iOS updates roll out initially in a beta, or pre-release testing version. The official version follows after. The iOS 12 developer preview is available now, but as the name suggests that’s for registered developers only. iOS 12 will be available around September for Public. The performance gains are all about optimizing the system when under load, Apple said. iOS 12 ramps up performance immediately when it’s needed, then ramps it down when not needed to preserve battery life. Let’s look the cool new features of iOS 12


Siri gets a new feature called Shortcuts. These are (potentially multi-step) voice-triggered actions tailored to individual apps.Any app can add Shortcuts. It just displays an ‘Add to Siri’ icon, and this allows you to create a voice shortcut for a specific feature of that app. Examples include “Help me relax” triggering a meditation app, and “Order my usual groceries”.Siri in iOS 12 will contextually suggest shortcuts in the lock screen: if you order a coffee every morning, it will suggest triggering an action in the Starbucks app, say. Or it will suggest “Turn on Do Not Disturb” when you’re at a cinema, or remind you to call your grandmother on her birthday. You can create your own shortcuts with Shortcuts app – a shortcut for “surf time”, for instance, might get the weather and an ETA to the beach, set up a reminder to put on sunscreen and so on.

FaceTime Finally Has Group Calls

One main change here, but it’s a biggie: group FaceTime, with up to 32 participants.The interface is weird and is going to take some getting used to, but it’s quite clever too: it automatically resizes to make a participant’s box larger when they’re speaking.

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It’s Easier to Search for Photos

When you’re searching for a photo in the Photos app, Siri will provided suggestions based on previous searches or because of the current time. According to Apple: “Even before you start typing, you’ll see suggestions for recent events, people, and places. And as you type, the results are smarter and more powerful, and you can refine them by adding multiple keywords.”

The Control Center Got a New Control

The default Camera app can already scan QR codes, but now there’s a dedicated “Scan QR Code” control available to add to your Control Center. This is not a new tool, but just a “shortcut” to scanning QR codes in the stock Camera app. Depending on how fast you are with opening the app on the lock screen and switching to “Photo” mode, if even necessary, this might come in handy. It both serves as a reminder that the Camera app can indeed scan QR codes and makes sure you always land on the “Photos” mode instead of your most recently used “Video,” “Pano,” or whatever else mode.

Safari Prevents Data Collection

While there are already some tools for keeping your data safe from third-party advertisers, Safari in iOS 12 goes a step beyond by preventing share buttons and comments widgets on web pages from tracking you without your permission. In addition to that, advertisers can’t acquire your device’s unique characteristics. What that means is that they won’t be able to target ads based on your device model, and they son’t be able to re-target ads across the web.

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Autofill Security Codes Texted to You

Instead of having to remember or copy/paste security codes from the Messages app that you receive for other apps and services, SMS one-time passcodes will now appear automatically as AutoFill suggestions. No more memorizing or typing them out anymore!

Usage monitoring, limits and allowances

iOS 12 provides screentime reports: a weekly activity summary that tells you how much you used your iPhone or iPad during day and night, and how much time in each app. It also tells you which apps send the most notifications. All this information could be handy in letting you decide how to adjust your usage.If you want to get more prescriptive, it’s possible to set app limits. You’ll get a “helpful” (probably deeply annoying, albeit useful) notification saying time is almost up, and then a lockout screen after that. (Although it will be possible to negotiate an extension!)

iOS 12 release date & new features: Screentime

You will presumably not allow extensions when creating app usage allowances for your kids, and stipulating downtime. Parental controls are generally improved in iOS 12, enabling you to set app limits by categories, or set apps that they can always get at – the Phone app, most obviously, or education apps.


Some quicker updates, now, as Apple announces changes to a number of its default apps. First of all, News.News has had a redesign to make it more suitable for iPad use. It gets a new Browse tab, which Apple says makes it easier to jump to favourites. And there’s a new sidebar.

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This may be of limited general interest, but those who use Stocks regularly will be pleased to hear the two updates for this app.Firstly, that Apple News is coming to Stocks. Business news headlines will appear within the app, allowing you to click and see the full article without leaving Stocks. This will make the most sense on the larger screen of an iPad, which is the second update: Stocks is coming to iPad at last! In this format you’ll be able to view your stocks on the left, and financial news on the right.

Voice memos

This too has been redesigned to be easier to use. And it’s also coming to iPad!


iBooks gets a new design, and a new name: Apple Books. There’s a new feature called Reading Now, which lets you pick up where you left off. And a new store that Apple says is easier for browsing.


Now supports third-party navigation apps. If you actually have a vehicle that supports CarPlay, you can now use it with third-party apps like Waze and Google Maps instead of just Apple Maps.

Do Not Disturb

iOS 12 release date & new features: Do Not Disturb During Bedtime

There’s a wide range of new features in iOS 12 designed to limit distractions, focus on the things that are important to you, and generally improve the balance between your iOS devices and the rest of your life. There’s a new feature called Do Not Disturb During Bedtime. With this activated, you won’t see all notifications during the preset Bedtime hours, even if you can turn on your device’s screen. In the morning you can tap when you want to see them.

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And there are more updates for Do Not Disturb. You can set an ending for a DND: when you leave somewhere, or at a specified time. This could be handy for playtime with the kids, or when attending a wedding or important meeting.


iOS 12 release date & new features: Grouped notifications

Notifications will allow more control over how many you receive: Apple refers to this as ‘instant tuning’ from the lock screen. Press into a notification and you’ll be able to decide whether to turn off notifications from that source entirely, or simply tune the circumstances under which it notifies you.

Siri will also suggest turning off notifications you’re no longer using, and we now (as long requested!) get grouped notifications. They will be grouped by app, by topic, by thread. You can tap into a grouped notification, look at the group in more detail, then ‘triage’ the whole group with a single swipe.


Search in Photos has been updated. You can search for cards, dog, flowers… there are already smart object searches in iOS 11 but it seems there will be far more categories in iOS 12.More ambitiously, iOS 12 thinks about photo searches before you do, offering search suggestions: places you’ve taken photos, events, categories such as hiking. Photos indexes millions of events, and you can use this to find photos you took at that event.

It also tries to predict what photos you’d like to share. It pre-ticks photos that it thinks you’ll want to share, and people to share them with. Ingeniously, their phone then searches for photos at the same event, and suggests sending them back.Finally, there’s a new tab in Photos: For You. This shows featured photos, ‘On This Day’, Effects Suggestions, shared album activity and more

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Augmented reality

As part of the iOS 12 update, Apple is launching ARKit 2. Augmented reality is a major component of the new OS.First of all, Apple announced a new file format for augmented reality, called USDZ. This means developers and designers can create an AR ‘experience’ in this format, then send it via Mail, load it to websites, share it across a system and so on. There will be native USDZ support in Adobe Creative Cloud, covering apps such as Photoshop. Apple demonstrated the clever measurement tools made possible by ARKit 2. You can view a real-world object using your iPhone’s camera, tap two points on a table, for example, and see a measurement for its length and width. More impressively, you can view a rectangular object such as a photo and the system will automatically recognise the shape and give you measurements. AR content will now appear in the News app – you’ll be able to tap to zoom in, manipulate the object in 3D and so on. And lots of websites will start to display AR content too: such as the Fender website offering configuration options then letting you see your guitar in the real world, at real size.

iOS 12 release date & new features: ARKit 2

Finally, ARKit will allow shared experiences. In AR games, for example, two players on separate iPads will be able to separately observe the gameplay from their viewpoint (and a third, neutral observer will be able to views things separately too).

App Limits Let You Enjoy the Real World More

As part of Digital Health, you can use the “App Limits” menu to set time limits for individual apps that you frequently use. Reminders will tell you that you’re almost out of time for using the app, though you can ignore it if necessary. This syncs across all your iOS devices, so you can’t cheat by using a timed-out app on another device.

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Which iPads & iPhones can run iOS 12?

All the devices that could run iOS 11 can also run iOS 12. That means:

  • iPad Pro (10.5), iPad Pro (12.9, 2017)
  • iPad 2017, iPad 2018
  • iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4
  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X
  • iPod touch (sixth generation)

iOS 12 release date & new features: Which iPads & iPhones can run iOS 12?

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