Common iOS 13 Problems and How to Fix Them


Apple iPhone and iPad owners typically install major iOS updates (like the freshly unveiled MacOS Catalina software) as soon as they can get their hands on them — because software updates from Apple almost always include new and exciting features that people can’t wait to try out. iOS 13 is the latest and greatest such update from Apple.

While some adventurously put betas on their older or even current devices, Apple always cautions that newly minted versions are generally bug-infested and in need of refinement before general release. But even after a formal release, issues always crop up. And with Apple iOS 13, there have been more problems and stability issues than usual. On September 19, after months in beta, Apple released iOS 13 with much fanfare. Sadly, the euphoria was short-lived.

Numerous bugs have plagued iOS 13’s initial release, so much so that Apple quickly released a dot upgrade to 13.1 a week ahead of schedule to squash the worst, most commonly reported problems. It also released an interim fix with 13.1.1. The newest version is iOS 13.1.2, a maintenance or bug fix update that attempts to fix the problems that popped up in 13.1, which also included new features.

The iOS and iPadOS 13.1.2 updates were released for all eligible devices over-the-air in the device Settings. Go to Settings > General > Software Update to get it. Expect more updates to come. If you have already installed iOS 13 in any of its incarnations, you probably have encountered one or more of these issues. While this is by no means an exhaustive list, here are some common iOS 13 problems and what you can do to fix them.

iPhone 11 Pro Max iOS 13
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The problem: Third-party keyboard bug

Apple issued a special security warning about third-party keyboard apps in iOS 13. You can run third-party keyboards such as Gboard or SwiftKey, or a slew of others as stand-alone apps, or they can request full access to your OS to communicate with other apps on your device to provide additional features. A bug in iOS 13 might cause these apps to gain full access even without your approval. The bug only affects keyboards that feature full access, which means that Apple’s built-in keyboard or any other keyboard apps that don’t seek full access are not affected by the bug. With full access, keyboard developers can capture keystroke data. With full access, Gboard lets you perform Google searches directly from the keyboard that are sent to Google. You may trust Google or not, but do you trust another lesser known third-party app with the same information?

Possible solutions:

  • Update to iOS 13.1.1 or iPadOS 13.1.1 to fix an issue that impacts third-party keyboards on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • Check to see whether full access was granted without your knowledge or consent and withhold permissions by tapping Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards.
  • Uninstall third-party keyboards you don’t absolutely trust until Apple fixes the issue.

The problem: Apple Mail various issues

Numerous issues have been reported with iOS 13 Mail performance. These include the iPhone Mail app not updating, crashing, failing to sync on iPhone or iPad, not opening, failing to send messages, opening draft messages upon launch of the app, failing to load email and third party mail accounts, mail notifications failing, failing to allow new accounts to be created, push not working, and a no sender issue where you cannot see who sent an email to you. One user stated on Apple’s Twitter support account: “Not being able to see who the sender is, is one thing. But if you tick reply, the recipient field is empty. Also, you can’t search on subject. My Mail is now sending duplicate emails to recipients. Really annoying how do I stop this?”

Possible solutions:

There are numerous possible solutions to a misbehaving Mail app in iOS 13, depending on what you’re experiencing. Here are a range of issues and solutions related to Mail app dysfunction.

  • Check to see if software updates are available for third-party apps such as Yahoo Mail or Gmail that you may have added to Mail by checking the App Store.
  • If Mail notifications are not working, make sure they are enabled for the Mail app. Launch Settings > Mail > Notifications > Allow Notification.
  • If you cannot create more than one Mail account, make sure to disable the Restriction settings that prevent you from adding accounts. Launch Settings > Screen Time> Select Content & Privacy Restrictions> Allowed Apps> Mail and toggle the switch on. This lets you add multiple accounts in the mail app.
  • Enable Mail App for Cellular Data with Settings > Cellular and toggle on the Mail option.
  • Reset Network Settings with Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings. You will be prompted to enter your passcode to continue.
  • If resetting the network doesn’t work, check the Push, Fetch, or Manual options that control account activity using Settings > Passwords & Accounts settings > Fetch New Data settings.
  • Force quit the Mail app and reopen it. It is a popular solution when the Mail is not syncing properly. Double-click on the Home button to view all running apps, swipe up on the apps to close them, and relaunch Mail.
  • If your iPhone mail app is crashing, try restarting your device.
  • If all else fails, remove the Mail account from your device and add it again. Tap Settings > Passwords & Accounts. The mail accounts will be displayed on the screen. Select the errant account and click on it. You will see the Delete Account option at the bottom of the screen. Click to remove the account from your device. Then set it up again.

The problem: Reminders sync fail

With iOS 13, Reminders gets a fresh new interface, new organizational features, smart lists, a new quick toolbar, and the ability to add photos, web links, and documents. But some users report problems with syncing notes, missing lists, deleted reminders, list names reverting to defaults, wrong dates and times, and other syncing issues. One entry on Apple’s Twitter support account reads: “Please fix reminders already! It’s a complete mess. I haven’t been able to access my reminders since updating to iOS 13. Updated my iPhone to 13.1.1 and made it [worse]. won’t even show my reminders [anymore].”

Possible solutions:

Apple acknowledges that Reminders won’t sync properly unless all your devices are running the latest software, including your Mac, whose upcoming macOS Catalina is still in beta. According to Apple, “Upgraded reminders aren’t compatible with earlier versions of iOS and macOS. If you upgrade your reminders on your iPhone with iOS 13, your iPad and Mac using the same iCloud account can’t access your reminders until iPadOS and macOS 10.15 Catalina are available.” Apple says you’ll be able to access your complete Reminders on and also allows users running iOS 13 to delay a full upgrade of Reminders until after macOS Catalina is released. Here’s how to stay out of Reminders trouble if you are a user.

  • Connected your device to the internet before you open the Reminders app for the first time after updating to iOS 13.
  • Upon launching the app, a Welcome to Reminders screen may offer some users an option to upgrade the app now or later. Reminders will also give you information about shared Reminders lists or other devices you need to upgrade.
  • Tap Upgrade Now and if you tap Upgrade Later, the app’s screen has a blue Upgrade button. Tap it at the time you decide to upgrade.
  • The upgrade affects only existing reminders in your primary iCloud account but not those in other iCloud, CalDAV, or Exchange accounts.
  • Apple also warns that sharing a Reminders list using the Add People function does not work in iOS 13, but promises to resolve the issue in a future update.

The problem: Battery drain

Some iOS 13 users have noticed that battery life seems degraded after the upgrade to Apple’s latest mobile operating system. It’s unfortunate, but no surprise, as there are normally such complaints after every major iOS update. That’s partly because the new OS will cycle through a number of major system-level operations to integrate with your device, such as indexing with Spotlight, Photos, and various iCloud activities.

Possible solutions

  • Plug in your device and wait for a while. That’s right, just leave your device plugged in overnight, and connected to Wi-Fi. It should take from a few hours to a day or two for everything to get back to normal, especially if your device is restoring heavy volume from iCloud or syncing data from various sources.
  • Check for additional iOS updates by going to Settings > General > Software Update. Software updates often have bug fixes and improvements, like the current series with iOS 13, and if a bug or other known issue is degrading battery life, it’s likely to be resolved.
  • Update individual apps too, since some may have bugs that were patched. With iOS 13 and later, you can update apps by going to App Store > Your Account > Updated Recently.
  • Check which apps or activity is using your battery by going to Settings > Battery. Often apps that use video or location services drain the battery. If you see an app you don’t use draining the battery, delete it.
  • Check iPhone battery health through Settings > Battery > Battery Health. If the battery is not operating at an optimal level, it may need to be replaced.
  • Background App Refresh allows apps in the background to stay updated without manual input, but that can negatively affect battery life. Tap Settings > General > Background App Refresh and toggle the switch off.
  • Having display brightness on high can reduce battery life. Open Settings > Display & Brightness and adjust the slider to a lower level.
  • Disable the Raise to Wake feature, which uses your device’s accelerometer and can cause the screen to be on more than needed, especially if you are active. Open Settings > Display & Brightness > Raise to Wake and switch it off.
  • Low Power Mode reduces activity and power on the iPhone to prolong the battery life, and it can offer a huge boost to battery life in iOS 13 and other versions. Open Settings > Battery and toggle on Low Power Mode. The battery icon in your iPhone menu bar will turn yellow.
  • Turn off location services for any app that does not need it via Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Scroll down to the app list and disable location access for apps that do not require location data to function by tapping on them and choosing Never or While Using the App.
  • A forced reboot can sometimes resolve battery issues.

The problem: Connection issues with the App Store

There have been various network issues, both Wi-Fi and cellular reported with iOS 13. The Apple support Twitter site got this message: “I’m having issue access the App Store via cellular. Hasn’t work for me on IOS 13, 13.1, and 13.1.1. Have to keep constantly refresh it just to get it to work. I’ve factory reset my phone and that didn’t work either.” Connection problems can include an alert that you cannot connect to the iTunes Store when you try to launch the iTunes Store, App Store, or the Apple Books. Sometimes the store won’t load anything or hangs in the middle of a download.

Possible solutions:

Apple provided some hints on how to fix a cellular connection issue for the App Store, iTunes Store, and Apple Books.

  • Check the settings and network connections on your device to make sure it is online and connected to the internet. Use your browser to connect to any website to make sure it loads. If it doesn’t, try to connect a different device on the same network. If none of your devices can access the internet, switch your Wi-Fi router on and off to reset it. If you still can’t connect to your Wi-Fi network, seek help from your internet provider. If only your first device can’t connect to the internet, get help with Wi-Fi on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
  • If you use cellular service to connect to the internet on your device, make sure that you have cellular data turned on for the iTunes Store, App Store, and Apple Books via Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data. Check the Apple System Status page to see if there are regional service interruptions.
  • If you can’t log in with your Apple ID, reset your Apple ID password. If you recently changed your Apple ID or password, you might have to sign out and sign back in.
  • If you’re asked to verify your payment information, make sure the payment method, name, and billing address are correct.
  • Update your software to the latest versions of iOS.
  • Make sure that the date and time on your device are set correctly for your time zone. Go to Settings > General > Date & Time and toggle on Set Automatically.

What’s next?

iOS 13 Hands-on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Sit tight. Despite the problems, iOS 13 users should upgrade to iOS 13.1.2 and be sure to install any future fix updates Apple releases. These promise to go a long way in rectifying many issues that marred this otherwise exciting update for so many. Of course, new iPhone owners have no choice in the matter because the three iPhone 11 models shipped with iOS 13 already installed. That said, considering that problems are still being reported, power users who have all systems securely set in the latest version of iOS 12, might consider holding off the upgrade for a bit until the new OS is more stable.



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