Here are some of the best hidden but useful features coming to your iPhone this fall
On Monday, Apple released the public beta of iOS 13, which lets you try some of the new features coming to the iPhone this fall. I already covered some of the bigger changes, like dark mode, but there are a whole bunch of new features coming, and some of them are kind of hidden.
I’ve been using the beta for a few weeks, and wanted to highlight some of the changes that are really useful, but that haven’t been talked about as much. Here are a few of my favorites.
How to share your iPhone’s personal hotspot with family
If you pay for a data plan with hotspot support, you can already use your iPhone to connect a laptop or tablet when a traditional Wi-Fi network isn’t available. And while anyone can access this if you share your password, a new feature in iOS 13 will let people on your iTunes family account, like children or partner, automatically connect to your phone’s hotspot. This can help you save money if you have just one person on your cellular account with a hotspot data plan. Here’s how to set it up:
- Open Settings
- Tap “Personal Hotspot”
- Choose “Family Sharing.”
- Select the member you’d like to share with.
- Now choose “automatic” or “ask for approval.”
- If that family member sees your phone as a hotspot, they can now use it automatically.
Use the new swipe keyboard
The iPhone has supported swipe keyboards made by other companies for a couple of years now, but in iOS 13 it’s a default option on the built-in keyboard. That means, instead of tap-typing each letter, you can swipe your finger across the keyboard to each letter to form a word. It works pretty well, and you might not know about it until you try it. I’ve always been a tap-typer, though, so I’m still getting used to this.
How to connect a PS4 or Xbox One controller to your iPhone in iOS 13
Ahead of the Apple Arcade launch, which will include premium games for a single monthly subscription this fall, Apple has added support for popular gaming controllers, including the PS4 and Xbox controllers. That means you can play games like Grand Theft Auto without having to hold your phone (or iPad) and swipe on the screen. It makes the iPhone feel much more like game console.
To do this:
- Put your Xbox controller into pairing mode by turning it on and then holding the pairing button on the back until the front light begins flashing quickly.
- Or put your PS4 remote into pairing mode by holding the Playstation button and the share button for about 3 seconds.
- Open Settings on your iPhone
- Choose Bluetooth and make sure it’s on.
- Select your controller.
- Wait until it says the controller is connected.
- Launch a game that supports controllers. Many are listed here.
How to see the lyrics stream live as your songs play in Apple Music
Apple Music shows lyrics in earlier versions of iOS, but in iOS 13 it can stream the lyrics as they’re happening in a song. So, while listening to Pearl Jam’s Even Flow, for example, the lyrics scrolled up like they would if I was watching a karaoke and singing along, like I did.
All you do is:
- Open Apple Music.
- Play a song.
- Tap the song playing at the bottom of the screen.
- Choose the lyrics button on the far-left.
- Swipe down to stop seeing lyrics.
Long press in control center to choose your Wi-Fi network
I love this feature, but it’s one you might not know about unless someone told you. Previously, if you wanted to connect to a specific Wi-Fi network, you had to open settings, open Wi-Fi, then pick a network. But now in iOS 13, you can do this all from control panel without digging through menus.
Just do this:
- Swipe down from the top-right of the screen on an iPhone X or newer (or from the bottom on an iPhone 8 or older.)
- This opens control center.
- Now long-press (or firmly press) the Wi-Fi button.
- Now long-press (or firmly press) the Wi-Fi network.
- Now you can easily switch to another nearby Wi-Fi network.
How to share your ETA in Apple Maps in iOS 13
Here’s another fun one. Like in Google Maps, you can now share your ETA right from Apple Maps. I’ve already used this from the new CarPlay interface while driving home from the office, so that my wife knows when I’m due home. It even automatically sends text message updates if you hit traffic, so someone knows if you’re delayed. It works right from Apple Maps on an iPhone, even if you don’t have CarPlay.
To use it:
- Open Apple Maps.
- Set a destination and get directions to it.
- Tap “Go.”
- Tap the bottom of the maps screen.
- Choose “Share ETA.”
- Pick your contact.
- They’ll get a text message with your ETA.
Those are just a few of the new features in iOS 13, which you can try now by installing the public beta. Or, bookmark this page and come back when iOS 13 launches this fall. If you do choose to use the beta, just know that it’s kind of buggy right now, so some apps might crash and some features might not always work properly. But, Apple will continue fixing them before the final version rolls out in the fall.