At Apple's June 2018 Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), iOS 12 was unveiled to the world in a massive 2 hour 15 minute keynote presentation. Apple didn't waste any time and brought up the elephant in the room: Performance on iOS.
Apple has been under fire recently for shortcomings with its mobile operating system, including widely publicized bugs and performance issues. With iOS 12, Apple is doubling down on performance and ensuring the new version of its mobile operating system works smoothly on all devices that it supports. iOS 12 will include improvements to Siri, iMessage, FaceTime, and tools to help you be more aware of, and control, your device usage.
iOS 12 will continue to undergo significant development from Apple until its release date and, it's safe to assume, after its release. This iOS 12 cheat sheet will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the latest information about the mobile operating system.
SEE: Job description: iOS developer (Tech Pro Research)
What is iOS 12, and will it work on my device?
iOS 12 is the 12th major iteration of Apple's mobile operating system called iOS. While the current version of iOS, version 11, brought many new features and fanfare, iOS 12 offers a slew of welcome performance improvements. These new changes should excite users, as well as iOS developers because their apps will launch much faster.
iOS 11 was able to run on a slew of devices, dating all the way back to products released in 2013. Any device that is capable of running iOS 11 will also be able to run iOS 12, thus extending the lifecycles of devices, which could benefit enterprises that provide employees with Apple mobile devices.
SEE: iOS 11 tips and tricks for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
iOS 12 is capable of running on the following iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices as of this writing (any newer devices released in 2018 will also be compatible):
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8 / 8 Plus
- iPhone 7 / 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s / 6s Plus
- iPhone 6 / 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5s
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad 5th generation
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
- iPod touch 6th generation
- iOS 12 is focused on performance, says Apple (ZDNet)
- Older iPhones, iPads will perform better on iOS 12, says Apple (ZDNet)
- iOS 12/watchOS 5/tvOS 12: Which devices are supported? (ZDNet)
- iOS 12 Preview (Apple)
What are the key features in iOS 12?
iOS 12 will come with performance improvements, including 70% faster access to the camera from the Lock Screen; 50% faster keyboard appearance; and 2x faster app launches when the device is under a heavy workload. All of these performance improvements are likely to significantly impact older devices, but will also boost newer devices like the iPhone X and iPad Pro, which are more capable of background tasks and more likely to run into strain under heavy workloads.
The other big change with iOS 12 is the ability for Siri to integrate with nearly all apps through a feature called Shortcuts. Developers will be able to provide a UI to users that gives them the ability to record a custom phrase that activates the app from within Siri on either iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. Apple announced that support for Siri Shortcuts will extend to the recently released HomePod; however, this was not demoed at WWDC 2018, and it is not clear how this feature will work.
Apple's recently acquired Workflow app has made a rebranded appearance as the Shortcuts app with minor UI changes. This app now integrates with Siri and the system more seamlessly to allow users to chain together actions from multiple apps in the Shortcuts app to make automation workflows that are voice activated.
A big change to iOS 12 is the redesigned FaceTime app (Figure A), which now allows for group conversations—a feature that many users have been begging to see. The group conversation feature works with both video and audio and supports up to 32 people in a conversation. This feature also works with iMessage by inviting an entire group from an iMessage thread into a video or audio chat. If someone is late joining, they will be able to join at their leisure by tapping a join button in iMessage.
Notifications are also getting improvements. You can turn on quiet delivery for notifications from particular apps, or turn off notifications for an app altogether. Quiet notifications are delivered to the Notification Center but don't play a sound, present a banner, or appear on the Lock Screen; this notification management can be done in real time by selecting a notification from the Notification Center or Lock Screen. The ability to group notifications by application will be a big improvement for users who utilize apps that generate a lot of notifications.
If you use your iPhone as an alarm clock, notifications received while in Do Not Disturb mode will not be presented to you until the morning. Another improvement makes it easier to use Do Not Disturb: You can enable the mode for one hour, until the evening, or based on calendar events (e.g., you might enable Do Not Disturb during a meeting and then disable it after the meeting).
Some of the other features in iOS 12 include:
- New Animoji in iMessage
- New Memoji lets you craft Animoji look-alikes to use in messages
- Animoji can be used in FaceTime and the Camera app.
- AR is much improved from the previous version.
- AR Measure app lets you measure things with accuracy by using your iPhone as a virtual tape measure.
- Screen Time lets you easily keep track of time spent in apps and limit time spent in apps.
- Photos has been updated with a new For You section that shows memories, sharing suggestions, and highlights photos taken previously.
- Photo search has been improved with the ability to search with multiple keywords and specific location addresses.
- iBooks is now Apple Books, and has a new revamped interface.
- The Stocks app has been redesigned with financial news populated by Apple News, and it's available for the first time on iPad.
- Voice Memos now syncs via iCloud and is available for the first time on iPad.
- Apple News has been revamped with redesigned navigation, making it easier to discover channels and use the interface.
- Safari automatically recommends stronger passwords.
- AutoFill can remember SMS one-time passwords and will be available as a prompt, so no more copying and pasting.
- Third-party navigation apps will be available for the first time in Apple's CarPlay interface.
- Siri has been updated and now understands password lookups, photo memories, motorsports, and food and celebrity questions.
- Apple partnered with select universities to provide contactless student ID cards on the iPhone and Apple Watch using NFC to access campus services.
- The battery usage meter has been improved to show usage for the last 24 hours or 10 days.
- New dictionaries for Arabic and English bilingual, Hindi and English bilingual, and Hebrew.
- iPad gestures in iOS 12 are similar to iPhone X: Swipe up on the screen to go Home; access the Control Center by swiping from the top right, and access the Notification Center by swiping from the top left.
- Apple adds Group FaceTime and may be an enterprise collaboration player (ZDNet)
- With iOS 12, Siri finally becomes the AI-powered business assistant we needed (TechRepublic)
- 5 ways Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12 can automate your work day (TechRepublic)
- Apple to bring iOS 12 apps to MacOS Mojave (Download.com)
What are the new security features in iOS 12?
Apple's mission to protect user privacy can be seen in the company's attention to detail and customer privacy in its products.
In previous versions of iOS, Apple added the ability to get notifications when apps want to access system features including camera, microphone, location services, and more. With iOS 12, Safari will protect your privacy by ensuring that websites cannot track your online activity without your permission. Apple prevents advertisers from collecting unique characteristics that can be used to target your devices for online ads.
Apple is also making it easier to use two-factor authentication (2FA) and temporary passwords via SMS. When your device receives a 2FA or temporary password via SMS, it will be remembered by AutoFill so you won't have to copy and paste the code into the text field in Safari.
In addition, iOS will automatically flag any password that is being reused on websites and in apps so that you don't run into an issue where one account being compromised causes multiple accounts to become compromised.
- All Apple WWDC's privacy features in one place (CNET)
- How Apple is going to block fingerprinting (Download.com)
- Here are the biggest iOS 12 features Apple announced at WWDC 2018 (CNET)
- Password management policy (Tech Pro Research)
What's ARKit, and how can I experience it?
ARKit is Apple's augmented reality toolkit for developers, and it was introduced at WWDC 2017. Over the past year, Apple has been working to improve augmented reality on iOS, and using the advanced sensors on the device, has one of the best AR experiences available on mobile devices.
With ARKit 2 in iOS 12, Apple gives developers even more possibilities when it comes to creating augmented reality apps. ARKit 2 lets multiple people experience AR simultaneously on their own devices in the same room, allowing for interactive experiences like games (Figure B).
In addition, a new file format for AR objects means that these experiences can be shared in new unique ways. At WWDC 2018, Apple demoed AR objects inside of the Apple News app and showed how it can provide more depth to stories.
- Apple's USDZ AR file format: What you need to know (TechRepublic)
- WWF Free Rivers example AR app (App Store Preview)
- Developers: Getting Ready for ARKit 2 (Apple)
What is Screen Time, and how can I use it?
Screen Time (Figure C) is Apple's attempt to lessen the impact of technology on our lives. Screen Time will track the apps you use frequently and show where you spent most of the time on your devices. In addition, it lets you set time limits for certain apps.
Once a counter has been reached, the app time limit can be extended, but Apple will still prompt you to not use the app. This feature is great for people to use for self-control of their device usage, and shows that Apple is working to help improve our mental lives as well.
If you have children, this app can be used to set the device limits for certain apps as well, and can be managed from a parent's device.
- Video: Limit your screen time with iOS 12 (CNET)
- WWDC 2018: How Apple plans to break iPhone addiction (TechRepublic)
- How to manage job stress: An IT leader's guide (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
When will iOS 12 be released?
Apple says iOS 12 is "Coming this fall." Typically Apple holds a special event in mid-to-late September where new iPhone hardware that comes pre-installed with the latest version of iOS is debuted and demoed. I expect that this year will follow a similar pattern for the release of iOS 12.
- 12 iOS 12 features Apple didn't mention at WWDC (CNET)
- iOS 12 will reportedly fix the iPhone X's most annoying quirks (CNET)
- Why the next iPhone doesn't need to be faster or thinner (ZDNet)
How can I get and install the iOS 12 beta?
iOS 12 is available to early adopters as well as developers looking to get a head start on development for the new version of Apple's mobile OS. Developers can download the beta profile from the developer portal, and willing participants in Apple's beta program can sign up to test iOS 12. Here's everything you need to know about how to install the iOS 12 beta.
Note: When installing the beta version of any operating system, do not use it on production or important hardware. Also, keep in mind that data loss may occur if you need to erase the device due to any beta issues.
- iOS 12 beta: Should you run it? Is it faster than iOS 11? Will it break your iPhone? (ZDNet)
- How to upgrade your Apple mobile device to the latest version of iOS (TechRepublic)
- Apple's WWDC 2018 highlights little things adding up, especially in iOS 12 (CNET)
- iOS apps on Mac: What business pros need to know (TechRepublic)
- How Apple sees iOS apps bringing new life to Macs (CNET)
- Apple's macOS 10.14 Mojave has big security and privacy updates: Here's the list (TechRepublic)
Cory Bohon is an indie developer, creating both iOS and OS X applications at Cocoa App (his own company), MartianCraft, and for various other clients. As a part of full disclosure, he does not write about any software that he has created or has helped to create through these outlets.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite technology part-time since 2007. He runs a development blog named ObjDev when he isn’t writing about consumer tech.