This fall, Apple is releasing major software updates for all its hardware brands – iOS 13, iPadOS 13, watchOS 6, tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina — to customers. Here's what you can expect from Apple's upcoming major software releases.

iOS 13

iOS 13 is finally going dark! With the fall update, you'll be able to switch between dark and light themes across iOS and even select a dynamic theme, which will change from dark to night, depending on the time of day. Apple Maps is also getting some improvements, the biggest of which is "Look Around, which is like Street View on steroids. We've got some security changes with Sign In with Apple and HomeKit Secure Video. In iOS 13, you can make your own Memoji stickers (even if you don't have a device with Face ID. There are major changes to the user interface of the Photos app. AirPods (first and second generation) get Siri improvements and audio sharing and HomePod supports multiple user accounts. Voice Control, an accessibility feature, is a mind-blowing update to VoiceOver that lets users navigate their devices with voice commands. Speaking of accessibility, iPhone and iPad will get mouse and trackpad support, but don't go crazy. It's called "Pointing device" and is intended to be a precision pointer for accessibility needs.

There's so much more coming in iOS 13 that we can't even list everything here. We've got a comprehensive list of what's coming in the update below.

iPadOS 13

What's that? A new operating system? That's right. The iPad has grown so much in its short existence that Apple decided it needed a dedicated interface. It's based on iOS, but has it's own layers that make it a unique experience that can only be done on an iPad. It's not a big iPod touch anymore! What's special about iPadOS? How about multiple apps in Split View and apps in multiple spaces. It's not a multi-window experience the way you'd get it on Mac or PC, but its about as close as you can get, designed for iPad. You can pin widgets to your Home screen, there's a new set of tools for Apple Pencil and developers can create their own tools for their apps. Cut/copy/pasting has a whole new experience with three-finger pinching and spreading to "pick up" a section of text and then "dropping it" in a new location. For those wanting more storage or a faster way to transfer photos on the go, iPadOS 13 supports connecting an external hard drive, and yes, that covers iPads with a Lightning port. And yes, those do exist.

What's new in iPadOS 13

macOS Catalina (10.15)

The real winners of the upcoming update to macOS are developers. With Catalyst, mobile developers will be able to easier transform their iOS apps to Mac and only have to make minor adjustments so that their iOS app makes sense on Mac. No more building from the ground up here. In macOS Catalina, Apple is splitting iTunes up into multiple apps, similar to how it works on iOS. Your music library will move to the Music app, your movies and TV show library will move to the TV app, and your podcast library will move to the Podcast app. Apple also added Screen Time to the Mac, including the ability to implement some pretty strict parental controls. My favorite new feature coming in macOS Catalina is Sidecar, which allows you to turn your iPad into a second screen, wirelessly! Many of the new features coming to iOS 13 are also coming to macOS Catalina, like Voice Control, the combined Find My app, Sign in with Apple, and a whole lot more.

watchOS 6

All models of Apple Watch (except "series zero") will support watchOS 6, which will give us a calculator, new health tracking for women, a hearing health app called Noise, and an on-board Watch App Store (no more going to your iPhone to download new apps). The Activity app gets some new features to help you track your progress over time and makes you aware of times when you're under-performing. Oh, and let's not forget the new Watch faces that really make your Apple Watch look like a new accessory.

tvOS 13

The new features coming to tvOS 13 this fall may seem like small potatoes compared to what's coming to the other operating systems, but it's got it where it counts. For example, Apple TV will support multiple user accounts so each person in your family can set up their home screen just the way they want it, with apps and games customized to their own preferences. With Apple Arcade coming to Apple TV in the fall, we're also getting major game controller news with official support for the Xbox Wireless Controller and the Playstation DualShock 4 controller. Apple TV's fancy screensaver is going underwater in tvOS 13 with some relaxing ocean shots from the BBC's Blue Planet.

Anything you want to know about?

Let us know in the comments.

Updated June 2019 Added the latest information on Apple's upcoming software releases.

WWDC 2019


WWDC 2018

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