Coming into WWDC, Apple hinted that iOS 12 would focus less on major new features and more on improving performance and eliminating bugs and that is exactly what we got with a few extras.
The new update for iPhones and iPads includes some significant additions, changes, and improvements. Screen Time, Memoji, Group FaceTime, and grouped notifications are just some of the new things that you’ll notice when you install iOS 12.
The update will be available on all the same devices that received iOS 11. Apple is working to make iOS feel faster, particularly on older iPhones and iPads. Federighi said that in Apple’s tests on an iPhone 6 Plus, apps launch 40 percent faster, the system keyboard comes up 50 percent faster, and opening the camera is 70 percent faster. Apple is working to speed things up for the full range of devices supported by iOS 12. The company is also focused on times when devices are under heavy load; iPhones and iPads will now be better than ever at delivering optimal performance while also prolonging battery life.
iOS 12 will support grouped notifications, so you’ll be able to interact with or dismiss multiple notifications from the same app at once. Grouped notifications show up in a stack to give you a sense of how many are waiting for you. Apple is also giving users more authority over which apps are allowed to send notifications that vibrate their phone. “Quiet” notifications will show up in Notification Center, but not on your lock screen. They also won’t make sounds or interrupt you in any way.
Apple’s video chat app will soon be capable of hosting more than one-on-one conversations. iOS 12 will introduce group FaceTime sessions that can include up to a staggering 32 people. Group FaceTime will be supported across iOS and macOS. When multiple people are on a call, their video windows will get larger when they’re speaking and shrink when they’re not.
Apple is allowing developers more integration with iOS 12. Third-party apps can build shortcuts to allow Siri to carry out popular quick actions. Apple demonstrated a simple “Hey Siri, I lost my keys” as an example of a shortcut built for the Tile tracking device.
In what might be a dream for power users, Apple is introducing a new Shortcuts app that lets users string together multiple actions that can be triggered by a single, custom Siri request. This is something similar to what Google and Amazon are already doing with their own digital assistants. But a dedicated Shortcuts application will help get users trying out this new functionality as soon as iOS 12 ships.
The Measure app allows you to accurately measure objects or walls around you. You put the object in the camera frame, tap and drag out a line, and it measures it. Several third-party apps already offer this functionality using ARKit, but now Apple is creating its own and taking advantage of the new, more precise AR capabilities in the upcoming version of iOS.
Apple is trying to help users strike a better, healthier balance between gadgets and life. A new Screen Time feature in iOS 12 will detail how much time you’re spending on your device and using individual apps. It can break down app usage by category (games, social media, etc.) and track which apps are sending you the most notifications. Screen Time will provide a weekly summary of your usage habits.
You’ll be able to set time limits for each app. iOS will automatically notify you when you’re running out of time you’ve given to each application. A “time’s up” message will display when the counter runs out. If you want to continue using that application, you can simply request more time. Apple is also applying this abundance of usage data to parental controls, giving parents greater oversight and supervision over how often their kids are staring at a screen.
New Animoji Characters
The choice of new Animoji characters is expanding again with a ghost, koala, tiger, and tyrannosaurus rex. And starting with iOS 12, Animoji will be able to detect when you’re sticking out your tongue and mimic that.
Memoji that look like you
But the bigger advancement around personalized avatars is what Apple calls Memoji. In iOS 12, you’ll be able to create characters that have your own appearance, choosing skin color, hairstyle, and outfitting your Memoji with accessories. Samsung introduced this feature with the Galaxy S9.
Apple has been working with Pixar on a new file format specifically designed for augmented reality applications. It’s called USDZ, and Federighi likened it to “something like AR Quick Look.” A number of companies including Adobe, Autodesk, and Sketchfab have already announced that they’ll be integrating and building apps around USDZ.
Apple is trying to establish iOS as the platform that’s leading breakthroughs for the unique, mixed world experiences that AR makes possible. The company is updating its ARKit framework and giving developers the ability to create shared experiences; two users on different iPhones can see the same thing when running the same app.
The Photos app in iOS 12 will automatically offer up search suggestions. And a new “For You” tab will suggest filters and effects you might want to apply to images you’ve taken. Photos will also now make sharing suggestions. Friends who receive photos are prompted to share back their own pics and video from the same event. A lot of these new features are a clear attempt by Apple to catch up to Google Photos.
CarPlay GETTING Google Maps and Waze
Apple announced that its in-car platform CarPlay will add support for two of the most popular turn-by-turn navigation apps — Google Maps and Waze — after the launch of iOS 12.
Voice Memos app on iPad
Apple announced that the Voice Memos app will come to the iPad with the release of iOS 12 with recordings available across devices thanks to iCloud syncing.
iBooks is now Apple Books
Apple is rebranding its ebook app from iBooks to Apple Books. Along with the name change comes a refreshed design that focuses on discoverability. A new Book Store tab “makes it easy to explore new titles and browse the top charts, curated collections, and special offers,” according to Apple.
The Apple News app is getting minor improvements such as a new Browse tab.
For the first time in years, Apple is putting real work into the iPhone’s built-in Stocks app. It’s coming to iPad, will support after-hours stock prices, and will now include content from Apple News that might be relevant to your current investments or influencing the market.