Apple on Monday released iOS 12 to the public. The new version of Apple’s venerable mobile operating system performs better than previous versions on older hardware, brings improved Augmented Reality via ARKit 2, and improvements to Siri, Photos, CarPlay, and many other apps.
iOS 12 is available as a free download, and can be installed on compatible devices (if your device could run iOS 12, it’ll handle iOS 12), by opening the Settings app and going to: “General” -> “Software Update.”
iOS 12 brings performance enhancements to iOS devices, supporting devices as far back as the iPhone 5s, which debuted in 2013. Apple says the Camera app launches up to 70% faster, the keyboard appears up to 50% faster and typing is more responsive. Apps can also launch up to twice as fast.
iOS 12 offers improved Augmented Reality capabilities bringing new shared AR experiences, persistent AR and more dynamic object detection and image tracking. AR in iOS 12 is an even more realistic mix of the virtual and real world with support for image detection and tracking, making it possible to detect 3D objects and automatically apply reflections. AR files can now be viewed nearly anywhere in iOS, including apps like Messages, Safari, Mail, Files and News.
iPhone X, iPhone Xr, iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max users will be able to use expressive with new Animoji and personalized Memoji characters that are customizable and fun. Users will be able to create customized Memoji from right inside of Messages. New Animoji include ghost, koala, tiger and T. rex. characters.
New camera effects include Animoji, Filters, Text and Stickers to Messages and FaceTime. Filters include comic book and watercolor for photos and videos. New labels and shapes allow users to add captions and titles to images, and stickers can be placed using iMessage sticker packs.
The all-new “For You” tab collects favorite moments in one place, combining Memories and iCloud Shared Albums, and introduces sharing suggestions to makes it easier to share photos with friends. Search suggestions offer the most relevant Events, People, Places, Groups, Categories and recent searches, and new search functionality lets users combine multiple search terms to find just the right photos.
iOS 12 offers new tools that allows users to understand and take control of the time spent using their iOS devices. Screen Time provides users with detailed information and tools to help them manage the time they spend with apps and websites, and better understand and control where their child spends time. Daily and weekly Activity Reports show the total time spent in individual apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received and how often iPhone or iPad are picked up.
Users can set App Limits, setting a specific amount of time to be in an app, and a notification will display when a time limit is about to expire. Screen Time also offers parents access to their child’s Activity Report right from their own iOS devices using Family Sharing in iCloud, and allows them to schedule times to limit when a child’s iOS device can be used, such as during bedtime.
Do not Disturb can be set to automatically end based on a specified location, time, or action. Do Not Disturb During Bedtime dims the display and hides all notifications on the lock screen until the morning.
Users gain more options for controlling how notifications are delivered, and can be set to be delivered quietly or turned off completely. Grouped notifications make it easier to view and manage multiple notifications at once.
Siri Shortcuts allows any app to work with Siri.
With powerful on-device intelligence, Siri learns user routines and provides suggestions at just the right time. Users can also use their voice to run any Shortcut, making it even easier to use their favorite apps. The new Shortcuts app goes even further, allowing users to create custom Shortcuts to streamline frequent tasks. Popular apps like Instacart, Kayak, Hotels.com, Tile and Lose it! support Siri Shortcuts and are available in the App Store starting today.
- Apple Books is a new app that makes discovering and enjoying books and audiobooks effortless, thanks to the new Reading Now tab, the Book Store tab that makes it fun to browse all that Apple Books has to offer, the Library tab to easily organize one’s full collection, and a dedicated Audiobooks tab.
- Apple News is redesigned to make it easier to discover new channels and topics or jump straight to favorites, with a new sidebar on iPad and the Channels tab on iPhone.
- Stocks features an all-new design with a customizable watchlist that makes it easy to follow the market. It also includes top business stories from Apple News and is available for the first time on iPad.
- Voice Memos is now available on iPad and adds iCloud support to sync recordings and edits across devices. A new design makes it easier to capture, share and edit recordings.
- Apple Music now has over 50 million songs. With an updated artist page, search by lyrics, Friends Mix, and Top 100 charts, finding and discovering music is easier than ever.
- Siri translation expands to more than 40 language pairs and brings more knowledge of sports, celebrities, food and nutrition. Siri can also surface favorite photos by person, place, event, time and topic, and more.
- CarPlay gives drivers even more choice with support for third-party navigation apps displayed right on the car’s dash, joining audio, messaging, calling, and automaker apps.
- Wallet on iPhone and Apple Watch adds support for student ID cards, making it more convenient to access everything on campus.
- Location data for 911 in the United States is automatically and securely shared with first responders, providing faster and more accurate information to help reduce emergency response times.