iOS 12 Features: What’s new in the latest iPhone and iPad update?

iOS 12: Release date and new features

It was rumoured for a long time that iOS 12 would focus on bug-fixes and smaller tweaks rather than offering a shake-up to the tried and tested formula.

That most certainly is the case here as iOS 12 is mostly about improving the user-experience via performance and feature improvements. There are a couple of new ‘features’ but nothing that feels as extravagant as an updated home screen, and the new emergency call features look like they’re going to be US-exclusives for the time being. 

But what exactly is new? Let’s take a look and see.

Related: WWDC 2018

iOS 12 Features: What goodies will it bring to the table?

Improvements to ‘Do Not Disturb’ and grouped notifications

One of our most requested iOS features has been grouped notifications, and it’s finally here. Previously, notifications would all be treated as equally important and even if you got multiple ones from the same app they’d all show up separately.

This was ok to begin with, but get a whole load of notifications and things became a nightmare. Now, in iOS 12, notifications group together. Get multiple WhatsApp messages? They’ll now group together and won’t take over your whole notification panel. This is a much cleaner approach that’s similar to the way it works on Android.

Do Not Disturb mode has been overhauled too. Now, you can set it so you won’t see loads of pesky notifications when you’re just checking the time in the middle of the night.

Doubling down on performance for new and old phones

Apple has said that IOS 12 will work on all the devices that iOS 11 supported, which means every iPad since the original iPad Air and every iPhone since the iPhone 5S. It’s actually focussing a lot on those older devices. Considering lots of people complained about just how buggy and slow iOS 11 is, this is a nice touch and one that’ll likely go down well with iOS users.

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Using an iPhone 6S as an example, Apple said it will be 40% faster overall with the keyboard opening 50% faster and photos snapping 70% faster. These benefits will also come to newer phones too, so it should be increased performance all around.

Improved AR and ‘Measure’ app

In iOS 12, Apple is introducing a new app called ‘Measure’. This will let people measure items, a suitcase was used an an example, using the ARKit engine and save the dimensions.

We only saw a brief demo of this, but it looked like a fun new app. Apple is also using AR in other ways to: showing you what a guitar will look like in your house, for example.

Siri and Shortcuts

Siri is getting a boost in iOS 12, with a new feature called ‘Shortcuts’. This will let you pin actions to certain words and Siri will complete your command. For instance, if you use a Tile to keep an eye on your keys, saying ‘Where’s my Tile’ will instantly bring up your keys location.

There’s also improvement to Siri Suggestions. These show up in the left homescreen page and it searches through places on your device like Calendar and Mail to bring up suggestions. For example, Siri Suggestions might bring you up a reminder to ring your Mum or suggest calling the organiser of a meeting if it feels you’re running late.

To go along with these benefits there’s a dedicated Shortcuts app. Along with letting you build your own shortcuts, this will be packed full of pre-made shortcuts that you can enable.

Voice Memos, Stock and all-new Apple Books

Three of Apple’s iconic, and rarely updated, apps have seen big changes in iOS 12. iBooks, for example, is now Apple Books. It has a complete redesign to look more like the App Store and looks a whole lot cleaner and more modern.

Voice Memos has been redesigned too and it’s now available on the iPad. The Stocks app too has had a new coat of paint, with integration to Apple News and again an iPad version.

Screen Time

In iOS 12 there’s a new ‘Weekly Summary’ feature that’ll tell you how much you use your phone per week. It’ll tell you how often you pick up your phone, which apps send you the most notifications and so on.

Another nifty trick is being able to set individual timers for apps. Use Instagram a lot? iOS 12 will tell you how long you’ve spent in the app and give you options to reduce your usage.

This new feature is great for kids, too. You can set limits on how much time your kids use the phone, limit access to all or certain apps and only let them use it at certain times. This is all very granular, so you can allow your children to always have access to the phone, but limited access to, say, Instagram or Facebook. You can also set an allowance.

Group chats in FaceTime

A long overdue feature, iOS 12 finally brings group video calls to the iPhone and iPad. You can chat with up to 32 people and it’s integrated into iMessage. This means you can quickly turn a group text chat into a video one.

Location sharing for emergency calls

More recently, Apple has announced that iOS 12 will be capable of automatically sharing your location when you make emergency calls.

The functionality means that when users dial an emergency number, Apple’s HELO technology will use a combination of Wi-Fi data, GPS data, and cell tower data to provide an accurate location report to the 911 call centre.

Don’t worry though, only the call centre will have access to this location data, and they’ll only have it when you call them.

So far Apple has only announced the functionality for US emergency calls, but we’ve contacted them to see if the technology has a future in the rest of the world.

iOS 12 Release Date: When will it be available?

Apple might have just announced iOS 12, but you won’t be downloading it onto your devices tonight. Instead, we’d expect to see a release around the same time as the new iPhones in September.

Related: iOS 11.4 features

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