At the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, Apple announced updates for iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS. This year, Apple revealed iOS 12 as the successor to last year’s iOS 11. iOS 12 seems to emphasize performance improvements for Apple’s devices rather than introducing groundbreaking features.
By rolling out new features gradually through minor point updates going forward, it will prevent Apple’s engineers from having to scramble to fix bugs as soon as a new major operating system is released as they had to in the past.
The flagship features of iOS 11 included Apple Pay Cash, Do Not Disturb While Driving, real-time Siri translations, a customizable Control Center, the new Files app, document scanning in the Notes app, multitasking in iPad, indoor mall and airport maps and redesigned News, Music and App Store apps. And iOS 12 is bringing substantial performance improvements, Group FaceTime, customizable Animoji known as Memoji, seamless Camera Effect sharing, ARKit 2, Screen Time, better Notification Center and Do Not Disturb controls, Search Suggestions in Photos, a new Measure app, shortcuts with Siri, additional privacy controls in Safari and several redesigned Apple apps.
Developers are able to download a preview of iOS 12 through developer.apple.com now. And there will be a public beta program available for iOS users at beta.apple.com. iOS 12 is expected to be rolled out to the public in September, but here is an in-depth breakdown of the iOS 12 features:
iOS 12 has been enhanced for a faster and more responsive experience. Under stress tests, iOS 12 saw a faster share sheet display at up to 2x faster under load and a 2x faster app launch under load.
Launching the camera and typing on the keyboard is even faster going back to the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air. And swiping to the camera is up to 70% faster and the keyboard display is up to 50% faster.
One of the biggest updates to iOS 12 is ARKit 2. ARKit is a platform that brings immersive augmented reality experiences to devices. And ARKit makes it easy for developers to create augmented reality experiences by placing virtual objects into your environment. ARKit combines details from the motion sensors in your device with data from cameras so that your iPhone and iPad can better analyze surroundings.
ARKit 2 improves upon the augmented reality experience with improved face tracking, 3D object detection, realistic rendering, persistent experiences and shared experiences. Apple also pointed out that AR objects can be sent with Messages and Mail and then viewed in the real world.
Four New Animoji And “Tongue Detection”
Apple is bringing four new Animoji in iOS 12. The four new Animoji include the koala, tiger, ghost and T. rex. These Animoji can be added into Messages and FaceTime calls on the iPhone X.
Animoji is also getting a feature known as “tongue detection.” So you can stick your tongue out to make the Animoji experience even more fun. And winks are also going to be supported. Animoji now supports clip recordings of up to 30 seconds as well.
The ability to have group video chat using FaceTime has been highly demanded for a while now. iOS 12 includes the ability to group chat with up to 32 people simultaneously. Users can start Group FaceTime sessions from a group thread in Messages or they can join an active one.
Everyone who is in the Group FaceTime session will appear in a tile. Once someone starts speaking, that user’s tile will increase in size automatically. Or you can double-tap the person you would like to see closer up.
Memoji is a new feature that allows you to create an Animoji for yourself. You can customize hairstyle, skin tones, facial hair, headwear, eyewear, etc. Essentially, Memoji makes it possible to create an Animoji that matches your personality and mood.
Apple also said you can make “as many alter egos as you want to use in Messages and FaceTime.” Animoji is currently available for just the iPhone X, but Apple is expected to release more devices that will support Animoji and Memoji this September.
Camera Effects For Livening Up Conversations
Apple is adding a way to liven up conversations in Messages and FaceTime using the in-app camera. With the in-app camera, you can quickly create and share photos or videos with filters, text effects, stickers, Animoji and Memoji.
There are new filters like classic black and white, comic book and watercolor. And there are text effects such as speech bubbles. Plus you can add shapes like stars, hearts and arrows.
By enhancing its augmented reality technology, Apple is introducing a new app called Measure. Measure is able to measure real-world objects by pointing the camera at each corner. While on-stage at WWDC, Apple’s Craig Federighi demonstrated how the app worked at measuring the size of a suitcase by pointing the camera at it:
And Federighi also showed how the Measure app can automatically detect the dimensions of a photo when the camera was pointed at one on stage.
iOS 12 includes a new feature called Screen Time. Screen Time quantifies how much time you and your kids spend in front of the screen playing games, visiting websites, browsing social networks, etc. And with the Screen Time app, you can limit how much time you and your kids spend on the screen.
The Screen Time app will show you a weekly activity summary with app usage. And it will also show how often per hour you pick up your phone and the apps that send you the most notifications.
Parents and guardians will be able to use the family Apple ID to set up Screen Time for kids to see how much time they spend on apps and websites. Limits can be set and kids can request more time for you to approve. This is a great feature to reward kids after they finish their homework.
Do Not Disturb Enhancements
iOS 12 also made several improvements to Do Not Disturb. iOS 12 will include options to set Do Not Disturb for an hour and certain time frames like “Until this evening.” And Do Not Disturb can be made location-based so you can have it turned off until you leave a certain location or until the end of an event on your calendar.
There is also a feature called Do Not Disturb Bedtime. This feature will dim the display and silence overnight notifications until the iPhone is unlocked again in the morning.
Notification Grouping And Management
Every day, I receive dozens of notifications from email, social media, news and stocks apps to the point that it can become overwhelming. Fortunately, iOS 12 will have several improvements for notifications.
iOS 12 will help you reduce interruptions by offering a way to manage notifications in real-time from the Lock Screen. For example, you can select an option to deliver notifications quietly so it will show up in the notification center and in the app icon, but will not appear on the Lock Screen, present banners or play sounds. Or you will be shown an option to turn off notifications for a specific app from the notification management menu:
The Notification Center will also be able to group together message threads and notification topics. This should help clear up the clutter on your notification center and help you prioritize:
And as you interact with notifications, Siri will start making intelligent suggestions about how you interact with them. For example, Siri will suggest you turn off notifications for apps that you are no longer using:
For You Tab And Search Suggestions In Photos
The Photos app is gaining a new For You tab that will show moments from your photo library and suggests sharing photos with the people in them. If the recipients also have iOS 12, then they will be prompted to share photos from the same event with you as well.
The Photos app will gain a search suggestion feature offering a way to find the exact photo you are looking for or find one that you forgot about. As you start typing in the search function in the Photos app, you will see suggestions for events, people and places.
Apple added a few subtle improvements to Photos as well. There will be a way to easier import photos and videos from your professional cameras while on-the-go. And it will be easier to import and manage RAW photos on your iPhone and iPad and edit on your iPad Pro. Plus the Albums tab has been cleaned up and there will be improved Portrait modes.
In iOS 12, Siri is going to be able to detect your daily routines and automatically trigger third-party apps on a schedule. This feature is known as Shortcuts. So if you typically buy a coffee before going to work, Siri will suggest you to place an order with that app from the Lock Screen. And you will be able to set up shortcuts using your voice or with a Shortcuts app. If you use IFTTT, then this feature may seem similar to you.
Apple has renamed iBooks to Apple Books. And Apple Books has been redesigned in a way that makes it easier to discover, read and listen to books and audiobooks.
Stocks App Revamped
Apple has revamped the Stocks app with stock quotes, charts and contextual reports from Apple News. The Stocks app also has sparkline charts that show stock performance throughout the day. After hours pricing of the stocks are also being added. And the Stocks app is coming to the iPad as well.
New Apple News App Features
The Apple News app feature has a new Browse feature to discover interesting content. And there is a sidebar for quickly navigating to the news sources and topics that you prefer.
Voice Memos is being updated so that it is easier to use. Voice Memos are being brought to the iPad and it will work with iCloud support so you can access your voice memos across multiple devices in sync.
Third-Party Navigation Apps For CarPlay
With Apple CarPlay, iOS 12 will support third-party navigation apps like Google Maps and Waze. This way you can select from the navigational app of your choice while driving.
Student ID Cards In Wallet
iOS 12 is adding the ability for students to add their Student ID to the Wallet app. This way users can use their iPhone and Apple Watch to access places like dorms, libraries and student events. And students will be able to pay for snacks, dinners and laundry with Student ID Cards in Wallet. This feature will be available this fall starting with Duke University, Temple University, John Hopkins University, The University of Oklahoma, Santa Clara University and The University of Alabama.
Additional Privacy Protection
Apple is integrating additional privacy into iOS 12. For example, Safari in iOS 12 will prevent Share buttons and comment widgets on websites from tracking you without permission. And Safari in iOS 12 is going to prevent advertisers from collecting the unique characteristics of your device so they cannot identify it or retarget ads to you. Plus there will be a cookie permission notification:
Apple can also create unique and complex passwords for all of your apps and websites so you can use more secure passwords without having to remember what it is. And to make the process of SMS one-time passcodes easier, Apple will automatically fill out the passcodes in Safari as you receive them in text messages.
USDZ File Format
In collaboration with Pixar, Apple developed a new file format called Universal Scene Description (USDZ). The USDZ file format makes it easier for 3D creators to develop animations that are optimized for mobile devices in the form of a compact single file and in an open file format. This makes it easier to share augmented reality objects in Mail, Safari and Messages while retaining high image quality.
There are a number of other useful features included in iOS 12 that I may have missed in this article. But as iOS 12 rolls out in the fall, I will be sure to highlight all of the other major and minor features that may have been missed here.