Apple on Monday finally released iOS 12 as its new mobile operating system. More than three months after its beta testing, the Cupertino giant has now made the stable version of its latest mobile platform available to all compatible iPhone and iPad models, including iPhone 5s and later models, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation and later models, iPad 6th generation and later models, iPad mini 2 and later models, and the iPod touch 6th generation. Highlighted features of the latest version include Memoji, Siri Shortcuts, upgraded Photos, Screen Time, and Group Notifications among others. Alongside iOS 12, Apple has released tvOS 12 for Apple TV models, and also brought watchOS 5 as the new software for Apple Watch models.
iOS 12 features
iOS 12 is the biggest update for the platform that's been released this year. To recall, it was officially unveiled back at WWDC 2018. It majorly aims to improve performance on older devices. Apple claims that iOS 12 enables the devices to launch apps up to twice as fast as on the last iOS update. Also, the camera launches up to 70 percent faster, whereas the keyboard appears up to 50 percent faster, and typing is also more responsive than last iOS version. Apple also notes in the official changelog that all supported iOS 12 devices see the improved performance - starting from iPhone 5s and iPad Air.
In addition to the boost in performance, iOS 12 brings the all-new Photos app that includes a new For You tab that includes all the personalised memories and highlighted photos that are from the same day in the past year(s), combining Memories and iCloud Shared Albums. The Photos app also has Sharing Suggestions to recommend sharing photos taken at events with the people who are featured in them. Further, there is an improved search within the new Photos app that lets you find your memories based on any particular place, business name, or event. The import functionality of the camera has also been improved with a large preview mode as well as an overall faster import experience than the previous Photos version. Apple has additionally provided the ability to edit images in RAW format.
Apart from the new features on the Photos app, iOS 12 brings a fresh camera experience that has an improved Portrait mode and the support to scan QR codes. Apple has also updated messaging on iOS 12 with Memoji that allows you to bring you as an Animoji with customisable features. Animoji on the latest iOS version has also been expanded with T-Rex, ghost, koala, and tiger characters. Apple has also added the ability to make Memoji and Animoji with wink and stick out their tongue. You can now also capture Animoji recordings for up to 30 seconds. This is higher than the original 10-second limit. Further, there are new camera effects including filters, text effects, and iMessage sticker packs and shapes to enhance your messaging experience.
Apple gained huge audience attraction at the time of announcing iOS 12 at its WWDC 2018 back in June for the Screen Time feature. This helps you see detailed information about how much time you spent with apps and websites on your iOS device. There are also built-in tools to offer you the right balance of time spent. You can see the time spent on apps, usage across categories of apps, and how many notifications are received and how often the device is picked up. Likewise, you can set app limits as per your convenience to set the amount of time you or any of your family member spend in apps and on websites. The latest iOS version also has an improved Do Not Disturb feature that you can turn off after a certain time, location, or calendar event. There is also a Do Not Disturb During Bedtime that hides all notifications from your Lock screen while you sleep.
Siri has also been uplifted in iOS 12 with Siri Shortcuts and "Add to Siri" buttons for third-party apps. Siri can also suggest shortcuts on the Lock screen and in Search to ease your experience. You can also translate phrases in more languages, with support for over 40 language pairs. Further, you can ask Siri to check facts about celebrities, such as when they were born, and ask questions about food, including calories and nutrient content, and even turn the torch on or off. The experience is also more natural than before and expressive voice has been provided in Irish English, South African English, Danish, Norwegian, Cantonese and Mandarin (Taiwan).
Apple has brought improvements to the notifications avenue as well. With iOS 12, you'll find grouped notifications on your device. You can also use the Instant Tuning to control over your notification settings directly from the Lock screen. Similarly, there is a new Deliver Quietly option that silently sends notifications directly to the Notification Centre without interrupting you.
To uplift the privacy and security on iOS 12, Apple has provided an Enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature in Safari that prevents embedded content and social media buttons from tracking cross-site browsing. The updated Safari browser also suppresses ad retargeting by limiting the ability of advertisers to identify different iOS devices. You'll also be suggested with new passwords when you create an account or change a password in most apps and in Safari. Also, you can share passwords with contacts using AirDrop and view all the reused passwords by going to the Passwords and Accounts settings. Furthermore, security code sent over SMS messages are available as suggestions in the QuickType bar.
Alongside the new features, iOS 12 also brings updates to the stock apps. There is new Apple Music with the ability search for lyrics to help you find a song using a few words. The Artists pages have also included a personalised station of any artists' music. Plus, there are the new Friends Mix playlists and new charts to show you the daily top 100 songs. The Apple News app has also been redesigned to make discovery of new channels and topics easier than ever before. You can also use the new sidebar on iPad and the Channels tab on iPhone to just to your favourite publications or discover new ones. The Stocks app has also received a new design update that integrates Apple News stories and offers interactive charts for the listed ticker symbols. Voice Memos have also been redesigned and received iCloud support. The latest iOS version also has a new accessibility feature that enables Live Listen through AirPods. Additionally, there are new bilingual dictionaries in Arabic and English, and Hindi and English.
The latest iOS update also comes preloaded with a Measure app that uses augmented reality (AR) to let you measure objects and spaces. The app also automatically measure rectangular objects, while you can draw lines across surfaces or in free space to measure different objects. You can also tap a line's label to see more information. Moreover, you can capture, share, and mark up screenshots of your measurements. The latest iOS version also works with ARKit 2 to enable new AR experiences.
You can read about the security content of iOS 12 by visiting the official support page. Also, some of the features may not be available in your region.
How to install iOS 12
To download and install iOS 12 on your Apple device, go to Settings > General > Software Update and then follow the on-screen instructions.
Your device should be using a Wi-Fi connection to download the over-the-air update. Also, it is recommended to back up your data, and ensuring your device has over 50 percent of charge or connected to a power source before beginning the update process.
Alongside iOS 12, Apple has released tvOS 12 as the latest software version for its Apple TV family, something it once again previewed at WWDC this year. The new update brings Dolby Atmos support for the Apple TV 4K. Apple has also provided a new Zero Sign-on feature that gives you access to your account simply by detecting the broadband network. There is also support for AutoFill passwords saved on iOS 12. Further, the update brings the Apple TV remote to the Control Centre on iPhone and iPad.
To update your Apple TV with the latest update, you need to open the Settings app on your TV and then navigate to Settings > Systems > Software Update. Once this is done, the Apple TV will search for the update and then you can proceed to download tvOS 11.2 by following the on-screen instructions.
Apple has also released watchOS 5 as the newest software version for its Apple Watch lineup, and just like the other two, it was first unveiled at WWDC 2018. It brings Watch-to-Watch communication through the Walkie-Talkie feature. There is also Hindi Localisation support and the ability to speak with Siri just by raising your wrist. The new watchOS version has an upgraded Activity Sharing functionality to let you invite your contacts to compete in a seven-day Activity competition and earn points for closing Activity Rings. Also, the update brings an auto-work detection feature that auto-detects the start and end of a workout using the built-in sensors of the Apple Watch and using machine learning algorithms. There are also Yoga and Hiking as the new workout types, making the total workout count of 14 types.
Apple has added a new metric in watchOS 5, called rolling last mile, that shows pace for the immediately preceding mile in addition to the average pace or the current pace of the runners. Similarly, there is a new cadence metric (steps per minute), and a new pace alarm that alert users if they are behind their chosen pace.
Similar to iOS 12, watchOS 5 also has deeper Siri integration. There is an updated Siri watch face that shows new predictive and proactive shortcuts throughout the day based on routines, locations, and information available, including heart rate after a workout, communicate time at the appropriate time of the day or sports scores for a particular team. Plus, the newest watchOS update brings Apple Podcasts support. You can also customise button arrangements in the Control Centre and can play audiobooks, favourite playlists and guided meditations directly on your Apple Watch.
To download watchOS 5 on any of your Apple Watch Series 1 and above, go to the My Watch tab on the Watch app available on your iOS device and then go to General > Software Update. The Watch needs to have at least 50 percent of battery charge to enable the installation process. Also, it is recommended to keep it on the charging dock while installing the new update. Your iPhone will also need to be in close proximity to the Apple Watch and will need to be on Wi-Fi. The Apple Watch should restart twice before the update is completely installed, and you need to enter the Watch passcode if prompted, after beginning the update and then follow the prompts from your iPhone.
Will Apple ever launch reasonably priced iPhones in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.