Whenever a new iOS update rolls out it seems to carry a bit of trepidation. Will it slow down my iPhone or iPad? Will it sap my battery life? That red notification dot hovers over your Settings app, seeming to stare into your soul, taunting you to just download me. Now it’s iOS 12’s turn to do just that – the update is available to most iPhones (iPhone 5C or later) and iPads (from 2013 or later). So, should you download it?
The answer is yes. Download the hell out of it (but backup your device first). Apple claims that its newest software update makes your iPhone and iPad much faster. It allows you to open the camera up to 70-percent faster while launching apps up to 40-percent faster than on iOS 11. And it can handle running more apps at once. Basically, it’s just going to make your iOS device better, even if your device is several years old.
But that’s not all. iOS 12 obviously comes with a heap of new features and apps, and probably more than past iOS updates, you’ll actually want to take advantage of them. These are our favorite reasons to download iOS 12 right now.
Editor’s Note: Some of iOS 12’s coolest features aren’t available quite yet. For starters, there’s Group FaceTime, which allows you to video chat with up to 32 people at once. Apple’s website currently says that this feature is expected to be available “this fall.”
Grouped Notifications, Boo-yah
Previously, managing your notifications was a bit of a nightmare, especially if you’re relying on many apps to send you these push notifications. They piled up. And you’d see the meaningless ones (like when a rando wants to connect on LinkedIn) and miss the important ones (like your home security camera alerting you when your child gets home). iOS 12 introduces the ability to group notifications. Everything from the same app gets piled into one notification tab on your Lock Screen or Control Center. From there, you can clear them all or manage them. You can even choose to have an app deliver its notifications “quietly” so that they appear in your Notification Center but not on your Lock Screen. It’s simple and convenient.
Manage Your App Use with Screen Time
Screen Time is a new feature that you’ll find in the Settings menu and it simply lets you know which apps you’re using most often, and how much time you’re spending on each during the day. More importantly, it lets you manage how much time you spend on apps. Scrolling through Instagram or Twitter too much and you want to quell your addiction? Set limits on how much time you can use the apps or schedule Do Not Disturb times for your device. It’s actually is a pretty good productivity tool.
Apple iBooks Is Now a Bonefide Audible Rival
The new Apple iBooks app has been drastically updated with new navigation tabs and larger, clear images. It’s poised to be an all-around more pleasant experience for anybody who reads books on their iOS device. More importantly, for the first time, the iBooks app now has a dedicated tab for Audiobooks, meaning this is Apple’s full-on counter to Amazon’s popular Audible app.
Voice Memos Is Now on iPad
Apple’s extremely popular recording app, Voice Memos, is now available on iPad. Admittedly, it’s surprising that it’s taken this long for it to get there, but for the many journalists with numerous iOS devices, this is a godsend. Their recordings will instantly carry over to all their iOS devices (as long as they share an iCloud account) so there’s no need to go the AirDrop, Email or Dropbox route. Again, it’s just convenient.
Repeat Passwords Are Easy to Spot (and Change)
We’re all guilty of it, using the same password (or some derivative of it) over and over again. It’s easy, convenient and arguably the most surefire way of getting your password stolen. That’s why with iOS 12 your device will let you know if you’re overusing the same password too frequently. When you go Settings > Passwords & Accounts > Website & App Passwords you’ll see an “!” mark on all the apps that you have a repeat password. (This is also a great way to remind yourself of a certain password if you’ve forgotten.)
Share Photos with Your Family and Friends Is Easier Than Ever
It seems like a simple thing, to take a photo of somebody and then share that photo with that person in it, but it actually takes a lot of AI facial recognition magic. Well, now the Photos app is capable of doing just that. iOS 12 brings about Sharing Suggestions (prompted in the new “For You” tab) and once the Photos app recognizes somebody in your photo, it’ll it ask if you want to share that photo with them. If your friends or family members also have iPhones, they can quickly share photos of you with you, too. And you can aggregate everybody’s photos from the same event into one album. This is convenient, say if you’re at a family party and everybody wants to share their photos.
Do Not Disturb, Improved
Do Not Disturb is more advanced in the latest iOS update. Nothing groundbreaking, but you’re now allowed to make the feature location-based – so you won’t receive notifications until you leave a specific place. You can also set Do Not Disturb to kick in until something on your calendar ends. Say you’re in school all day or you’re watching a game and you don’t want to be bothered by notifications.
More Playful Ways to Use Messages and FaceTime
Anybody with iPhone X or later will be able to create a Memoji, which is basically an Animoji that looks like you (a person) rather than a dog, fox, rabbit or a poop. That’s great. Not exclusive to the iPhone’s with Face ID is the ability to add filters, stickers and text to photos, similar to how Instagram does it. You can add also these fun things directly through Messages or FaceTime – just tap the new Effects button.