IN A SURPRISE TO NO-ONE, Apple has launched iOS 13 with a built-in system-wide dark mode.
Shown off at WWDC, the new goth-friendly iOS theme brings a gloomy-hued makeover to the dock and notifications, while Apple's native apps including Messages, News and Notes will sport a deep black background, which should be easier on the eyes and save battery life.
Dark mode will be made available to third-party app developers and can be scheduled to turn on automatically at a certain time.
Privacy is another big focus of iOS 13, with Apple introducing a new 'Sign in with Apple' button for apps. Unlike similar buttons offered by the likes of Facebook and Google, the button allows you to mask your email address from developers, with Apple instead generating a unique random address that forwards to your actual email address.
"Instead of using a social account or filling out forms, verifying email addresses or choosing passwords, customers can simply use their Apple ID to authenticate and Apple will protect users' privacy by providing developers with a unique random ID," Apple explains.
"Even in cases where developers choose to ask for a name and email address, users have the option to keep their email address private and share a unique random email address instead."
Apple will force apps that are distributed via its App Store and use third-party single-sign-on services to support Sign in with Apple. noting in its dev guidelines that it will be a "required option" when it becomes commercially available later this year.
The update will also allow you to choose to give your location data to an app "just once," preventing it from constantly being able to ping your location when you're using it.
There are some privacy improvements coming to Apple's HomeKit too. HomeKit Secure Video is a new interface that analyses video recorded by cameras on your devices, instead of in the cloud. HomeKit is also getting support for several new types of devices including home security cameras and routers.
Apple is also making a number of performance tweaks in iOS 13. It claims that Face ID will unlock 30 per cent faster on iOS 13, while apps will launch up to 50 per cent faster. Apps will be quicker to install too; downloads will be up to 50 per cent smaller and updates up to 60 per cent.
Siri is also getting a much-needed boost. Using tech called "neural text-to-speech," the digital helper sounds less robotic than before in iOS 13. It'll now read messages to AirPod wearers too, with support for both Apple's new WhatsApp-like Messages app and third-party services such as WhatsApp and Messenger.
Naturally, iOS 13 sees a number of Apple's native apps given a makeover. Reminders has been designed from the ground up, Photos will now highlight the best images and automatical hiding clutter, and Apple's bork-prone Maps app is getting a major overhaul, with Google Maps-esque Street View functionality and broader coverage.
iOS 13 will also bring with it a Swype-esque keyboard dubbed 'QuickPath', WhatsApp-style profile pictures in Messages, and souped-up Health features including hearing health monitoring and period tracking.
iOS 13 will be available to developers from today, with a public beta launching later this month. A full release will likely take place in September, alongside the launch of the iPhone 11, though Apple has confirmed that it won't be available on the iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus, nor the recently replaced sixth-generation iPod Touch. µ
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