A couple of days after bringing the experience to registered developers, Apple has now released the first public beta of iOS 12.1. The public beta brings the anticipated Group FaceTime feature that was pulled from iOS 12 ahead of its final release. The same feature arrived on the first iOS 12.1 developer beta earlier this week. The Cupertino giant has also brought the first public beta of tvOS 12.1. Notably, unlike the developer preview that requires an active developer account at a yearly charge of $99 (approximately Rs. 7,100), the public beta is available for free to all users who haven't registered for the developer account.
The biggest change that the first public beta of iOS 12.1 brings is the Group FaceTime feature. The feature, as its name suggests, is designed to let you make an audio or video call with as many as 32 participants. It shows participants of a group voice or video call in tiles and automatically enlarges the video window of the person currently talking. You can also add any of your contacts in the middle of a Group FaceTime call or join a conversation that is already active. Moreover, Apple is set to offer a unified group calling support through Group FaceTime that is designed for iPhone, iPad, and Mac devices.
While Apple showcased the Group FaceTime feature at WWDC 2018 back in June, it was pulled from the iOS 12 beta 7 release. "Group FaceTime has been removed from the initial release of iOS 12 and will ship in the future software update later this fall," Apple had said in a note to developers.
Alongside the ability to make Group FaceTime calls, the first public beta of iOS 12.1 brings support for clickable thumb sticks on MFi gamepads. App developer Steve Troughton-Smith has spotted the code highlighting the new development. The developer also found the changes related to landscape orientation for Face ID. This is likely to be a hint at the upcoming iPad models that are so far speculated to have the absence of the Touch ID-supported home button.
If you want to experience the first public beta of iOS 12.1, you need to enrol in the Apple Beta Software Program with your Apple ID. Apple has additionally provided an FAQ section to answer all your common queries related to the Apple Beta Software Program. It is recommended to install the beta software on a secondary iOS device as it may include some serious bugs. Also, if you're all set to install the latest beta version, you're advised to backup your device before beginning the download process.
Once you're set to begin the download process, go to Settings > General > Software Update to get the latest iOS public beta version on your iOS device. The device should have at least 50 percent battery or connected to the charger to begin the installation.
In case if during the testing phase you would like to move back to the public release on your Apple device, Apple has provided an option to un-enrol from the public beta. There is a step-by-step to ease the unenrolling process.