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What's Exciting in iOS 12

iOS 12 and macOS Mojave (10.14) are here! Our guidance has always been to not rush into major upgrades until problems have been found and fixed. While we stand by that advice, this round of new operating systems from Apple appears to be pretty solid, and we haven’t heard about or seen any real problems with them.

On the iPhone, it appears that iOS 12 has in fact improved performance for many iPhone users. So if you want to go ahead and install these, go ahead, but if you’re not in any particular hurry, then wait. As always, please make sure you have a full iCloud backup on an iPhone or iPad, or Time Machine backup on a Mac, before you upgrade. Then, if something does go wrong, you have options.

What can iOS 12 do for you? Keep reading. We’ll cover macOS Mojave next month.

New in iOS 12:

Allegedly, iOS 12 improves performance and battery life for most devices it supports. I haven’t noticed anything one way or the other, but my iPhone X is still pretty new, so I wouldn’t expect it to feel much faster than it already does.

Screen Time
If you’re worried that you or your loved one is a phone addict, well, the proof will be right here. Screen Time measures what you use your phone for and how long. It’s a little creepy, seeing your life reflected back to you. My screen time says I’ve picked up my phone an average of 37 times per day, and spend the bulk of my time in Safari, followed by Messages. Your mileage may vary. Screen Time also lets you set restrictions on how much you are allowed to use a given app per day, in case you want to try to rein in your Instagram habit. You can find Screen Time under Settings. It also has family features if you want to know and possibly restrict how your kids use their phones.

Do Not Disturb
One feature of iOS that I have a love/hate relationship with is Do Not Disturb, which silences the phone for incoming calls, messages, and notifications. The hate part comes from forgetting that I have Do Not Disturb turned on, and then missing a bunch of messages or calls. In iOS 12, it’s much smarter; you can specify that you want it only for an hour, or for the rest of the evening, or until you leave the location you’re in, or for the duration of the calendar event happening right now. To get to these functions, go to the Control Center, and force-press on the moon icon. iOS 12 also makes it very obvious on your lock screen that Do Not Disturb is enabled.

Security code autofill
You know how some sites and apps send you text messages with a code before they let you sign in? Your iPhone can now automatically fill in that code for you.

At some point, you’ll be able to do group FaceTime with up to 32 people, but that won’t be available until a future software update.

Control Center
There are some new Control Center features, which you can enable in Settings -> Control Center. For example, Hearing turns your AirPods into a kind of hearing aid, and Do Not Disturb While Driving does what it sounds like. There a still a bunch of other useful ones from iOS 11 that you may have not seen, so it’s worth checking them out.

Face ID
Face ID supports a second entry of your face, in case you have multiple appearances. (I was hoping this would allow me to unlock my iPhone while wearing sunglasses, but no.)

Siri Suggestions
If you look in Settings -> Siri & Search, you'll find options for Suggested Shortcuts. If you tap All Shortcuts, you'll see even more. If you set these up, you can give Siri specific instructions for things you do regularly in different apps. If you want to get really deep with Siri, Apple now has an app called Shortcuts (which used to be the app called Workflow, in case you are familiar with it), which is free from the App Store. It will let you create complex actions involving multiple apps.

(And, here’s another new Siri feature that Apple apparently felt was important enough to include in their list of iOS 12 features: Celebrity facts -- check facts about celebrities, such as “Where was Amy Adams born?” That’s a question I am always asking myself.)

There’s more in iOS 12, but these are some of the more interesting new capabilities. Get in touch with us if you have questions on iOS 12!

(October 2018)

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