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The 5 Best Free VPNs for the iPhone


A virtual private network (VPN) can help you stay safe on untrusted networks, which are increasingly common. For example, while the Wi-Fi in your favorite coffee shop or shopping center may be free, you certainly can’t trust it. The problem is that good VPNs don’t come cheap.

Whether you’re not sure if a VPN is right for you, or you’d rather not spend the money, you may be looking for a free VPN for your iPhone. This can especially come in handy if you only need to use a VPN on rare occasions. Let’s look at the best free VPNs for iPhone to see what you should download.

What Do You Need in a VPN?

Most people use VPNs for security reasons, but that’s not the only benefit. These can also help you access TV shows or sports programming that isn’t available due to geographical restrictions.

A VPN can also help you save money. Online retailers, including airlines, are known to charge more or less depending on your location. Spoofing a location other than your own can help you save significantly, depending on what you’re shopping for.

In order to choose the best free VPN for your iPhone, you need to know how you plan to use it. To help figure out exactly what you need, we’ve gathered some of the best reasons to use a VPN

11 Reasons Why You Need a VPN and What It Is

11 Reasons Why You Need a VPN and What It Is

Virtual private networks can protect your privacy. We explain what exactly they do and why you should use a VPN.
Read More

. Review that before browsing the below options.

1. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield on different devices

It’s hard to call the absolute best free VPN for iPhone, but Hotspot Shield is definitely a contender. This VPN is fast, private, and has one of the most generous limits for free users of any of the services we’ve found.

Using the completely free version, you can connect up to five different devices to the VPN. It has a bandwidth limit of 500MB per day, or 15GB per month. This probably isn’t enough to do all your browsing over the VPN, but it will cover you in plenty of cases.

On the downside, you’re limited to connecting to just a few VPN server locations that Hotspot Shield chooses for you. You also need to put up with ads and a seven-day trial of the Premium version before you can use the free version exclusively.

Download: Hotspot Shield (Free, subscription available)

2. TunnelBear

The TunnelBear logo

TunnelBear is another popular option when it comes to free VPNs for iPhone users. That said, after using it for a bit, you may find that you’d rather opt for the paid version. It’s relatively affordable and offers some significant upgrades over the free version.

The main issue with the free version is that you’re limited to 500MB of traffic per month. This contrasts sharply with Hotspot Shield, mentioned above; with TunnelBear you get 500MB per month, not per day. That said, if you just need to protect yourself on public Wi-Fi occasionally, that may be all you need.

TunnelBear tracks very little data about its users, which is reassuring if you’re privacy-minded. You don’t even need to supply your first name to sign up.

Download: TunnelBear (Free, subscription available)

3. Speedify

Hide.me uses multiple connections for speed

A notorious side effect of VPNs is that they slow down your browsing speed. Much of this reputation is actually from the old days, when people primarily used VPNs to remote into their corporate network. Still, the encryption today’s VPNs use can slow down your connection at times.

As you may guess from the name, Speedify aims to ensure that your VPN connection is as fast as possible. Speedify will use your Wi-Fi connection as well as your phone’s LTE, working together in tandem to maximize speed. The service also provides up to 5GB of data transfer per month using the free version, though that will eventually drop down to 1GB as you use the service.

If you’re after privacy and performance, Speedify may be the best VPN app for iPhone, at least for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to bypass geographical restrictions for streaming services, you should look elsewhere.

Download: Speedify (Free, subscription available)

4. ProtonVPN

ProtonVPN is from the ProtoMail people

If you’re looking for the best free unlimited VPN for iPhone, ProtonVPN is a strong contender. Unlike some of the other options on this list, you’re not restricted on how much data you can use. That’s not to say there are zero restrictions, however.

Instead of limiting how much data you can consume, ProtonVPN limits free users to a single device. If you’re looking for a free VPN app only for your iPhone, that’s fine. Bu if you need something to use across multiple devices, this could be a problem.

ProtonVPN comes from the same people that bring you secure email service ProtonMail, so you can sure that security is a major focus of this app. That said, its free version isn’t the best for getting around geo-restrictions, since you can only choose from three locations.

Download: ProtonVPN (Free, subscription available)

5. Hide.me

Hide.me emphasizes privacy

Like ProtonVPN, Hide.me restricts you to a single device instead of putting limits on how much data you’re allotted. This means it’s another contender for the best free unlimited VPN for iPhone users.

As the name implies, Hide.me is meant for privacy-conscious folks. It’s not just available for iPhone users either; you can download apps for Windows, Mac, and Android as well. That said, as the free version limits you to a single device, this probably won’t do you much good.

While it’s appreciated that there are no ads or speed throttling, the service imposes some other restrictions. For your location, you’re restricted to Singapore, Canada, or the Netherlands. Paid users, on the other hand, have the option to choose from 30 different countries for their virtualized location.

Download: Hide.me (Free, subscription available)

What About Other VPN Providers?

You might find that you connect to untrusted networks with your iPhone often. But you shouldn’t forget about protecting your traffic on other devices, too. Most of these free iPhone VPN apps are cross-platform, but as some limit you to a single device, they aren’t the best for those who use multiple platforms.

Remember that if you can afford it, we recommend paid VPNs over free options

4 Reasons a Paid VPN Is Better Than Free Ones

4 Reasons a Paid VPN Is Better Than Free Ones

I used to be big fan of free VPNs. Why pay when free alternatives exist, right? But it turns out they’re selling you short. So here’s why paid VPNs always beat free VPNs.
Read More

because they offer greater security and more features. Take a look at ExpressVPN, which we recommend for its performance and privacy. It’s also available on all major OSes.

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8 Alternative iPhone Apps Better Than Apple Reminders

Apple clearly put a lot of work into upgrading the Reminders app for iPadOS and iOS 13. They gave it an all-new design, better natural language recognition, subtasks, shared lists, and a quick toolbar for adding new items. It’s a huge improvement!

But plenty of other task management apps are already just as good, if not better. Many work across Android and Windows devices and you can get a range of features that are missing from Apple Reminders entirely.

Here are the best alternative task management apps, along with the unique features that make them great.

1. Create a Fluid Day Plan With Microsoft To Do

Microsoft To Do integrates with Microsoft 365 to sync your tasks from Outlook. You can share entire lists or individual items with other people, set recurring reminders or due dates, and break down projects into manageable subtasks. What’s more, Microsoft To Do is completely free.

What makes it really special is the My Day feature. Use this page to choose what you want to focus on today. Microsoft To Do intelligently suggests items with upcoming due dates or incomplete tasks you recently worked on, so nothing falls through the cracks.

Download: Microsoft To Do (Free)

2. Stay Focused on Tasks With MinimaList

If you’re a fan of simple to-do list apps,

6 Utterly Simple To-Do List Apps for iPhone

6 Utterly Simple To-Do List Apps for iPhone

Need a to-do list app for your iPhone but want to keep it simple? Here are some great minimalist to-do list apps for iOS.
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you’re going to love MinimaList. The clean design is possible thanks to a set of intuitive gestures for managing tasks. Swipe left to delete, right to mark as done, down to add new tasks, or up to view your settings.

The lack of distractions is enhanced by a built-in Focus Timer, inspired by the Pomodoro Technique. This feature is geared towards boosting your productivity. Tap any task to start a timer for 25 minutes of uninterrupted work. If you don’t complete the task in that time, take a five-minute break and try again.

Download: MinimaList (Free, premium version available)

3. View Your Tasks in a Calendar With Any.do

Any.do is a powerful task manager with a huge host of available features. Get reminders when you need them, collaborate to get things done, add tasks or items straight from your email inbox, or use voice entry to quickly add new tasks on the go.

The best part of Any.do is its Calendar View. Sync your calendar from iCloud, Google, or Outlook and view your to-do list alongside scheduled events. Any.do intelligently plans your day by suggesting tasks to complete in your free time. You can even get an overview of the upcoming month.

Download: Any.do (Free, subscription available)

4. Review Your Productivity With Todoist

Todoist is one of the most popular Apple Reminders alternatives. Create new tasks using natural language and add them to projects with hashtags. Set recurring due dates, delegate items to different people, and assign color-coded priorities for better organization.

The Productivity Chart in Todoist reveals where you’ve spent your time. This bar chart fills up as you complete tasks, measuring your progress against a daily goal you set for yourself. At a glance, it’s clear to see which projects you spent the most time on, allowing you to check your priorities.

Download: Todoist (Free, subscription available)

5. Empty Your Thoughts Into an Inbox With Wunderlist

Many features that are new to Apple Reminders are already in available Wunderlist. Break down projects into subtasks, group similar lists together, add more detail with comments or attachments, and view your daily or weekly tasks in a smart list.

One simple feature Wunderlist has that’s missing from Apple Reminders is an Inbox. This gives you a way to clear your head. Add stray thoughts to the Inbox so you don’t forget about them, making it easy to stay focused on the task at hand.

Download: Wunderlist (Free)

6. Add Context Tags to Your Tasks With OmniFocus 3

OmniFocus 3 is an incredibly feature-rich task management app for Apple devices, designed around the Getting Things Done productivity system. You can keep track of all the projects in your life by assigning priorities, creating subtasks, scheduling reminders, and reviewing your actions.

What’s unique is your ability to add Tags to tasks. You might create tags for people, places, or your own energy levels. The next time you’re feeling drained, check your items with the “Low Energy” tag to find all the stuff you can still get done.

Download: OmniFocus 3 (Free trial, premium version or subscription required)

7. Separate Your Tasks Using Headings With Things 3

Things 3 is an award-winning alternative to Apple Reminders. It lets you view tasks alongside calendar events, add checklists or reminders to items, group projects into different folders, and organize your day in the Today list. Things 3 even shows a handy pie chart of your progress next to each project.

Using the Magic Plus Button in the bottom-right corner of the app, you can separate tasks under Headings or add new items exactly where you want them in a list. All you need to do is drag and drop the button where you want it to go.

Download: Things 3 ($6.99)

8. Gamify Your Productivity With Habitica

Habitica is a wildly different app to everything else on this list. It uses pixel art, cool gear, and experience points to gamify your productivity. Set yourself daily habits, long-term goals, and standard projects for work or school. You get points as you complete tasks, which you can use to level up your character and buy new accessories.

It’s fun to work through your to-do list with Habitica, especially since it encourages you to reward yourself for achieving tough goals. Collaborate with others to tackle large assignments in the form of boss fights and add friends to weaponize social pressure against yourself.

Download: Habitica (Free, subscription or in-app purchases available)

Don’t Sacrifice Functionality for Continuity

One of the big fears with third-party apps is a lack of continuity across your devices. Apple is great at syncing reminders from your iPhone to your Mac, but you shouldn’t give up on extra features for that benefit alone. Especially when there are also plenty of Mac apps that are better than Apple Reminders

10 Mac Reminder Apps That Outperform Apple Reminders

10 Mac Reminder Apps That Outperform Apple Reminders

Looking for some Mac reminder apps that beat Apple Reminders? These alternatives provide more features and help you keep track of all your tasks.
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5 iPhone and iPad Gaming Options to Supercharge How You Play

Your iPhone is always in your pocket when you want to play a game to kill a few minutes. But do you actually enjoy the mobile games you play?

From freemium nonsense that makes you pay up or wait hours, to lousy games that aren’t fun in the first place, iOS gaming has some issues. But if you know where to look, there’s a treasure trove of great gaming content available for your iPhone or iPad.

There’s Never Been a Better Time for iOS Gaming

Apple never appeared to hold gaming as a priority across any of its platforms. This has always been especially true for iOS. However, everything has changed with the release of iOS 13.

In the past, you could use a controller with your iPhone or iPad, but it only worked with certified Made for iPhone (MFi) models. Because of this, few games bothered to support controllers.

Now you can pair PlayStation 4 or Xbox One controllers, meaning you don’t need a specific controller for iOS. We have a guide to pairing your controllers with iOS 13

How to Connect a Game Controller to Your iPad or iPhone

How to Connect a Game Controller to Your iPad or iPhone

Here’s how to connect a PS4 or Xbox One controller to iPhone, plus the best alternative game controllers for iOS.
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to help you get started.

That’s not all, however. With the arrival of iOS 13, Apple took another major step forward in gaming on all of its platforms. Let’s look at it and other essential options that make iOS gaming better than ever.

1. Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade represents the company diving headlong into supporting gaming on its platforms. For a monthly fee, you get access to an entire library of games. These are available on your iPhone or iPad, as well as on your Apple TV or a Mac running macOS Catalina or later.

All these games feature controller support on macOS or Apple TV. And while not all of them work with controllers on iOS, the vast majority of them do. Games range from the wacky What the Golf? to arcade gems like Chu Chu Rocket! Universe to more serious games like Overland.

In the weeks following its release, a handful of new games arrived on the service regularly. Even better, these are standalone games with no paid expansions or in-app purchases.

Apple Arcade costs $4.99 per month which, at least right now, seems like a decent value. There is no commitment, so you can cancel any time you want. Get started with the free month-long trial to decide if the service is for you.

Visit: Apple Arcade

2. Steam Link

Steam Link initializing

Valve’s Steam Link has been available on Android for some time now. Valve planned to bring the app to iOS at the same time; though after a delay of roughly a year, it was easy to doubt if it would ever appear.

After what seemed like forever, Steam Link is now available for iOS. Just like the physical Steam Link device, this lets you stream PC games to your iPhone or iPad. You shouldn’t count on playing games outside your home, but if you want to kick back on the couch with Stellaris, this is a great way to do so.

Getting started with Steam Link is easy. Download the app and you’re a few simple steps away. For more in-depth instructions, see our guide to getting the Steam Link app up and running. The instructions focus on Android, but the process is very similar on iOS.

Download: Steam Link (Free)

3. PS4 Remote Play

Most people don’t consider the PlayStation Vita a shining star of Sony’s hardware lineup, but it did have one major perk: Remote Play. This let you play PS3 and PS4 games on the Vita as if they were handheld titles. Sony has recognized how cool this is, as the company has brought Remote Play not just to Windows and Mac, but also mobile devices.

You can use the PS4 Remote Play app with touchscreen controls, but you’ll have better results if you use a controller. PS4 owners already have a DualShock 4, so you don’t need to worry about buying any other hardware.

Using an iPad is ideal for this, as a bigger screen will work better. Still, using an iPhone is acceptable, especially if you’re just using it as a companion app. As you’d expect, a fast and stable Wi-Fi connection will provide the best results here.

I’ve used this a fair amount since the release of iOS 13 and it works surprisingly well. Playing Destiny 2 on an iPad feels strange, but it’s convenient if someone else is using the TV your PS4 is hooked up to.

Download: PS4 Remote Play (Free)

4. Retro Game Collections

Sonic the Hedgehog main screen

If you don’t want to stream console or PC games or sign up for Apple Arcade, you’re not stuck playing free-to-play nightmares. You can find some decent versions of classic games available on your iPhone or iPad as well.

SNK, Sega, and other companies have made single games—or in some cases, collections of games—available on mobile platforms. On Sega’s App Store page, you can download Sonic the Hedgehog and other well-known Genesis games, while several of SNK’s Metal Slug titles are available in a single compilation.

Most of these games support MFi controllers, so with iOS 13, they’ll work with your PS4 or Xbox One controllers as well.

Download: Sonic The Hedgehog Classic (Free)
Download: Gunstar Heroes Classic (Free)
Download: Metal Slug Pack ($7.99)

5. Jailbreaking and Emulators

Game emulation is one of the areas where Android users have an advantage over iPhone owners. On Android, you have your pick of different emulators in the Google Play Store, and you can always sideload more if you wish.

Technically, emulators are available via the Apple App Store, but these run behind the retro games mentioned above. If you want full access to emulators so you can run the game of your choice, you’ll have to jailbreak your iPhone.

Apple doesn’t make it easy to jailbreak your iPhone, because the company doesn’t want you to. This is also beyond the scope of this article, as changes to iOS often make jailbreak methods obsolete. Still, if you’ve got an old iPhone you want to turn into a gaming machine, this is worth keeping in mind.

Don’t want to jailbreak? Try the workaround methods in our guide to emulating retro games on your iPhone

How to Play Pokemon & Emulate Other Games on Your iPhone or iPad

How to Play Pokemon & Emulate Other Games on Your iPhone or iPad

Pokemon GO has given Nintendo’s franchise a new lease of life, but it’s not the only way you can play Pokemon on your iPhone.
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The Future of iOS Gaming: Fewer iOS Games?

If the options we’ve looked at here prove anything, it’s that more and more gaming is moving into the cloud. With upcoming platforms like Microsoft’s Project xCloud, it’s likely that we’ll see more of this. The good news for mobile gaming is that this will probably result in more console-quality games in our pockets.

For more excellent titles, check out the best offline games for iPhone and iPad

The 12 Best Offline Games for iPhone and iPad to Play Without Data or Wi-Fi

The 12 Best Offline Games for iPhone and iPad to Play Without Data or Wi-Fi

Here are the best offline games for iPhone and iPad. Who says you internet access to play games on your iOS device?
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Which iPhone Is Best for You? Find the Right iPhone for Your Needs

If you’re thinking about buying an iPhone, you have several models to consider. Apple offers smartphones of various sizes and capabilities, so you might have trouble deciding between all of them.

We’re here to help you find the best iPhone for you.

The Best iPhone for Most People:
iPhone 11

iPhone 11

iPhone 11

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Apple’s tagline for the iPhone 11 is that is contains just the right amount of everything, which sums the device up well. It’s the successor to the iPhone XR, though you might not be able to tell the visual difference between the devices at first. Its 6.1-inch LCD screen is essentially identical to the earlier device, matching the display’s 1792×828 resolution.

The company’s A13 Bionic chip powers the phone, which is beloved for its power management, resulting in longer battery life. Apple claims you’ll get up to 17 hours of local video playback on a single charge. When it’s time to recharge, the device supports wireless charging and fast-charge with an 18W adapter.

While the iPhone 11 has one fewer camera than the iPhone 11 Pro, it’s no slouch in the photography department. The phone has two 12MP cameras, one of which is ultra-wide. It includes Night Mode too, which improves photographs taken in low light and launched alongside the phone. On the video side, you can capture shots in 4K at 60FPS. The iPhone 11 also introduces slofies, Apple’s term for slow-motion video selfies.

The iPhone 11’s aluminum build has the distinction of being available in many colors, including purple, yellow, green, and red. You can pick from 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. And its IP68 resistance means it can survive a 30-minute bath in 6.5 feet of water.

The device has all the features you’d expect out of a modern iPhone. These include Face ID to unlock your device via facial recognition, support for Apple Pay, and advanced camera processing. It’s the best iPhone overall, and buying the latest model means you’ll get iOS updates for years to come.

The Best iPhone for Photographers:
iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro

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As the name suggests, the iPhone 11 Pro is Apple’s premium offering. It builds on the iPhone 11, offering a three-camera system, slightly better battery life, and a stainless steel body. The standout reason to buy the iPhone 11 Pro is certainly its cameras. It packs everything the iPhone 11 camera setup offers, including night mode and the wide and ultra-wide cameras.

In addition, the Pro model includes a telephoto camera, which is ideal for zoomed-in shots. It also shoots in 4K at 60FPS, with new editing tools so you tweak your shots right on your device. The handy QuickTake feature lets you switch from snapping photos to taking videos in an instant.

The device is impressive aside from the camera, too. It features a 5.8-inch 2436×1125 OLED display, which can display true blacks by turning off pixels. Additionally, the iPhone 11 Pro’s HDR screen is capable of brighter output than the iPhone 11.

You can choose from 64GB, 256GB, or a huge 512GB of storage. It’s available in gold, space gray, silver, and midnight green colors. As for water and dust resistance, while it’s also rated at IP68, it is protected at double the depth of the iPhone 11, at just over 13 feet.

Since the iPhone 11 Pro is a big step up in price from the iPhone 11, we recommend it only for smartphone photography enthusiasts. Its improved display and higher hardware quality are great too, but you probably won’t get your money’s worth if you don’t regularly take photos.

The Best iPhone for Phablet Lovers:
iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

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Like the idea of the iPhone 11, but want a bigger device? The iPhone 11 Pro Max is for you. Aside from the screen size, it’s mostly identical to the iPhone 11 Pro mentioned above.

Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro’s 5.67-inch height and 2.81-inch width, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is 6.22 inches tall and 3.06 inches wide. The device also weighs 7.97 ounces, compared to 6.63 ounces for the iPhone 11 Pro.

This larger body hosts a massive 6.5-inch screen, which has a resolution of 2688×1242. Because of the proportionally larger size, though, both the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have the same 458 pixels-per-inch.

A larger device means more room for a battery, too. Apple boasts that the iPhone 11 Pro Max has the best battery life of any iPhone, lasting up to five hours more than the iPhone XS Max. It can achieve up to 20 hours of local video playback and includes an 18W adapter for fast charging.

Those are the only differences in the Pro and Pro Max models, aside from a higher price for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. If you like a big phone and don’t mind spending a lot, this is the iPhone for you. Just make sure you can hold it and fit it in your pocket or bag comfortably!

The Best Budget iPhone:
iPhone 8

iPhone 8

iPhone 8

Buy Now On Amazon

If you’re after a mid-range iPhone without breaking the bank, give the iPhone 8 a look. This device launched in 2017 alongside the iPhone X, and is the last iPhone without the new all-screen design. It also still uses Touch ID instead of Face ID.

The iPhone 8 features a 4.7-inch display and has Apple’s A11 Bionic chip. Its camera isn’t as high-performance as the newer models, as it only includes a single camera on the back. However, it’s still respectable and offers 4K and 1080p video recording at 60FPS.

You can pick from silver, space gray, and gold colors, with 64GB or 128GB of storage. The device is water-resistant up to just over three feet, and Apple says it gets about 13 hours of battery life during video playback.

While the iPhone 8 is a few years old, it’s still compatible with Apple Pay and the Apple Card. It’s a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot or don’t like the design of newer iPhone models. The larger iPhone 8 Plus is another choice, especially if you’re after a bigger device with dual cameras.

The Best Affordable iPhone:
iPhone XR

iPhone XR

iPhone XR

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Apple still sells the iPhone XR, which launched in 2018 as a cheaper alternative to the iPhone XS. As it turns out, this device is in a bit of a strange place now.

It’s more expensive than the iPhone 8, meaning it’s not the best budget option. However, it’s not much cheaper compared to the iPhone 11. If you can spare the extra money, it’s usually a good idea to get the newest device, so you enjoy the longest software support.

However, the iPhone XR is still a solid choice if it fits your needs. It has a newer-generation chip compared to the iPhone 8 and boasts a better battery life. The iPhone XR also has the front-facing TrueDepth camera for Face ID and improved selfies. Apple claims its battery lasts 16 hours while watching video.

If you’ve considered the latest devices but found they don’t suit your needs, buying the XR lets you save a bit while still getting a modern phone. It has some enhancements over the iPhone 8, especially the new look. You might also be able to find it used or refurbished for an even better price.

The Best iPhone for You

The five iPhones we’ve covered are some of the best Apple has to offer. Of course, they also sell other models that might work for you. Most people will be best off with one of the devices in this list, but you might find something you enjoy in Apple’s full range, too.

These include the iPhone X, iPhone XS, or even the older iPhone SE. Just remember that older devices will stop receiving iOS updates sooner.

Apple’s devices are expensive, especially compared to Android-based smartphones. If you want to stay with an iOS device, and save some money, check out the best places to buy a refurbished iPhone

The 3 Best Places to Buy a Used or Refurbished iPhone

The 3 Best Places to Buy a Used or Refurbished iPhone

Want to get a great deal on a used iPhone? Here are the best retailers for buying a used or refurbished iPhone.
Read More


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How to Save a Website as a PDF on iPhone and iPad

Full-page screenshot editor on an iPhone running iOS 13.
Khamosh Pathak

It’s handy to save websites and articles as PDFs so you can read them later. Here’s how you can quickly generate a PDF on your iPhone or iPad, and then save it with a service like Pocket.

How to Save a Full-Page Screenshot as a PDF

In iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and newer, you can take a full-page screenshot of a website in Safari and save it as a PDF in the Files app.

There are two notable points about this new method:

  1. The PDF generates as one continuous page without any page breaks.
  2. Instead of a regular PDF, with an A4 page width, the PDF is the same width as the iPhone or iPad on which you’re viewing it.

If you want to generate a cleaner PDF of the page—without the ads and formatting—switch to Reader Mode first. To do this, tap and hold “AA” in the upper-left corner, and then tap it again to customize the text layout.

Tap and hold "AA" in Safari.

Open the website on your iPhone or iPad and take a screenshot. If you have an iPhone X-style device with a notch, or an iPad Pro with Face ID, press and hold the “Side” and “Volume Up” buttons together until you see the screenshot animation.

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad with a Home button, press it, along with the “Power/Sleep” button to take a screenshot.

You see a little screenshot preview in the bottom-left corner—tap it.

Tap the screenshot preview.
Khamosh Pathak

You’re now in the screenshot editor. Tap “Full Page.”

Tap "Full Page."

Now, the whole page appears. You can use the scrollbar at the right edge of the screen to navigate. Because you’re in the screenshot editing screen, the entire annotation suite is available to you. You can doodle over the PDF or use arrows to highlight sections.

You can either save the PDF to the Files app or export it to any app of your choice. To save it to the Files app, tap “Done.”

Tap the Share button to export the PDF to an app, or "Done" to save it to the Files app.

In the popup, tap “Save PDF to Files.”

Tap "Save PDF to Files."

Next, select the location in which you want to save the PDF; you can choose the local drive, external storage, or a cloud storage account. After you select the location, tap “Save.”

Choose the folder, and then tap "Save."

If you want to send the PDF to an app—as an attachment in the Mail or Books apps, for example—tap the Share button (the box with an upward-pointing arrow). Select the app to which you want to send the PDF.

RELATED: The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now

How to Save a Website as a PDF From the Share Sheet

If you prefer a more traditional method to save a website as a PDF, you can find it in the Share Sheet. This method creates the familiar, paginated PDF in the A4 size.

In iOS 13, iPadOS 13, and above, a new option allows you to choose between a regular PDF and a Reader PDF.

Open the page in Safari and tap the Share button.

Tap the Share button in Safari.

At the top of the Share Sheet, you see the title of the page; just below it, tap “Options.”

Tap "Options" in the Share Sheet.

If necessary, switch to the “Reader PDF” option to create a stripped-down version of the webpage. If you plan to read a long article on your iPad, this is the best option.

After you select the PDF option you want, tap “Done.”

Select the PDF option you want, and then tap "Done."

You now return to the Share Sheet. Here, tap “Save to Files.”

Tap "Save to Files."

Next, select the output folder, and then tap “Save.”

Choose the folder, and then tap "Save."

You can now go to the Files app and tap the file to preview it. Tap the “Share” button to open the PDF in the Apple Books app or a third-party PDF reader.

A saved PDF in the Files app on an iPad.

How to Save a Website as a PDF From Any Brower Using Shortcuts

If you use a third-party browser, you don’t have the same PDF creation options you do in Safari. However, you can use a shortcut called “Make PDF.” This shortcut creates a PDF using a URL from any app.

Open the Shortcuts app on your iPhone or iPad and tap “Gallery.”

Tap "Gallery."

Here, tap the “Search” field, and then type, “Make PDF.”

Tap the "Search" field.

Tap the plus sign (+) next to the “Make PDF” option.

Tap the plus sign next to the "Make PDF" option.

Tap “Add Shortcut.”

Tap "Add Shortcut."

The shortcut is added to your Gallery, and it appears directly in the Share Sheet if your device runs iOS 13, iPadOS 13, or above. If your device runs iOS 12 or below, tap “Run Shortcut” in the actions bar to access the shortcut.

Go to a website, and then tap the Share button.

Tap the Share button in Safari.

In the Share Sheet, scroll down and tap “Make PDF.”

Tap "Make PDF" in the Share Sheet.

You see the shortcut working. After the PDF generates, you see a preview of it. Tap the Share button.

Tap the Share button in the PDF preview.

Choose “Save to Files” to save the PDF to an iCloud Drive or local storage. You can also choose an action, like “Copy to Books,” to open the PDF directly in the Apple Books app. If you have a third-party PDF reader, you can select it.

Select where you want to save the PDF.

How to Save a Website as a PDF in iOS 12 and Earlier

If your iPhone or iPad runs iOS 12, you can use the Create PDF action to convert a website into a PDF.

Open the page in Safari and tap the Share button.

Tap the Share button in Safari.

Next, go to the Actions list (the second horizontally scrolling list) and tap “Create PDF.”

Tap "Create PDF" in the Share Sheet actions bar.

You now see the PDF preview—scroll to view the entire page, and then tap “Done.”

Tap on Done from the PDF preview page

If you want to share the PDF to a particular app, tap the Share button to open the Share Sheet. In the popup, tap “Save File To.”

Tap "Save File To" in the popup

Now, select the location where you want to save the file, and then tap “Add.”

Tap on the Add button to save the file to iCloud

The PDF is now in the location you specified. Open the Files app, and then tap the file to open or share it.

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How to Create Automations on an iPhone or iPad

The "Running Your Automation" shortcuts notification on an iPhone.
Khamosh Pathak

Apple’s Shortcuts app has been integrated directly into iOS 13 and iPadOS 13. After years of consistent improvements, you can now create trigger-free, notification-based automations on your iPhone and iPad.

How Automations Work on iPhone and iPad

Apple introduced the Shortcuts app in iOS 12. Before that, the app was sold on the App Store as Workflow.

You can ask Siri to initiate a shortcut (a predefined set of actions) or press a button on your iPhone or iPad to do it. Now, a shortcut can fire off automatically based on given parameters. It can even happen in the background and use certain external triggers, like NFC. The Shortcuts Automations feature is available on devices that run iOS 13.1 or iPadOS 13.1 and above.

However, not all shortcut automations are automatic.

By default, the automation shows a notification in which you can trigger the shortcut after you tap “Run.” Some shortcuts based on direct physical manipulation with the iPhone or iPad do run automatically (more on this below).

RELATED: What Are iPhone Shortcuts and How Do I Use Them?

How to Create an Event Automation on iPhone or iPad

You can create two kinds of Automations on your iPhone or iPad: Personal and Home. Personal automations are related to your iOS and iPadOS device. The Home automations are related to your HomeKit devices.

In this article, we focus on the Personal automations on your iPhone and iPad. Let’s take a look at the actions you can trigger.


  • Time of Day: You can trigger this at any time of day, at sunrise, or sunset.
  • Alarm: This shortcut runs when an alarm is stopped or snoozed.
  • Apple Watch Workouts: This can be triggered when a workout on your Apple Watch starts, pauses, or ends.


  • Arrive: A location-based trigger that activates when you arrive at a certain location.
  • Leave: A trigger for when you leave a certain location.
  • Before I Commute: This action tries to predict when you usually leave for work or home and triggers the shortcut at the given time, or up to an hour before you leave.
  • CarPlay: A shortcut is triggered when you connect or disconnect from CarPlay.


  • Airplane Mode, Wi-Fi, BluetoothDo Not DisturbLow Power Mode: This shortcut triggers when you turn these settings on or off.
  • NFC: With this trigger, you can tap your iPhone on an NFC sticker and run a shortcut. Modern iPhones (iPhone XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max) can run NFC shortcuts in the background.
  • Open App: This trigger runs a shortcut when you open any app.

Let’s walk through an example. Say you want to create a shortcut that plays soothing music when you open the Twitter app. Open the Shortcuts app, and then tap “Automation” in the bottom toolbar.

Tap "Automation."

Next, tap the plus sign (+) at the top. If this is the first time you’ve used the Automations feature, you can skip this step.

Tap the plus sign (+).

Here, tap “Create Personal Automation.”

Tap "Create Personal Automation."

You see the list of actions we outlined above. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap “Open App.”

Tap "Open App."

Tap “Choose” in the “App” section. Search for, and then select the app. Tap “Done” to return to the previous screen, and then tap “Next.”

Tap "Next."

Now, tap “Add Action.” You can scroll through suggested actions or explore actions based on apps and categories.

Tap "Add Action."

The best way to find an action is to search for it. Tap “Search” at the top, and then type “Play Music.”

In the “Actions” section, tap “Play Music.”

Tap "Play Music."

On the next screen, tap “Music.”

Tap "Music."

Tap the “Search” bar to find a playlist or song, or browse your library.

Tap "Library."

Browse through the list, and then tap a song or playlist to see the detailed view.

Tap the song or playlist.

Once you find the playlist or song you want, tap the plus sign (+) to select it.

Tap the plus sign (+).

Tap “Next.”

Tap "Next."

You now see the details of the automation broken into “When” and “Do” sections. As this option supports background triggers, you can toggle-On the “Ask Before Running” feature.

When you’re satisfied with the Automation, tap “Done.”

Tap "Done."

Now, when you open the Twitter app, the playlist or song you selected will play. If you didn’t enable the background trigger feature, you see a notification; tap “Run” to start the shortcut.

Tap "Run."

How to Run an Automation in the Background

You can enable most automations to work in the background. These are usually actions you control or that are a direct result of an action you perform on your iPhone or iPad.

The following types of actions support the background trigger feature (you still receive notifications about them): Alarm, Apple Watch Workouts, CarPlay, Airplane Mode, Do Not Disturb, Low Power Mode, NFC, and Open App.

If you set up Home-based automations, the following actions work in background: A Time of Day Occurs, People Arrive, People Leave, and An Accessory is Controlled. You have to enable this feature individually for every shortcut that supports it.

Select the shortcut from the Automations tab, and then toggle-On the “Ask Before Running” feature.

Tap the "Ask Before Running" toggle to enable it.

From the popup, tap “Don’t Ask.”

Tap "Don't Ask."

Now, when the shortcut is triggered, you’ll see a notification that says, “Running your automation.”

The "Running Your Automation" shortcut notification.

How to Create an NFC-Based Automation

You can use any empty NFC tag as a trigger for a shortcut. The Shortcuts app doesn’t write any data to the tag; it simply uses it as a trigger.

Newer iPhones (iPhone XS, XR, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, and newer) can use NFC tags to trigger actions even when the Shortcuts app isn’t in the foreground.

Open the Shortcuts app, and then go to the “Automations” tab. Tap the plus sign (+), tap “Create Personal Automation,” and then tap “NFC” in the list.

Note that if this is the first time you’ve used the Automations feature, you don’t have to tap the plus sign (+).

Tap "NFC."

Tap “Scan” next to the “NFC Tag” option.

Tap "Scan."

Hold the NFC tag near the top of your iPhone to scan it.

The "Ready to Scan" screen on an iPhone.

After you scan it, name the NFC tag, and then tap “Done.”

Type a name for your NFC tag.

You’re returned to the “New Automation” screen; tap “Next.”

Tap "Next."

In the “Actions” screen, tap “Add Action.”

Tap "Add Action."

Here, you can browse through the suggested actions or search for one in particular. Tap an action to select it. In this example, we’ve selected a “Send Message” action.

Tap an action in the "Suggestions" list.

In the “Actions” editor, you can configure the action parameters, like the message text. When you’re finished, tap “Next.”

Customize the action, and then tap "Next."

In the “New Automation” overview screen, make sure you toggle-On “Ask Before Running.”

Tap the "Ask Before Running" toggle to enable it.

In the popup, tap “Don’t Ask” to enable an automatic background trigger feature.

Tap "Don't Ask."

Now, simply hold your iPhone close to the NFC tag or tap the top part of your iPhone on an NFC sticker to run the shortcut.

The Automations feature in Shortcuts is just one of the many new and awesome features in iOS 13. After you upgrade, you might also want to try enabling the dark mode.

RELATED: The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now

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The 6 Best iPhone Email Apps to Organize Your Inbox

Email is a ubiquitous communications tool for pretty much every aspect of life. Unfortunately, that leads to a big fact of modern life—an overflowing email inbox.

While Apple’s stock email app is fine for an occasional message, there are other third-party apps that offer additional features to help make sense of the clutter. Take a look at these six great email organizer apps for your iPhone.

1. Spark

Instead of having to spend hours wading through a pile of new email, Spark makes it easy. Its Smart Inbox automatically categorizes your email into three categories—personal, notifications, and newsletters. That makes it much easier to recognize what’s important and what you can tackle later. Even when the app isn’t open, you can customize notifications to only see what’s truly important.

When you need to search, you can use natural language like “link from Sam sent yesterday.” The app lets you access specific search terms to use at any time, or you can create a smart folder for quicker access.

Spark integrates with a host of other apps and features including Dropbox, iCloud Drive, and more. If you come across an email that you don’t have time to reply to, you can snooze it for later. It’s also possible to compose an email and schedule it to send later, even if your iPhone is off.

What’s more, the app is built for teams and collaboration. You can create secure links to an email or conversation to share with others. Team members can also work together to compose emails in real-time.
If the app sounds like the perfect alternative email app for you, make sure to take a look at our comprehensive look at Spark.

Download: Spark (Free, subscription available)

2. Gmail

Gmail is a popular provider for both personal and work-based email accounts. So it’s probably no surprise that the official Gmail app is one of the best third-party iOS email clients.

You have a number of different options to help organize your inbox, including the ability to archive, label, and star messages. Reporting and deleting spam also just takes a few taps. Threaded conversations make it easier to view messages on the same topic.

When searching for a specific message, the app makes it easy with instant results, typing predictions, and spelling suggestions.

And if you ever send a message by mistake, the app has a handy Undo Send feature. It’s active for five seconds after sending an email.

Download: Gmail (Free)

3. Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is a stalwart of office email communication. But the app handles more than just Exchange accounts. You can use Office 365, Outlook.com, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and an iCloud inbox.

The app automatically analyzes your inbox and organizes the most important messages into a Focused Inbox. Other emails are available with just one tap. In either inbox, swipe actions allow you to delete or archive messages. You can also quickly schedule a message to tackle later.

A powerful search functionality allows you to view emails from popular contacts, the most recent files sent, and even upcoming events. When you need to attach something to an email, you can select a file from OneDrive, Dropbox, and other options without needing to download it first.

And since this is a Microsoft app, you can also quickly edit Office documents using the corresponding apps and then attach them to an email.

Download: Microsoft Outlook (Free)

4. Airmail

Airmail is a longtime staple on macOS and also makes a great iOS email client. The service offers a number of integrations with third-party apps like Fantastical, Evernote, Things, iA Writer, and many others.

When battling your inbox, you can bulk edit and use customizable swipes. The app also allows you to filter an inbox by options like unread, starred, conversation, emails received today, and more.

Since it’s compatible with Siri Shortcuts and the Shortcuts app

How to Master Siri Shortcuts and the Shortcuts App in iOS 12

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, you can search and even send an email using Apple’s personal assistant.

A subscription unlocks additional features, including the ability to use multiple accounts, sort messages, snooze email, send messages later, and more.

Download: Airmail (Free, subscription available)

5. Edison Mail

If you’re overwhelmed with promotional emails, Edison Mail is the email organizer app you need. Compatible with a wide variety of email accounts, the app allows you to unsubscribe from newsletters and more with just a single tap. Other privacy-oriented features include the ability to block read receipts and specific senders.

To further help in the fight with your inbox, it’s easy to customize the swipe options. This lets you easily access features you use most, like archiving or a custom snooze schedule.

Instead of simple notifications for new email, Edison Mail takes this even further with more details like flight notification changes and up-to-date package tracking information. The same technology organizes email into different categories for easier access.

And it’s not often that an app can save you money, but Edison Mail can. With its Price Alert feature, the app will constantly monitor your online purchase receipts from major stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Old Navy, Macy’s, Nike, Target, and Walmart. If the price of an item drops more than $1, the app will automatically provide info on how to request a refund for the difference.

Download: Edison Mail (Free)

6. Spike Email

Spike Email wants you to look at email in a new way. Instead of the usual routine of replying, sending, and threads, the app turns your inbox into a messaging app. The conversational feature changes email into a messaging-like service where you can see each response on one page.

It’s even possible to make audio or video calls to the other party. If you’re not a fan of the feature, it’s easy to switch it off for a more traditional experience. You can also create a group in the app and have a team communication session. Everyone just needs an email address for easy group email on iPhone.

Like other apps, Spike Email also provides a Priority Inbox with the most important emails in one place. To help juggle calendar appointments, the app also merges different calendars into an email so you can view upcoming events all on a single screen.

Another standout feature of the app is its great search options. You can search by person or even keyword. Attachments are also a breeze with Spike Email; you can preview and among attachments inside an email.

Download: Spike Email (Free)

Conquer Your Inbox: The Best Email Apps for iPhone

Hopefully with one of these email apps, you can make better sense of your inbox and have more time to tackle other tasks away from your iPhone screen.

Apps aren’t the only way to help tackle your email deluge. Make sure you know how to set up email filters

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Email filtering is your best tool in keeping your inbox neat and organized. Here’s how to set up and use email filters in Gmail, Yahoo Mail, and Outlook.
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to keep the junk out of your inbox.

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How to Mute Mail Threads on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

iOS 13 Mail app Share Sheet with Mute button
Khamosh Pathak

There’s no way to leave email conversations if someone accidentally hits the “Reply All” button. What you can do is mute the conversation on your end to disable notifications. Here’s how to mute threads on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac using the Mail app.

How to Mute Mail Threads on iPhone and iPad

To mute a thread on an iPhone or iPad, you need to be running iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 and higher.

There are two ways to do this. The first works without even opening the email. You can also mute a message from the reply menu.

If you’re in the Inbox, swipe left on an email and select the “More” option.

Swipe left and tap on the More button

From the popup, tap on the “Mute” button.

Tap on the Mute button

The email will now have a small “Bell” icon to tell you that the thread has been muted.

Check the Mute symbol on muted threads

If the email is already open, tap on the “Reply” button from the bottom-right corner.

Tap on the Reply button

Then, scroll down a bit until you see the “Mute” option. Tap on the button to mute the thread.

Tap on the Mute button from the Share sheet

If you want to unmute the thread later on, follow the same process, and tap on the “Unmute” option.

Tap on the Unmute button from the Share sheet

How to Mute Mail Threads on Mac

Open the Mail app on your Mac that’s running macOS Catalina. Next, select an email or multiple emails. From the top toolbar, locate the “Bell” icon and click on it.

Click on Mute button to mute the thread

The icon will change to a bell icon with a dash across it. This means that the conversation has been muted.

You can also mute a conversation by right-clicking on an email from the list view and selecting the “Mute” option.

Click on Mute from the menu

To unmute a thread, click on the “mute” button from the toolbar again.

Click on the Unmute button to unmute the thread

This is just one of the new features in iOS 13. Take a look at our best new features list for iOS 13, and once you update, make sure to try the new Dark mode.

RELATED: The Best New Features in iOS 13, Available Now

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A revealing iPhone 11 headache

Sometimes, a mobile glitch is indicative of a much more pervasive issue. Such is the case with my recent iPhone 11 iTunes headache.

I’ll drill down into the details of the iTunes situation in a moment — along with a fix that Apple tech support swore didn’t exist — but the bigger problem here is the Apple experience. I’ve long been a fan of Apple’s products, because the company’s technology execution and GUI intuitiveness are exemplary. I’m not a fan of the experience delivered when upgrading — when I’m doing exactly what Apple wants to me to do. What should be a simple process is anything but.

Not that this is a novel observation. My friend Jason Perlow wrote about his bad Apple Store experience last month. Having read that piece, I figured I would avoid the friction points he flagged by setting up the carrier situation beforehand and by avoiding the in-store Wi-Fi. Alas, Apple had more surprises waiting for me.

This all started weeks ago when I placed an order for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. This was an upgrade from the prior line, so I thought the transition would be easy. (Now, now. It’s not nice to laugh at someone.) I decided I’d complete the carrier setup before the phone shipped, and then waited for delivery. When the arrival date came and went with no news, I called, and after suffering through multiple long holds, was told that there was some sort of a glitch and that instead of the phone being shipped to me, I’d have to pick it up at a store. Just as well, I thought, given that I had to do a trade-in anyway.

The rep asked what time that evening would I could pick up the new phone, so he could schedule an appointment. I said I couldn’t do it that night, but I would pick it up in two days. Sorry, he said, the system only allows us to book appointments on the same day. I couldn’t understand that. The Apple Store can be insanely busy. Wouldn’t it improve matters by allowing appointments to be scheduled days in advance? Another Cupertino mystery.

When I arrived at the store two days later, it was crowded, but a tablet-wielding associate connected me with a rep within a few minutes. Things were going great! The rep tried to dissuade me from setting up the phone in-store (showing that he was experienced and wise), but when I said I had to do a trade-in, he sighed. I told him that I don’t use iCloud, but instead back up via iTunes to my Windows laptop’s C drive. Of course, I added, I’ve brought the laptop with me.

I was set up at a table with a power outlet (they didn’t all have them) and launched iTunes. It recognized the phone as new, which was encouraging, but it then started spouting various iTunes error messages when it tried restoring from a backup. I asked for Genius Bar support to address the iTunes error messages, but the rep said that he had never seen those errors. He suggested I give up on the laptop, and instead try connecting iPhone-to-iPhone via Bluetooth. That took a bit of time, but it seemed to work. Kind of.

Then my Apple Watch had to be paired. The watch never quite connected, and I later spent hours on the phone with Apple tech support to get that fixed. (Again, it was the new watch with the new phone. Seeing a pattern? What should be easy and automatic wasn’t.)

Another problem: the phone wasn’t seeing any calendar items, because iTunes wasn’t even trying to back up the calendar. I live by my calendar, so I couldn’t let that one go. More hours on the phone with tech support. I told them that I recalled this happening with earlier iPhone transitions and that it’s a rather obscure iTunes setting that needs to be changed. I just wanted to know where that setting was.

Apple tech support — even going through higher-level reps — assured me that there was no iTunes setting and that the fix was to set the phone back to factory settings. Um, no. Google searching was no help, either. Several other attempts to find the answer were no more successful, but I eventually found the low-level setting. If your Windows iTunes stops backing up calendar, you need to find a heading called Info. It’s tricky; it doesn’t normally appear. It’s only visible when doing a backup. It appears in the left-hand column above File Sharing and below Photos.

Note that this option doesn’t exist within settings or options, which is where it would logically be. But once you can get Info to appear, it offers the checkbox option to Sync Calendars. By default, the option seems to be unclicked during iPhone upgrades. Given that Apple denies that the option exists, I can’t get them to explain why it seems to default to not syncing calendar options, given that it’s such a core part of the phone and especially the watch.

By the way, checking that box did fix everything, and it did so instantly (no restart needed, not even of the app), but it delivered one bit of amusement. It immediately flagged that I had missed some crucial appointments — 267 weeks earlier! (In case anyone thinks I am exaggerating, I grabbed screenshots.)

Here’s the big-picture issue: I have run into similar headaches every time I have moved from one iPhone to another. I could see this situation — maybe — if I was upgrading from a 5-year-old phone, but these have all been going from the most recent version to the new version. Apple’s much-heralded focus on the customer experience, which is how it defends such a proprietary platform, seems to collapse when a customer does an upgrade.

This is also not the first time that I have found Apple tech support ignorant about basic aspects of Apple software. My fun with the Apple Watch comes to mind. It would be less objectionable if tech support said, “I don’t know,” or “I don’t remember.” But they don’t. They are absolutely certain of something that is absolutely wrong. That rarely makes for a pleasant and smooth upgrade experience.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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Apple’s iOS 13 adoption data hints at iPhone 11 sales

Apple tells us that four weeks since launch, iOS 13 is now in use by over half of all the devices sold in the last four years; that data may also hint at the strength of its iPhone sales.

Apple’s latest data shows rapid iOS adoption

Since iOS 13’s release on Sept. 19, Apple’s latest data shows the following:

All devices introduced in the last four years

  • 55% of all devices introduced in the last four years use iOS 13.
  • 38% of all devices introduced in the last four years use iOS 12.
  • 7% of all devices introduced in the last four years use an earlier version of iOS.

All devices used

  • 50% of all devices use iOS 13.
  • 41% of all devices use iOS 12.
  • 9% of all devices use an earlier iOS version.

Apple published this information earlier than it did in 2018, when it waited six weeks to provide initial iOS upgrade information.

At that time, it said iOS 12 (released Sept. 17, 2018) was installed on 63% of active devices introduced in the last four years and 60% of all devices. It also observed that 11% of all devices and 7% of recent devices were on iOS 10 or earlier at that time.

How does this compare to August 2019?

I thought it might be interesting to take a quick glance at earlier data for comparison’s sake. Looking around, I found August 2019 figures (prior to the launch of iOS 13), which showed the following:

All devices introduced in the last four years

  • 90% of all devices use iOS 12.
  • 7% of all devices use iOS 11.
  • 3% of all devices on an earlier OS.

All devices used

  • 88% of all devices use iOS 12.
  • 7% use iOS 11.
  • 5% on an earlier iOS version.

These figures are just a couple of months old. That means they reflect adoption of Apple’s then-current iOS version and don’t include iPhone 11 series device sales.

Data, data everywhere

What I thought interesting is that if you take the August All-devices-used data and combine iOS 11 with earlier iOS adoption you get 12%, which represents the number of people who you could consider to be running an earlier iOS than iOS 12 at the time.

That 12% figure is important, as (in theory, at least) you’d expect to find a similar number in the most recent Apple statistic. The thing is, you don’t: This shows just 9% of devices currently using iOS versions older than iOS 12 – and (as you may recall), the 2018 figures from around the same time showed around 11% of devices were then using older systems.

Baffle them with stats

I don’t want to throw any more data around today – I’m getting confused holding it all in. But I do think we can make some assumptions:

1. There may be fewer older devices in use

News that the number of devices running two-years-or-older operating systems has declined year-on-year suggests that people have upgraded. Don’t neglect that the last year is seen as being relatively flat in terms of iPhone sales.

2. Device upgrades are happening

It’s really hard to be exact, but at this stage in the transition between operating systems, it looks like people are upgrading their devices.

3. iPhone 11 sales are taking place

The data strongly suggests people are purchasing iPhone 11, based on the difference in the number of devices running older software. That’s a claim that tallies with what the analysts have been saying.

It suggests Apple really did get the price/benefits mix better this time around. Its decision to define the range around the iPhone 11, rather than offering consumers what could be perceived as a worse device for cheaper (as it did with iPhone XR) has encouraged people to upgrade, I think.

The problem with upgrades

However, the data does suggest some problems. By Oct. 29, 2018, 63/60% of users (recent/all devices) had shifted to iOS 12.

This year 55/50% of users are using iOS 13 – though it is important to note that this is over a shorter period of time (four weeks versus six).

With that in mind, these figures are broadly in line, but they do hint that some iOS users are taking a wait-and-see approach to iOS 13. That’s actually good sense on their part.

Apple has published four updates to the iOS so far and has another on the way. The updating process takes time, and most people prefer to upgrade rarely, rather than often. At the same time, Apple should be commended for working hard to patch security problems, upgrade features and the like.

While I take claims on social media with a huge amount of cynicism, I’m aware of some consensus that iOS 13 is a little buggy. Apple’s recent updates have definitely improved the OS, but this inevitably slows adoption.

It hasn’t slowed it down much, as the data shows, but I’ve a feeling (and intuition/opinion should not be confused with data), that this year’s iOS upgrade cycle is being significantly driven by iPhone 11 sales.

Apple must unleash the iPhone 6 upgrade cycle

Apple’s iPhone 11 appears to be selling pretty well – but Apple can still sell many millions more. Recall the five-year-old iPhone 6?

Apple’s most popular iPhone model ever (over 220 million sold) is not supported by iOS 13.

Logically, then, you’d expect a huge chunk of Apple’s devices to remain on iOS 12 as they are iPhone 6 models.  

41% of all devices now use iOS 12, many of which I imagine are 6 model iPhones.

Convincing those users to upgrade is critical. I think that congregation of users has to be fought for, and this has to happen in the coming weeks.

It is reassuring to note that, given some iPhone 6 owners are quite price-conscious, Apple has a back-up plan for a lower-cost device in 2020, according to some reports.

It is also possible that Apple’s TV+ service will stimulate iPhone sales when it launches Nov. 1.

Please follow me on Twitter, or join me in the AppleHolic’s bar & grill and Apple Discussions groups on MeWe.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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