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Apple's iOS 13 is now available for your iPhone or iPod touch

Apple has released iOS 13 to the public, following a lengthy beta-testing period, with the milestone operating system now downloadable to iPhones and the iPod touch, bringing with features including faster performance, an improved Reminders app, and the long-awaited 'Dark Mode.'

Released after eight rounds of the beta-testing process, iOS 13 can be installed via the iPhone or iPod touch's Settings app, selecting General, then Software Update, selecting to install the update, then entering the PIN set up for the device. For those with automatic updates enabled, the update will download to the device, which will then provide a notification when it is ready to install.

Owners of the iPad and iPad Pro will not be able to upgrade to iOS 13. Instead, those devices will be able to use iPadOS, a version of the operating system with features geared towards the larger display.

At its announcement at WWDC 2019 in June, iOS 13 was billed as having a number of major updates, including a new Dark Mode that shifts the operating system's general color scheme to one that is much darker. At the same time, apps that have their own Dark Mode settings will have them enabled, making it so most apps a user sees will be dark by default if it is set in the operating system.

Another major change is an increased level of privacy offered by "Sign In with Apple," an authentication method for apps that allows users to set up accounts and confirm their identity, but without using the usual Google and Facebook sign-in options. Apple's version minimizes the amount of user data required for the app account to be set up, reducing the possibility of users being tracked by third-party services and enhancing security.

For performance, Face ID will be able to unlock 30% faster, while app downloads will be up to 50% smaller with 60% smaller updates, and the app launch speed can be up to twice as fast as found in previous iOS versions.

Apple's apps are also undergoing a redesign, with new versions of Reminders, Health, and Apple Books arriving alongside a revamped Apple Maps. For FaceTime, Apple has added an "Attention Correction" feature that changes where the participants are "looking," so they digitally "look" at the camera instead of down from it.

Fans of Memoji will be able to take advantage of a new sticker pack, one that uses the personalized avatars in a number of predefined emoji-style ways that can be added to iMessage communications.

While many features appearing in the betas will be available for use, Apple is already publicly working on items to add in iOS 13.1. In an unusual move, Apple started the beta testing process for iOS 13.1 in late August, well ahead of the release of iOS 13 itself, with that update anticipated for an official release to the public on September 30.

The iPad counterpart to iOS, iPadOS, will also be available to install on September 30.