What's new in iOS 12

Apple is constantly working on new features and more advanced technologies to keep our iPhones and iPads running smoothly. Whether it's a major update that comes once per year or a point update that brings fixes and small but mighty features, here's where to come to find out all about the latest updates to iOS.

What's new in iOS?

October 30, 2018: Apple releases iOS 12.1

After many, many beta releases, iOS 12.1 is now available with a few new features and performance improvements. The biggest news is that group FaceTime is now available on iPhone and iPad, but there are a couple of additional new features, like Depth Control in real time preview and support for dual SIM support for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.

Group FaceTime

It was talked about, and even included in an earlier beta for iOS 12, but it's finally publically available to everyone. You can video or audio chat with up to 32 people using FaceTime in iOS 12.1. Not only that, but you can also start a group FaceTime chat right from a group iMessage chat.

How to make group FaceTime calls on iPhone and iPad

70 New Emoji

Speaking through illustrated emotions has become practically a new written language and that's why the World Emoji Consortium is constantly updating and creating new symbols we can add to our repertoire. Apple is always up to speed on the latest 😄 and iOS 12.1 brings 70 new emoticons to the table, including cupcakes, freezing face, and the controversial bagel.

70 new emoji come to iOS 12.1

Depth Control in Camera

With iOS 12, Apple added the ability to change the level of depth perception in Portrait Mode photos, adjusting the bokeh effect and background blur. With iOS 12.1, you can view and adjust the depth perception in real time, before you even take the picture.

Dual SIM support

Apple's latest line of iPhones, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, all support dual SIM. In most countries, you get one nano-SIM card and one eSIM. In Mainland China, the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR come with two nano-SIM cards.

The basics of Dual SIM support on the iPhone XS and XS Max

September 17, 2018: Apple releases iOS 12

After many betas, iOS 12 is finally available with dozens of major new features, hundreds of smaller under-the-hood updates, and a plethora of performance fixes. You can update to iOS 12 on your iPhone and iPad right now.

What's new in iOS 12

Performance

Apple has put a major emphasis on the performance gains in iOS 12, particularly for older devices like the iPhone 6. With apps like Camera launching up to 70 percent faster on older iPhones and iPads, many users will undoubtedly feel like they have a completely new phone.

Performance in iOS 12: Everything you need to know!

Siri Shortcuts

Siri Shortcuts is actually a two-part feature. The first is the underlying system of Shortcuts, in which Siri analyzes your behavior on your iPhone or iPad in the background, making note of tasks you perform regularly. Eventually, you'll get suggestions on actions that you can allow Siri to take for you based on those habits that the system learn.

The other half of Shortcuts is the Shortcuts app itself. A standalone app available in the App Store, Shortcuts lets you create custom workflows that bring together iOS system features and those of third-party apps to perform custom actions that can be triggered by custom Siri phrases.

Messages

In addition to more than 70 new emoji characters, Messages has seen a lot of updates to how you send photos and videos. You can now add effects and filters to the photos and videos that you take using the camera in the Messages app, and even add Animoji on top of your images.

Speaking of Animoji, there are new characters for that, as well. Additionally, Apple is introducing Memoji, custom Animoji that you can create to look just like you. You can customize a Memoji's hair, eye color and shape, nose, mouth, and skin tone to create a 3D virtual representation of yourself, which you can then use when taking photos.

FaceTime

With FaceTime in iOS 12, you can now use stickers, filters, Animoji, and Memoji while you're making your FaceTime video call. These effects work live, and add a fun spin to any conversation.

Later this fall, Apple will roll out support for group FaceTime calls, with up to 32 people able to converse in the same conversation. You'll also be able to launch group calls from group iMessage threads.

Notifications and Do Not Disturb

Notifications have received a pretty substantial update in iOS 12. Multiple notifications from the same app are automatically grouped together and can be managed and deleted at the same time. You can also tune your notifications from each app to be delivered as they are, quietly, or not at all. If a notification is delivered quietly, it will be delivered to Notification Center directly without alerting you.

Do Not Disturb now has more granular controls. You can set Do Not Disturb to turn off after a set period of time, after you leave a certain location, or an event on your calendar ends. Do Not Disturb during Bedtime hides all of the notifications on your lock screen during the night, so even if you pick up your iPhone during the night, you won't see any notifications until you swipe up on the screen.

How Do Not Disturb and Notifications will change in iOS 12

Screen Time

Apple will now keep track of just how long you've been using your iOS devices. Screen time gives you a detailed breakdown of just how (and how often) you use your iPhone or iPad. See how often you pick your device up, how many notifications you get, and how long your screen is on each day. You'll get a detailed report at the end of your week with your total time, average time, and more. You can use the tools that are built into Screen Time to set limits for yourself on certain apps, or certain kinds of apps. When you do, those apps will automatically stop working for the rest of the day.

If you use iCloud Family Sharing in your home, you can also track how much time your children are spending on their devices. You can also set app limits for your kids, and set usage allowances for their devices.

Photos

Photos has been shuffled around a bit. There's a new interface for navigating your albums that makes everything easier to find. There's also a new For You tab, which is where you'll find things like Memories and now Effect Suggestions. Photos will also now proactively recommend people with whom you can share your photos by identifying people in those images.

Search in photos has been enhanced, with support for intelligent search suggestions and searching with multiple keywords. You can also search based on location, business name, or even an event.

Camera

Portrait mode is getting a significant boost in iOS 12, preserving more detail between the photo subject and the background when you use the Stage Light and Stage Light Mono effects. If you scan QR codes with your iPhone a lot, that's also being upgraded. Codes will now be highlighted in the camera frame, making them easier to scan.

Camera in iOS 12: Everything you need to know

Augmented Reality

Apps built with the new ARKit 2.0 framework will be able to be shared between multiple users, with games able to add multiplayer support for two people, with a third user able to spectate. AR environments can now be persistent, save something when you're done with it and come back later. With AR Quick Look, you can actually quickly bring objects you find in built-in apps like Safari and News into an augmented reality space.

AR and ARKit 2: Everything you need to know!

Measure

To show off some of the new enhancements in ARKit, Apple has included a new Measure app. You can use it to measure things using only your iPhone or iPad thanks to smart object recognition. It's also the new home of the level feature, which used to reside in the Compass app.

Measrue app: Everything you need to know!

Apple Books

iBooks is dead, long live Books! The newly-redesigned Apple Books app puts a bit of a literary spin on the design language of the App Store, making reading and discovering books more fun. You can now add books from the Book Store to your Want to Read section to save them for later, while the Reading Now section helps you track what you're in the middle of.

Apple Books: What's new in iOS 12

Stocks and Voice Memos

Both the Stocks and Voice Memos apps, previously iPhone-only, have made their way to the iPad. Both apps have both been redesigned. Stocks now supports content from the News app focused on business and financial information.

Stocks app for iPad: The ultimate guide

Privacy

Apple has added something it calls Enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention to Safari in iOS 12. It prevents social media buttons and embedded content from tracking you across multiple sites. The company has also made fingerprinting, a practice of tracking and identifying users using unique device markers, much more difficult. Your iPhone or iPad will now automatically suggest using its strong passwords for new apps and websites, and will save them automatically to your iCloud keychain, and the system will flag passwords that you use multiple times.

When you receive a one-time security code over SMS for an app or website, iOS will now identify it, and offer a suggestion with that code on your keyboard, letting you fill it in with one tap, and without having to navigate to Messages to grab the code. Siri also now supports navigating to a set of login credentials when asked, though you'll still need to authenticate, so not to worry about other people getting easy access to your iCloud Keychain.

What's new in Apple's Privacy Settings

Automatic Updates

Beginning with iOS 12, your iPhone or iPad will be able to update to the next version of iOS automatically. You just head to Settings > General > Software Update > Automatic Updates, and turn them on. Then, the next time there's a software update available for your device, it will be automatically downloaded and installed when you're not using it.

How to turn on automatic software updates in iOS 12

Other features

  • You can now enable automatic software updates on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Students on supported campuses can add their student ID cards to Wallet, then use their iPhones to pay with their student account using Apple Pay or enter buildings
  • CarPlay now supports third-party navigation apps
  • Website icons or "favicons" can be toggled to appear in tabs on Safari on iPad
  • Air quality index now included in Weather in supported regions
  • Use the built-in keyboard as a trackpad for navigating text with a tap and hold gesture on devices without 3D Touch.
  • Updated battery usage charts with more information.
  • Apple Music now supports lyric search
  • New Friends Mix added to Apple Music
  • Artist pages have been redesigned in Apple Music, and there's a new charts section with the top 100 daily songs

The rest of Apple's software

If you're wondering what's new with the rest of Apple's software, head over to our guide to find out everything you need to know.

Found any other cool iOS 12.1 features?

Anything we missed? Let us know in the comments!

Apple's Latest Software Updates

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