Restore Missing iPhone Features With The iOS 13.1 Beta

Photo: David Murphy

iOS 13.0 isn’t even out yet and it’s already time to start testing iOS 13.1. If you’re enrolled in Apple’s public beta, then you have an update waiting for you that will officially bring your device to iOS 13.1. It’s absolutely worth checking out, as iOS 13.1 adds back a number of features that Apple removed from various versions of iOS 13.

Here’s a quick look at what you can look forward to if you opt into the iOS 13.1 beta test:

Shortcut automations have returned

Screenshot: David Murphy

It was annoying that these dropped out of the picture somewhere around beta 5 of iOS 13 (if I’m right), because being able to automate your shortcuts is an incredibly useful premise. For example, you can have your smart lights turn on (or off) if you connect or disconnect from CarPlay—or, for that matter, when you join your house’s wifi. I like this setup even more than geofencing (which tends to trigger whenever I’m driving on roads near my house, but not going to my house).

Screenshot: David Murphy

There are plenty of different automation triggers you can pick from, and you bet I’m going to be playing with most of them for all sorts of wacky shortcuts. I missed you, Automation tab; never leave us again.

Siri parameters now work

I’m looking forward to a lot of app developers having fun with this feature. Basically, when you ask Siri to do something, you’ll now be able to receive customised responses—allowing you to provide more detail or context—if you weren’t specific enough in your original statement. For example:

I’ll give Spotify a million dollars if they enable this feature for their app. Right now, Spotify picks whatever song, album, or playlist it thinks I want from my request (if a number of albums are similarly named, for example). I’d much rather have a list of options to choose from in the case of ambiguity, if that’s even possible to do using Siri parameters.

Updated dynamic wallpapers

Buh-bam. Behold the full assortment:

Screenshot: David Murphy
Screenshot: David Murphy

Share your driving ETA...again

Activate driving directions in Apple Maps, and then swipe up from the small grey bar above the minutes and miles—not the giant white bar at the bottom of your phone—and you’ll once again see the option to share your ETA with friends. Activate it, and they’ll get automatic texts when you’re nearing your destination, a feature I loved in iOS 13 and was sad to see removed (even temporarily).

Screenshot: David Murphy

Share audio across two Bluetooth headsets at once

We’ve covered this feature previously, so here’s a quick recap. If you have a particular device running iOS 13.1—pretty much an iPhone 8 or newer, or one of a variety of iPads—you can share audio between two different Bluetooth headsets at once. However, that list is limited to just Apple’s AirPods or the Beats by Dre Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones. Pair both in your BlueTooth settings and they’ll both be able to hear the same audio from the same device.

Photo: Apple

You might be able to install alternative fonts soon

Tap on Settings > General > Fonts, and you’ll see this curious prompt:

Screenshot: David Murphy

We’re intrigued. We might be only weeks away from being able to slap Comic Sans across our iPhones, right?

Right-click a connected mouse to activate a long press or 3D Touch

First, set up a mouse that you can use to control your iOS device—available via Settings > Accessibility > Touch > AssistiveTouch, enabling AssistiveTouch, and then tapping on “Devices” under “Pointer Devices” and picking a Bluetooth mouse. You’ll now be able to assign a 3D Touch or a long press to your right mouse button.


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