Apple Releases iOS 12 With Faster Performance, Memoji, Siri Shortcuts, Screen Time, Revamped Maps App, ARKit 2.0, and More
Apple today officially released iOS 12, the latest operating system designed for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. iOS 12 is available on all devices able to run iOS 11, which includes the iPhone 5s and later, the iPad mini 2 and later, the iPad Air and later, and the 6th-generation iPod touch.
The update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings --> General --> Software Update. It could potentially take a few minutes for the update to propagate to all users due to high demand. As with all iOS updates, iOS 12 is free to download.
iOS 12 is a major update that brings several new features and upgrades to Apple's iOS devices, along with some significant performance improvements. Apple has revamped the operating system from top to bottom to make iPhones and iPads, especially the older models, faster and more responsive.
Apps open more speedily than before, the keyboard pops up faster, and the Camera launches much quicker. Apple has also introduced optimizations for when the system is under load, making iOS devices faster when you need performance most.
On the iPhone X (and upcoming XS and XS Max models), there are new Animoji characters (Ghost, Koala, Tiger, and T-Rex) along with "Memoji," which are customizable, personalized, humanoid Animoji that can be used both in Messages and in FaceTime, plus there are fun new camera effects in both of those apps.
Apple originally planned to introduce Group FaceTime support in iOS 12, but the feature was removed during the beta testing period. It will be reintroduced later this fall in a future iOS 12 update.
Siri is smarter than ever in iOS 12 with a new Shortcuts feature designed to let you create multi-step customized automations using first and third-party apps that can be activated with Siri voice commands. Shortcuts can be created through the Shortcuts app, which Apple is releasing alongside iOS 12.
Apple built comprehensive time management and monitoring tools into iOS 12 with Screen Time, allowing you to keep track of how much time you're spending in apps on your iPhone and iPad. App limits can help you cut back on iOS device usage, and robust parental controls are included for families.
Updated Do Not Disturb options make activating Do Not Disturb more intuitive and simple, and a new Do Not Disturb at Bedtime feature cuts down on nighttime distractions and sleep interruptions by hiding notifications at night.
Grouped Notifications make incoming notifications easier to view and manage, while a new Instant Tuning feature lets you tweak your notification settings right on the Lock screen on a notification-by-notification basis to cut down on the number of notifications you receive.
Apple News has a new Browse feature, the Stocks app has been redesigned and brought to the iPad, iBooks has been overhauled with a new look and a new name -- Apple Books -- and Voice Memos has been revamped with iCloud support and an iPad app.
ARKit 2.0 introduces new capabilities like shared experiences that let two people see the same AR environment on separate devices, and persistence, which allows AR experiences to be saved across multiple sessions. There's also a new Apple-built Measure app for measuring objects using AR functionality.
iOS 12 includes a revamped and rebuilt Maps app that uses a new Apple-designed Maps engine that displays foliage, pools, buildings, pedestrian pathways, and other map elements more accurately. The new Maps also includes significant improvements to traffic, real-time road conditions, construction, and more, plus it lets Apple push out changes and fixes more quickly.
The updated Maps app is available in the Northern California area during beta testing and at launch. Following iOS 12's public release, Apple plans to continue rolling out the new Maps app to additional U.S. locations.
For a complete rundown on all of the features that are included in iOS 12, make sure to check out our iOS 12 roundup. Apple's full iOS 12 release notes are also listed below.
iOS 12 brings performance improvements and exciting new features to iPhone and iPad. Photos introduces new features to help you rediscover and share the photos in your library, Memoji--a new, more customizable Animoji--make Messages more expressive and fun, Screen Time helps you and your family understand and make the most of the time spent on devices, Siri Shortcuts deliver a faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri, augmented reality becomes even more engaging with the ability for developers to create shared AR experiences, and new privacy features help protect you from being tracked on the web. This update introduces new features and improvements to:
- iOS has been enhanced for a faster and more responsive experience across the system
- All supported devices see improved performance, going back to iPhone 5s and iPad Air
- Camera launches up to 70 percent faster, the keyboard appears up to 50 percent faster and typing is more responsive*
- Apps launch up to twice as fast when your device is under heavy workload*
- New For You tab helps you discover great photos in your library with Featured Photos, Effect Suggestions, and more
- Sharing Suggestions proactively recommend sharing photos taken at events with the people who are in them
- Search enhancements make it easier to find your photos with intelligent suggestions and multiple keyword support
- Search for photos based on the place, business name, or event where you were when you took them
- Improved camera import with faster performance and a new large preview mode
- RAW support for editing images
- Portrait mode improvements preserve fine detail between subject and background when using Stage Light and Stage Light Mono effects
- QR codes are highlighted in the camera frame, making them easier to scan
- Memoji, a new, more customizable Animoji, make Messages more expressive with personalized characters that are diverse and fun
- Animoji now also include T. rex, ghost, koala, and tiger
- Make Memoji and Animoji wink and stick out their tongue
- New camera effects bring Animoji, filters, text effects, iMessage sticker packs, and shapes to the photos and videos you capture in Messages
- Animoji recordings can now capture up to 30 seconds
- Screen Time provides detailed information and tools to help you and your family find the right balance of time spent with apps and websites
- See the time spent in apps, usage across categories of apps, how many notifications are received, and how often devices are picked up
- App limits help you set the amount of time you or your child can spend in apps and on websites
- Screen Time for kids lets parents manage how their child uses iPhone and iPad right from their own iOS devices
Do Not Disturb
- Turn off Do Not Disturb after a set time, location or calendar event
- Do Not Disturb during Bedtime hides all notifications from your lock screen while you sleep
- Notifications from the same app are automatically grouped together to help you manage your notifications
- Instant Tuning gives you control over your notification settings right from the lock screen
- New Deliver Quietly option silently sends notifications directly to Notification Center without interrupting you
- Siri Shortcuts deliver a faster way to get things done with the ability for any app to work with Siri
- Add shortcuts using the "Add to Siri" button in supported apps, or in Settings > Siri and Search
- Siri suggests shortcuts on the Lock screen and in Search
- Get motorsports results, schedules, stats and standings for Formula 1, Nascar, Indy 500 and MotoGP
- Search for photos by time, location, people, topic or recent trips to find relevant photos and Memories in Photos
- Translate phrases in more languages, with support for over 40 language pairs
- Check facts about celebrities, such as when they were born, and ask questions about food, including calories and nutrient content
- Turn flashlight on or off
- More natural and expressive voice now available in Irish English, South African English, Danish, Norwegian, Cantonese and Mandarin (Taiwan)
- Shared experiences in ARKit 2 let developers create innovative AR apps you can experience together with friends
- Persistence enables developers to save and reload experiences right from where you left off
- Object detection and image tracking gives developers new tools to recognize real world objects and track images while they move through space
- AR Quick Look extends AR throughout iOS, letting you view AR objects with built-in apps like News, Safari, and Files and share them with friends with iMessage and Mail
- New augmented reality app to measure objects and spaces
- Draw lines across surfaces or in free space to measure, and tap on a line's label to see more information
- Automatically measure rectangular objects
- Capture, share and markup screenshots of your measurements
Privacy and Security
- Enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari prevents embedded content and social media buttons from tracking cross-site browsing without your permission
- Suppresses ad retargeting by reducing advertisers' ability to identify iOS devices uniquely
- Strong and unique passwords are suggested automatically when creating an account or changing a password in most apps and in Safari
- Reused passwords are flagged in Settings > Passwords & Accounts
- Security code AutoFill presents one-time security codes sent over SMS as suggestions in the QuickType bar
- Sharing passwords with contacts is easier than ever using AirDrop from Passwords & Accounts in Settings
- Siri supports quickly navigating to a password on an authenticated device
- All-new design that makes discovering and enjoying books and audiobooks easy and fun
- Reading Now makes it simple to get back to the book you're currently reading or find great recommendations for what to read next
- Add books to the new Want to Read collection to keep track of what you'd like to read next
- The Book Store makes it easy to find your next favorite read with new and popular selections from our Apple Books editors and recommendations chosen just for you
- The new Audiobooks store helps you find immersive stories and informative nonfiction books narrated by your favorite authors, actors, and celebrities
- Search now supports lyrics so you can use a few of the words to find a song
- Artist pages have an easier to browse design with a personalized station of any artist's music
- The new Friends Mix is a playlist of songs you'll love from everything your friends are listening to
- New charts to show you the daily top 100 songs in countries around the world
- Apple News is redesigned to make it easier to discover new channels and topics
- The new sidebar on iPad and Channels tab on iPhone make it easy to jump straight to your favorite publications and discover new ones
- All-new design lets you easily view stock quotes, interactive charts, and top news on iPhone and iPad
- Top Stories section includes articles selected by Apple News editors to highlight the latest news driving the market
- Read Apple News stories right in the app, formatted to look great on iPhone and iPad
- Watchlist includes color-coded sparklines that let you see daily performance at a glance
- See an interactive chart for every ticker symbol, plus key details including after-hours price, trading volume, and more
- All-new design with improved ease of use
- iCloud keeps your recordings and edits in sync across all of your devices
- Available on iPad with support for both portrait and landscape orientation
- Get notified when movies and TV shows are available to watch in Up Next
- Share your favorite movies, TV shows, and sporting events with universal links
- Now supports chapters for shows that include them
- Skip 30 seconds or to the next chapter with forward and back buttons in your car or on your headphones
- Easily manage new episode notifications from the Listen Now screen
- Live Listen now works with AirPods to help you hear more clearly
- RTT phone calling now works with AT&T
- Speak Selection now supports using the Siri voice to speak text that you have selected
Other features and improvements
- Camera effects in FaceTime transform your look in real-time
- CarPlay adds support for third-party navigation apps
- On supported campuses, use contactless student ID cards in Wallet to access buildings and pay with Apple Pay
- Website icons can appear in tabs on iPad by enabling them in Settings > Safari
- Weather includes air quality index in supported regions
- Quickly swipe up from the bottom of the screen to go home on iPad
- Swipe down from the top right to access Control Center on iPad
- Mark Up includes a palette of additional colors and options to change line width and opacity for each tool
- Battery usage chart in Settings now shows your usage for the last 24 hours or 10 days, and you can tap a bar to see app use for that period of time
- On devices without 3D Touch, touch and hold the keyboard Space bar to turn your keyboard into a trackpad
- Maps adds support for indoor maps for airports and malls with indoor positioning in China
- New definition dictionary in Hebrew, and bilingual dictionaries in Arabic and English, and Hindi and English
- New English thesaurus
- Automatic software updates allow iOS updates to be installed automatically overnight
We've also got a long list of how tos to walk you through all of the new features introduced in iOS 12, which are available through the how to section of our roundup.