Each year, regular as clockwork, Apple releases a new version of their operating system for mobile devices – iOS. This years version, iOS13, has recently been release for public beta and I took the plunge and installed it on my iPad Pro so you don’t have to!
Can’t we all run the beta?
Before we get too much into the new features of iOS here are a couple of reasons why you might not want to be installing it on your main device just yet. Beta software by definition is not fully baked and still has a number of bugs in it. The idea of releasing a public beta is so that Apple can get some valuable feedback and fix the major issues before go live to the masses, likely some time in October.
That means that if you are testing the beta version you will find issues and oddities such as the following…
And this less that useful on-screen keyboard…
Probably the most visible change is to the home screen and the size of the icons which have shrunk. This allows for a greater number to be shown at once and has also allowed for a couple of widgets to be shown on the left hand side in landscape mode.
While this is fine as far as it goes when you have all slots filled (that’s 30 icons + another 11 on the toolbar) it does become increasingly difficult to find exactly what you are looking for!
Since the introduction of the OLED screen on the iPhone X people seem to have been clamouring for a native dark mode on iOS and here it is.
Options are as you would expect with the ability to have it come on automatically at sunset and off again at sunrise or you can set your own schedule. Or turn it off completely.
For this to be of real use we will have to wait until apps on the app store are launch to take advantage of this.
One of the reasons I upgraded to the beta was for the support of external storage such as SD cards, usb sticks and even hard drives. You can now plug in, via a cable or hub if you don’t have a USB-C drive, storage and finally manage it from the Files app.
What’s great about this is that with a USB-C hub you can plug in multiple devices at the same time and as long as they don’t use too much power all will work simultaneously. All storage appears as a separate section in the Files app.
This will be useful to be able to carry more media such as videos around without having to clog up the memory on the iPad itself and for transferring files.
Another nifty feature is the ability to support a mouse. Or at least it would be if I could get it to work. In theory both wired and bluetooth mice are supported but, to date, I can only get an old Logitech mouse to work. The Microsoft mouse connects be refuses to work unless the wired mouse is also connected. Of course this could be a beta issue that’s rectified in a later release.
The mouse support does work well though even if it does take a little getting used to. You can map the buttons onto a variety of actions such as opening the home screen. Scrolling also works but in the opposite direction to what I have set on my Mac so I hope that an option will be added to swap this in future.
I have read a number of posts online with people saying things like “wE doNT nE3D moUsE SuPpOrT” (literally like that!). For many that’s probably true but sometimes it makes no sense to be prodding the screen all the time and it is more natural to use a mouse. Having only the wired mouse doesn’t really work for me but if my Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 can be coaxed into life then I would be much more onboard with it.
Oh and one more thing…
It is no longer iOS on the iPad but iPadOS reflecting all the extras that it brings.
iPadOS has lots of other changes but they are covered just as well elsewhere. Are you going to load up the beta on your devices?