing device in Settings>Accessibility>Touch.

Other less obvious improvements include:

Search Messages

While in Messages, just swipe down from the top of the display to bring down the search field and type your request.

Voice control

Voice Control is great, but it also means you can use speech-to-text in more places across the operating system. This is why you can now tap the small microphone icon to speak your search in any search field.

Edit video as easily as images

Tap Edit, and you’ll be able to rotate, crop and apply filters to videos. You can even rotate them.

Siri tips

Siri remains one of the best ways to get things done fast. The following tips are as old as Siri – and I still argue they aren't used enough (which is why I've included them):

Change Settings

Use Siri to change Settings or System Preferences. Just trigger Siri and ask it to open the Setting or Preference you need – it can change some of them, too….

Open an App

Open any app by triggering Siri and asking it to open the app.

Open a website

Ask Siri to open the site you're seeking.

Set a reminder

Siri can set a reminder to let you know to pick something up when you reach a location, so long as the location is named in your Contacts book. You might say: “Hey Siri, remind me to pick up some milk when I leave the office."

You’ll find dozens more Siri tips here.

Tips to get things done

Many of us now use our iPhones to run our business, collaborate on projects and to get things done – but doing so means most of us spend a lot of time seeking out ways to work more efficiently when on the move. In 16+ iPhone tips to get things done faster, you’ll learn some less obvious iOS tools, including:

Fast response

Received a message and want to send a response fast? Just long press the message to open its preview and then slide your finger up the screen to find three quick responses you can use.

Call handling

A call comes in and you can’t take it? Tap Message on the incoming call screen and you can choose a text message to let the caller know you can’t pick up right now.

Maps control

Double tap to zoom in Maps. If you keep holding after the second tap you’ll be able to zoom in and out of the map just by moving that your finger up and down the screen.

Security improvements in iOS 13

There are multiple security improvements in iOS 13, including tools to:

  • Sign in With Apple.
  • Prevent robocalls.
  • Stop apps abusing information about your location.
  • Strip location information from images you share. You can prevent images carrying your location data in Privacy>Location Services>Camera
  • Bolster its Find My service, which now works slightly differently and lets you find your Mac, just like an iPhone.

You’ll find more details on the many security enhancements in iOS 13 here. And here are two tips collections written in 2018, which are still useful:  

You’ll also find many more tips here.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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