Here are some of the best hidden but useful features coming to your iPhone this fall

Key Points
  • IOS 13 will be available for your iPhone this fall, but you can already try it with the new public beta.
  • There are lots of big features, like dark mode, but also hidden ones that are really useful.
  • Here are a few of the best hidden features.
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on June 03, 2019 in San Jose, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Apple has 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 hot spot with family

Automatically share your phone's data hotspot with family members in iOS 13.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

If you pay for a data plan with hot spot 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 hot spot. This can help you save money if you have just one person on your cellular account with a hot spot 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 hot spot, they can now use it automatically.

Use the new swipe keyboard

You can swipe across the keyboard to type by default in iOS 13.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

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

Play games with a PS4 or Xbox One controller in iOS 13.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

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

Stream lyrics as they're sung in iOS 13.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

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, as 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

Choose a Wi-Fi network from Control Center in iOS 13.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

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

Share your ETA from Apple Maps in iOS 13.
Todd Haselton | CNBC

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 knew 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 should fix them before the final version rolls out in the fall.

Watch everything Apple announced at its WWDC keynote, in 280 seconds
Apple's WWDC keynote, in 280 seconds