iOS 13: Everything we know about the next iPhone update

iOS 13 release date and features: What do we know so far about the next version of the iPhone software?

The iPhone 11 might be hogging all the buzz, but it’s iOS 13 that promises to bring the sweeping changes in 2019.

Apple’s iPhones are tactile, finely crafted objects. But hardware is literally only half of the equation. Just as important to the ongoing success of the iPhone is the software that powers them. Without the operating system that’s come to be known as iOS, Apple’s smartphone would arguably never have risen to market prominence.

Add in the fact that then next version of iOS will bring meaningful improvements to millions of older devices, and you’ll perhaps understand why we’re just excited to learn about iOS 13 as we are the iPhone 11.

Here, then, is everything we’ve heard leaked or rumoured about iOS 13. It promises to be a big one.

iOS 13 release date – When is iOS 13 out?

Here’s when the previous iOS versions have been announced and released. Note that prior to iOS 4, Apple called its mobile operating system ‘iPhone OS,’ so we’ve used this as a natural starting point.

  • iOS 4 – Announced March 2010, released June 2010
  • iOS 5 – Announced June 2011, released October 2011
  • iOS 6 – Announced June 2012, released September 2012
  • iOS 7 – Announced June 2013, released September 2013
  • iOS 8 – Announced June 2014, released September 2014
  • iOS 9 – Announced June 2015, released September 2015
  • iOS 10 – Announced June 2016, released September 2016
  • iOS 11 – Announced June 2017, released September 2017
  • iOS 12 – Announced June 2018, released September 2018

As you can see, from iOS 6 onwards, there’s been a solid pattern of Apple’s latest mobile OS being previewed at its WWDC show in June and released alongside new iPhone hardware in September.

Sure enough, Apple has announced the date of its next Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which will take place on June 3, 2019. That’s when we’ll almost certainly see iOS 13 announced, with a rollout expected for some time in September.

If you’re really keen to get your mitts on iOS 13, you can expect to be able to download the first iOS 13 beta some time in July.

iOS 13 compatibility – Will I be able to run iOS 13?

Apple is the best in the business when it comes to legacy support. Indeed, iOS 12 featured the same device compatibility roster as iOS 11, with none of the older iPhones or iPads being dropped.

All of which makes us think that we might lose a couple of devices from the compatibility list for iOS 13. At particular risk of being dropped are the iPhone 5S, the iPad Air, the iPad Mini 2 and the iPad Mini 3.

That means that anyone with an iPhone 6, iPod Touch 6th generation, iPad Air, iPad Mini 4 or above should be safe for another year at least.

Or so you would think. One somewhat dubious report from Israeli site The Verifier (via MacRumours) suggests that Apple could be set for a ruthless cull of everything up to and including the iPhone 6S family, as well as the iPhone SE, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 4 and iPod touch 6th generation.

We can’t quite see Apple wiping out three whole generations in one fell swoop after the impressive reprieve of iOS 12, but the rumour is out there.

iOS 13 features – What new features will iOS 13 include?

As we’ve already alluded to, iOS 12 was very much all about cleaning up and stabilisation an iOS experience that had grown a little flaky in iOS 11. What the OS gained in performance and compatibility, though, it lost in wow factor and fresh features.

Indeed, even prior to the launch of iOS 12 it was rumoured that a number of software additions were being held back for iOS 13. As far back as January 2018, Axios was claiming that a home screen refresh was being pushed back to 2019, as well as major improvements to core apps like Mail.

We’ve also seen it mentioned that the photo-taking experience will get a boost in iOS 13. One new feature on this front could relate to Live Photos, which could double in length from three to six seconds.

It’s also been claimed that iOS 13 will focus on the distinct attributes of the iPad. Back in May 2018, journalist Mark Gurman stated that iOS 13 would represent a major iPad upgrade, with a revamped Files app, MacOS-style tabs in apps, and a home screen rejig.

Other rumours suggest that we could finally see a dark mode added in iOS 13. This would make perfect sense given that it appeared in macOS Mojave last year. Might the slightly spooky WWDC 2019 artwork be a nod to this addition?