Apple has released today the highly anticipated iOS 12 software update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices, a major release that adds numerous new features, dozens of improvements, and a bunch of new and exciting apps.
More four months in the works, the iOS 12 operating system is a major update and a worthy one that brings much-needed performance improvements to older iPhone and iPad devices, making them much faster, while making all supported devices more reliable, stable, and secure.
With iOS 12, users will experience twice as fast app launch times under heavy workloads, up to 70 percent faster swipe to Camera gesture, as well as up to 50 percent faster keyboard display. But that's not all, as iOS 12 includes numerous new features and enhancements listed in the next paragraphs.
Here's what's new in iOS 12
Highlights of iOS 12 include a new Screen Time feature available in the Settings app that promises to fight iPhone and iPad addiction among children, as well as anyone else who wants to manage their screen time. It displays detailed information about your usage and offers new ways for parents to limit the usage of their child's iOS devices.
iOS 12 also brings the long-anticipated grouped notifications by automatically grouping notifications together from the same app, along with a new Deliver Quietly option to silently send notifications without interrupting you. Users will also be able to quickly control the notification settings from the lock screen on their iPhone and iPad devices.
Siri in iOS 12 is more intelligent and proactive thanks to Siri Shortcuts, a new app developed by Apple to offer iPhone and iPad users new ways to get things done and be more productive. Siri Shortcuts can be installed from the App Store and works pretty much like the IFTT or Apple's own Workflow app.
A new app is available in iOS 12, called Measure, which is preinstalled by default and can be uninstalled if you don't want to use it. However, the Measure app lets you measure objects and spaces near you by drawing lines across surfaces or in free space. It can also automatically measure rectangular objects, as well as to capture, mark up, and share screenshots of measurements.
iOS 12 also revamps and renames the iBooks app to Books, giving users new ways to view and manage their digital books library, and introduces a new Audiobooks store. New accessibility features are also present in iOS 12, including RTT phone calling support for AT&T, as well as Siri voice support for Speak Selection to speak selected text.
Photos, Messages, Podcasts, TV, Voice Memos, Apple News, and Apple Music apps
iOS 12 brings a much-improved Photos app with a new "For You" tab that helps you discover great photos from your photo library, RAW support for editing images, faster camera imports with a new large preview mode, enhanced search with intelligent suggestions and support for multiple keywords, and new Sharing Suggestion feature.
The Photos app also lets you search for photos based on places, events, and business names. The Camera app also improved in iOS 12 with Portrait mode enhancements for fine tuning the blur effect (bokeh) between the subject and the background when using either the Stage Light or Stage Light Mono effects, as well as easier QR codes scanning.
The Messages app is now more expressive with customizable Animoji, also known as Memoji, on iPhone X and later. Four new Animoji are available in iOS 12, including T-Rex, Koala, Tiger, and Ghost. Users will also be able to make Animoji and Memoji wink and stick out their tongue, as well as to capture up to 30 seconds of Animoji recordings.
The Podcasts app received support for chapters on shows that support them, support for managing new episode notifications from the Listen Now screen, and it now lets you skip 30 seconds back or forward in a podcast on your car or on your headphones, as well as to skip to the next chapter by using the forward and back buttons.
The Apple Music app now supports searching of lyrics, includes a new Friends Mix playlist with all the songs you will probably want to listen to from your friends (based on your listening history), redesigns the artist pages with personalized stations, and introduces new charts with daily Top 100 songs.
The Voice Memos app now has an all-new design and support for storing your recordings in your iCloud account, and it's finally available for iPad devices with support for both landscape and portrait orientation. The TV app was updated as well with notifications for your favorite TV shows and movies, and the ability to share them with your friends.
The Apple News app was redesigned as well in iOS 12 to make it easier for users to discover new news topics and channels, and it now displays a new sidebar on iPad devices and a new Channels tab on iPhone devices to make it easier to navigate to your favorite publications or discover new ones.
New iPad features, other new features and improvements
iPad users can now view website icons (favicons) in Safari tabs, more quickly access the home screen by swiping up from the bottom of the screen, and access the Control Centre standalone by swiping down from the top right area of the screen. iOS 12 also adds the current date to the top left side of the screen.
Among other noteworthy new features and improvements included in iOS 12, we can mention support for third-party navigation apps for the CarPlay app, support for scanning NFC codes in the background, including contactless student ID cards, and support for shown air quality indexes in the Weather app in select regions.
iOS 12 lets users of devices without 3D Touch to enable the trackpad mode of the on-screen keyboard by touching and holding the keyboard Space bar, enhances the Battery feature with new 24 hours and 10 days usage statistics, and adds support for indoor maps for airports and shopping centers in the Maps app.
Privacy and security enhancements, Do Not Disturb improvements, new AR experiences
iOS 12 improves the security and privacy of your iPhone and iPad devices by implementing Enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari to prevent embedded content and social media buttons from tracking your online activity across sites your visit without your permission.
Furthermore, iOS 12 is capable of suppressing ad retargeting by reducing the way advertisers identify iOS devices, implements stronger and unique passwords that are automatically suggested to users when they create new accounts online or update the credential of existing ones.
iOS 12 now flags reused passwords in Settings > Passwords & Accounts, enhancing the security of your online accounts. It can also automatically fill one-off security codes sent over SMS messages when using the two-factor authentication method, and makes sharing of passwords with your contacts easier via AirDrop.
The AR (Augmented Reality) capabilities of iOS have been enhanced thanks to ARKit 2, which lets application developer delivers new AR experiences in your hands. The Do Not Disturb feature was improved as well to let you turn it off after a specific time, or based on your location or a calendar event.
How to update to iOS 12 and compatible devices
iOS 12 doesn't drop any devices supported by iOS 11, so it's available for iPhone 5s, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
Supported iPad devices include iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad 5th generation, iPad 6th generation, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, 10.5-inch iPad Pro, 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation, and 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation.
It's also available for iPod touch 6th generation. Users can now update their devices to iOS 12 by opening the Settings app and going to General > Software Update. Follow the instructions on the screen to download the install the iOS 12 software update on your device.