Kim Komando shares 9 new features in iOS 13 you’ll use time and time again

Cue the applause — Apple released a new operating system. You'd think with all the fanfare we just found a way to travel from New York to London in 30 minutes. But Apple has perfected marketing, and this includes an annual upgrade that changes the look and use of our devices.

It wasn’t all roses initially in Cupertino. Bugs and security issues plagued the release of iOS 13. Tap or click here to learn more about the fixes you need now for Apple’s new operating system.

True to form, iOS 13 includes a ton of changes — over 200 to be exact. Here are 9 you definitely need to check out. By the way, if you like this content, try my free Apple email newsletter and sign up now at

1. Save your eyes

One of the most frequently requested features for iOS has been the addition of “Dark Mode.” This mode is easier on the eyes for those who do most of our browsing at night. It's clean, great to look at and will give your vision less strain than usual when you use it.

When you install iOS 13, you are asked if you’d like to use Dark Mode. Otherwise, to activate Dark Mode, open the Settings app, select Display and brightness and tap on Dark.

If you’d like your device to switch automatically between dark and light modes, turn on Automatic. There are other settings in this menu you should check out, including options such as Light until Sunset, if set to Automatic, and True Tone.

2. A new way to look at photos

The Photos app received a much-needed major overhaul. Now, instead of endlessly scrolling through your entire photo archive, iOS 13 integrates machine learning into the app to group your photos into collections. You see your best moments from every day, month, and year.

It's also fun to see live photos and videos auto-play as you scroll. A feature like Facebook's Memories has come to Photos. In your Year's view, photos taken around a specific date are sorted and shown throughout the years.

Photos automatically ignores duplicate photos and screenshots, so all those meme pictures you save from Facebook won't clutter up your albums. If you do need to grab any of those, though, they're still available in the full camera roll.

Finally, if you used a separate photo editor before to fine-tune your shots, you won’t need to do that anymore. iOS 13 has a slew of new built-in photo and video editing tools and filters.

3. Create a “Memoji”

Why use generic emojis when you can create your own “Memoji" that resembles you? This way, when you ask someone, "What are we doing tonight?" while smiling, your Memoji does the same thing — complete with head movements and facial expressions. It uses your device’s front-facing camera to create your animated Memoji.

You can choose your skin color, facial features, and hairstyle. You can now customize it with teeth, headwear, makeup, and yes, facial piercings too. To get started on your Memoji, on the front row in the iMessage’s app, tap the Monkey icon.

You can set your Memoji as your photo in Contacts for your iMessage profile. Do this if you’d like to take an extra step to help protect your identity.

4. Reminders that actually work

The Reminders app never really did much when compared to stand-alone apps available in the App store. If you have trouble remembering things, it’s worth a look. You can make lists, tasks, sub-tasks, set schedules, set reminders based on time and location, and flag important to-dos. You can also see it all at-a-glance on your device or Apple Watch.

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The big deal is that you can get alerts about a reminder when you are messaging someone as well as tag contacts in specific reminders that involve them. You can also attach images and video clips to your reminders. It's also super handy that Siri can set them by voice.

Be sure that you set up Reminders to use your iCloud account to keep your reminders updated across all your devices. Open Settings, tap [Your Name], iCloud, and turn on Reminders. Inside the Reminders app, you’ll see all of your reminders on all of your Apple devices that are signed in to the same Apple ID.

Apple's new iPhone 11 Pro Max which features triple rear cameras seen at an Apple retail store at the IFC Mall in Pudong New Area, Shanghai. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

5. Robocall help is here

This feature just might be the best one of all, but it’s not enabled by default. iOS 13 allows your phone to automatically “Silence unknown callers” and send them directly to voicemail. If the number is found in your Mail, Messages or Contacts app, the call will go through.

To activate the feature, open Settings and scroll down to Phone. Scroll down and turn on Silence Unknown Callers.

Do not enable this feature if you are worried about missing an emergency call. It does not work like Do Not Disturb. A call will not come through after multiple attempts. Finally, be sure to glance at your missed calls from time-to-time. I missed a few calls from my credit card company wanting to verify charges.

6. A faster way to type

Apple has finally caught up with Android with gesture typing. Called QuickPath, the swipe-based keyboard works excellently and is enabled by default.  While typing, move your finger from one letter to the next without lifting it. The software handles the rest.

Let’s say you wanted to type the word, pumpkin. Place your finger on the “p” key and draw a line to the “u” and then a line to the “m” and so on. It’s really easy and fast once you get used to it.

If this new typing technique doesn’t float your boat, open Settings, select General, select Keyboard, and scroll down until you see Slide to Type and turn it off.

RELATED: The reason why you should leave a new iPad or MacBook off your holiday list

7. Vanishing tabs

iOS 13 will clean up after you. Most iPhone owners tend to build up a large amount of Safari tabs that usually just get left open. This makes it hard to find what you're looking for with all the clutter.

You can make your device close all these tabs automatically. Open Settings and scroll down to Safari. Find the section that says Tabs and tap Close tabs and select the amount of time you'd like them to last: manually or after one day, one week, or one month.

Speaking of Safari, in the address bar you’ll find a new icon shown as two As. Tap this to open a Website View Menu where you can set individual settings for each website. You can set per-site controls for access to your camera, location, and microphone, as well as enable Reader View.

8. New privacy controls

The idea behind iOS 13’s Sign in with Apple is that you set up accounts with various apps and sites using your Apple ID. This way, you don’t divulge any personal data. Apps and websites only get a unique number that identifies you. You can give out your email address or use a hidden address given to you by Apple that will automatically forward email to your real email address.

One huge benefit to this is you no longer have to remember different passwords for all your various accounts. Your Apple account is protected by your biometrics such as Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode. When you log into an app or site that offers this, you'll see a button that says Continue or Sign In with Apple.

To  enable Sign in with Apple, two-factor authentication must be activated. Open Settings, tap [Your Name], and tap Password and Security. Here, you'll see an option to Turn on Two-Factor Authentication. Follow the steps.

9. Try a freebie

iOS 13 has a new subscription service called Apple Arcade. Usually, if you wanted to try out a handful of different games, you would have to pay for each one. Now, Apple's new service gives you access to an entire library of interesting games for $4.99 a month.

If you install iOS 13 on your device, you get one month free to try it out. Be sure to set a Reminder to cancel it if you don’t use it.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at