iOS 12 is finally here and Apple has finally delivered on features we’ve had on our wishlist for almost a decade now. Grouped notifications? Yes, sir. Granular Do Not Disturb controls? Don’t mind if I do. Group FaceTime? Finally. iOS 12 is a performance upgrade. It’s made up of many little features that add up to a really delightful experience.
New and Hidden iOS 12 Features
Find out about all the new and hidden features in iOS 12 and all the way up to iOS 12.3.
1. Better Performance for Older Devices
Apple is working hard to bring the new iOS 12 features to every phone that supported iOS 11. This goes back to the iPhone 5s! And this time Apple is actually tweaking CPU performance bursts so older devices get the right CPU power at the right time. On an iPhone 6, apps launch 40% faster, the keyboard comes up 50% faster and camera opens 70% faster.
2. Grouped Notifications
Apple is finally giving us an overhauled notification system and it starts with something we’ve wanted for a long time: grouped notifications! Apple will group notifications not just by apps but by threads, conversations, and context as well! You can tap on a group to view all the notifications in it.
3. Do Not Disturb During Bedtime
When you’re using Do Not Disturb at night, it will no longer light up the screen when you get a notification. All you’ll see is a dark lock screen when you tap on the screen. In the morning, notifications will still be hidden. You can tap on the screen to view them when you’re ready.
4. Control Center Shortcut for Do Not Disturb
You can now 3D Touch the Control Center shortcut for Do Not Disturb to set customized DND session at any given time. You can turn it on for just an hour if you wish. If you’ve got a calendar appointment, you can do put your phone in DND mode just for this meeting.
5. Manage Notification Settings from Lock Screen
Now, you can manage notification settings for an app right from the notification view. You can turn off notifications for an app, hide it from Lock Screen and more without going to Settings. If you’re not using an app or interacting with a notification, Siri will even suggest that you turn off notifications for the app.
6. Critical Alerts
There’s a new type of opt-in notification created for critical information, like reports for healthcare providers, that you will receive even when you have Do Not Disturb turned on.
7. Screen Time
The Screen Time feature will give you a detailed report of how you’re spending your time on your device. This includes which app you’re using, for how much, how many times you’re picking up your phone, in what context and so on. The detailed are synced with your iPhone and iPad. You’ll also get a weekly summary of your habits.
This feature will give you an insight into how you’re using your device.
8. App Limits and Downtime
Once you know how much time an app is taking up, you can set limits for using particular apps. You’ll get a notification when your time is almost up. And when it’s up, you’ll see a splash screen instead of the app. You can ignore the limit and iOS will give you a bit more time before bugging you again.
Downtime is the nuclear option. Once you enable the feature on a schedule, it will automatically lock you out of almost all apps on your iPhone. Only essential apps like Phone will be available. This is a great way to disable access to addicting apps at night.
9. Parental Controls with App Limits
The App Limits feature is integrated with Family Sharing. So a parental device can set app usage limits for a kid’s device. Parents can set an allowance for time to be used in general or specifically on a category of apps. Parents can set limits for age-appropriate content as well.
10. New Animoji
There are four new Animojis: Ghost, Koala, Tiger, and Trex.
11. Tongue Detection in Animoji
You can now stick your tongue out no matter which emoji you’re using. There’s also wink detection.
You can now create your own Animoji character. If you’ve ever used Bitmoji, this is similar to that feature, but in 3D space. You can choose from a diverse set of options of skin color, hair, eye color and more to create an Animoji character that closely resembles the real you.
Read more: How to Create and Use Memoji on iOS 12
13. Effects in Messages Camera
When you open the camera from the Messages app, you’ll see a little Effects icon in the bottom-left. Here, you’ll be able to add a filter, any sticker, Animoji or Memoji. This is a really cool way to send fun photos and videos in iMessages, especially when you’re getting Memoji in the camera view, live.
14. Group FaceTime
FaceTime is finally getting a huge upgrade. FaceTime has a new design and you can now do group calls for upto 32 people! People show up in floating tiles and when they speak, their tiles become bigger and more prominent.
15. FaceTime Integration in Messages
You can start a FaceTime call from a group thread in Messages. People can join in from the link in Messages and leave when they want.
16. Siri Suggestions
Siri Suggestions are now spread across the OS. As Siri learns your routine, Siri will suggest you shortcuts for things you need to do at the right time. This can be on the Lock Screen or in the search. If you find the feature too annoying, you can turn it off as well.
17. New Shortcuts App
Apple has integrated the Workflow app right inside iOS now. It’s called Shortcuts and it’s tied with Siri. The UI for creating a shortcut is very similar to Workflow. You can create a shortcut with multiple steps. Actions that happen one after the other. The cool thing is that you can give it a name, call on it from Siri and Siri will perform all of those actions for you!
18. Add to Siri
Siri is opening up to third-party apps via a new SiriKit API! Using an Add to Siri button, third-party apps will be able to expose certain functionality to Siri. You can then run it from Siri on any of your devices, including the HomePod.
Read more: How to Use Siri Shortcuts in iOS 12
19. Better Translation
Translation with Siri now works with over 40 language pairs. Previously it was limited to only a handful of languages.
20. New Knowledge Areas for Siri
Siri is now much smarter about a lot of things. Siri will answer questions about Motorsports, celebrity facts, and food knowledge. You can also search for Photos Memories and passwords using Siri.
21. New Apple Books App
iBooks has been renamed and has a whole new design now. It starts off with a Reading Now section which gives you a preview of what you’re reading. The app also has a redesigned ebook and audiobooks store with a design similar to the App Store.
22. New Stocks App
The redesigned Stocks app gives you more information about the market at a glance. Along with the prices, you’ll be able to see sparklines as well. There are interactive charts plus Apple News integration. You’ll get the latest stories about the market which you can read right inside Stocks app.
23. Stocks App on iPad
Stocks App is now on the iPad as well. It has a sidebar where you can see all the stock prices.
24. New Voice Memos App
Voice Memos also gets a redesign and it’s also available on the iPad now. The design brings it to the level of other iOS 10 style apps, with big headers. There’s a new UI for trimming and editing voice notes as well.
Automatically Clear Deleted Notes in Voice Memos
Voice Memos doesn’t erase the notes you delete. Instead, they end up in the Recently Deleted folder. You can enable an option from Settings -> Voice Memos -> Clear Deleted to automatically delete voice notes after 7 days, 30 days or immediately.
25. New Measure App
The New Measure app lets you measure flat rectangle surfaces simply by drawing a line on the live camera view. The awesome feature about this app is that if you simply point your camera at an object, it will detect the edges automatically and will count the distance on its own as well!
Read more: How to Use The New Measure App in iOS 12
26. News App Improvements
It’s easier to navigate the news feed now. Just swipe down to jump to your favorite topic or channels. On the iPad you can do all that from the new sidebar.
27. Enhanced Tracking Prevention
Apple is building on the feature from iOS 12. Now, iOS blocks share buttons and comment widgets from tracking you without your permission. Safari also prevents advertisers from collecting your device’s unique settings, so they can’t retarget ads to you across the web.
28. Better Password Management
iOS will now help you suggest stronger passwords and you’ll be reminded when you reuse the same password again.
29. Easily Share Passwords
You can now easily share passwords with nearby iOS devices. This works from iOS to Mac and iOS to Apple TV as well (which will be a huge help when setting up a new Apple TV). Password sharing takes place using AirDrop and it happens securely. The login details are added to the receiving device’s iCloud Keychain directly (the clipboard isn’t involved in the process).
30. New Autofill Passwords API
— 1Password (@1Password) June 5, 2018
If third-party developers choose to integrate it, they’ll be able to access the iOS autofill functionality natively! No need to use an extension or switch between apps to use something like 1Password to fill in your passwords.
31. OTP Autofill
This new feature is going to be a game changer for people who use Two Factor Authentication. iOS will now automatically fill in one-time passcodes received over SMS. No need to copy and paste or remember 6 digit codes.
32. New For You Tab in Photos
This new tab is the new single place for your Memories, Shared albums, and for intelligent suggestions from Siri. This is where you’ll find effect suggestions, featured photos and more.
33. Sharing Suggestions
Similar to Google Photos, you’ll be able to share a group of photos with your friends easily. Photos app will identify events and places and will suggest you share an album with other people. It will recognize people using face recognition. Once shared, your friends will get a popup to share photos back.
34. Search Suggestions
Intelligent search suggestions will give you quick suggestions for events, people, places, and dates when you start searching.
35. Places and Event Search
You’ll be able to quickly search photos based on where you took them. Specific and generic terms will both work. Similarly, you’ll be able to search for events as well. Search now supports multiple keywords.
36. RAW Photo Support
You can now import and manage RAW photos right on your iPhone and iPad! If you’ve got an iPad Pro, you can edit them as well.
37. Portrait Lighting Gets Better
A much-needed change, the Portrait Lighting is getting an upgrade in iOS 12. The camera app now generates a mask when it detects a person and intelligently and elegantly separates the person from the scene. The biggest problem with Portrait Lighting was the bad edge detection with faces. This should help with that.
38. Highlighted QR Codes
QR Codes are now highlighted once they’re recognized in the Camera app, making them easier to scan.
39. Portrait Segmentation API
A new API for third-party developers allows for the separation of layers in a photo, such as separating the background from the foreground.
40. ARKit 2.0
The new version of ARKit comes with better 3D object recognition, better face tracking, scene reflection and more.
41. Multi-User AR
Multiple devices can now share a single AR experience. You can now play a single AR game with your friends!
42. A new AR File Format
Apple is making it really easy to create and share 3D objects in AR. To make it easier to share objects, Apple has created a new file format called USDZ. This will make it easy to preview objects in AR and to share it using Mail, Messages or even in a browser.
43. Easily Quit Apps on iPhone X
On iOS 11, quitting an app on iPhone X required a tap and hold action. Now you don’t need to do that anymore! Enter multitasking and just swipe up to force quit an app on iOS 12!
Read more: How to Kill or Force Quit Apps on iPhone X
44. Automatic Updates
Apple is taking a page from the Microsoft playbook here. There’s a new option in Software Update section called Automatic Updates. Thankfully this feature is turned off by default but if you want to install all updates automatically, you can choose to turn this on.
45. Safari Tabs in iPhone X Landscape View
Now in Landscape view, Safari will show tabs on top of the screen. A nice addition that should have been there from day one.
46. iPhone X Gestures on the iPad
Swiping down from the top-right corner on the iPad will bring down Control Center. And by swiping anywhere on the Dock you can quickly go back to the Home screen. While this is not exactly like the iPhone X, it’s close enough that it won’t lead to frustrations when switching between the two devices.
iOS 12 also gets iPhone X style app switching gestures. Flick left or right from the bottom of the screen to access the most recent apps. Check out the link below for a breakdown of all new gestures on iPad.
47. QR Code Control
There’s a new default control added in Control Center. It’s a shortcut to quickly open the camera and scan for a QR code.
48. Show Icons in Tabs for Safari
If you enable this feature from Safari settings, you’ll now see icons for web pages in the tab view and in landscape mode.
49. New Shortcuts section in Siri Settings
There’s a new Shortcuts section in Siri & Search which will prompt you to create a shortcut for an action. It can be messaging someone on a specific platform, opening a page in Safari or anything else. The great part is that you can record a specific phrase that will make Siri do the action.
50. Bedtime Mode in Do Not Disturb Settings
You can turn on Bedtime Mode from Do Not Disturb. This will stop messages and calls from lighting up the screen at night. All notifications will be hidden until you get started in the morning.
51. Battery Statistics in Battery Settings
There’s a new battery statistics chart in Battery settings. You’ll see battery level and usage time in one graph! The data now goes back as far as 10 days. Plus, the bars in the graph are interactive. Tap on a section in the graph to see a breakdown of the battery usage for the corresponding hours.
52. New Voice Memos Settings
From the Voice Memos section in the Settings app, you can choose the audio compression quality, change the default recording name and even delete old notes automatically after 30 days (or never).
53. New Siri Voice Works With Text to Speech
The new Siri voice now works when you’re using the Speak Selection feature.
54. Skip Customization and Headphones Support in Podcasts App
Podcasts app now lets you customize skip seconds between 10 and 60 seconds interval. It also supports forward and backward seek when using Bluetooth (headphones and in the car).
55. Swipe Up To Retry Face ID
In iOS 12, you can swipe up again to retry a Face ID authentication when it fails. In dark, this is a really helpful feature.
56. Now Playing Widget In Dark Mode
The Now Playing widget on Lock Screen and in Notification Center is now dark.
57. New Siri Phrases
Siri now works with phrases like “where is my phone”, “where is my watch” and “turn on my flashlight”.
58. New Interface for Trophies in Activity App
The achievements section in Activity app gets a whole new interface.
59. New Play Button for Artists in Apple Music
Now, Artists page gets a new Play button in the banner section. Tapping it will start a random song from the artist.
60. Markup Feature Gets More Color Options
The Markup feature for screenshots and image editing has a color picker for the pen tool. Instead of 6 colors previously, you now have access to an array of colors.
61. Virtual Trackpad for Every iPhone and iPad
iOS 12 brings the 3D Touch virtual trackpad feature for everyone. Just tap and hold the Spacebar to turn the keyboard into a trackpad. Then just slide your finger around to move the cursor. Tap with another finger to enter the text selection mode.
62. Unlock Hidden Lock Screen Weather Widget
If you’re using Do Not Disturb During Bedtime, you can access a whole new weather widget when you wake up. You need to turn on Location Services for Weather first. Check out the link below for detailed instructions.
63. Chapters in Podcasts
In the Now Playing screen, swipe up and you’ll find a new section for Chapters. Tap on the Show button next to the title to expand. From the list, tap on a chapter to switch to it.
64. New Media Types section in Photos
Trying to find the album for Screenshots or Portraits? There’s a new section in the Albums tab dedicated to sorting images by media types.
65. Share Photos Using iCloud Link
iCloud Photo Library users can now instantly generate a link for any photo or album in iOS 12. You can share the link with anyone on the web and they’ll be able to download the photos. Select the photos, hit the Share button and select Copy Link. Tap on the Stop Sharing option from the menu to disable the sharing.
66. Use The New Thesaurus
You can now add Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus to the Dictionary section in Look Up. Check out the link below for instructions.
iOS 12.0.1 Features
iOS 12.0.1 includes bug fixes and improvements for your iPhone or iPad. This update:
- Fixes an issue where some iPhone XS devices do not immediately charge when connected to a Lightning cable
- Resolves an issue that could cause iPhone XS devices to rejoin a Wi-Fi network at 2.4 GHz instead of 5 GHz
- Restores the original position of the “.?123” key on the iPad keyboard
- Fixes an issue where subtitles may not appear in some video apps
- Addresses an issue where Bluetooth could become unavailable
- For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222
iOS 12.1 Features
Over 70 New Emojis
Let’s talk about the one feature that will get you to instantly upgrade to iOS 12.1 – Emojis. iOS 12.1 comes with more than 70 new Emojis! The emojis include new characters with grey hair, red hair, curly hair and an emoji for bald people too.
Group FaceTime Calls
Apple is finally bringing the feature we were promised at WWDC. In iOS 12.1, you’ll be able to make group FaceTime calls with up to 32 people! Instead of adding just one person, keep adding more. Similar to how you create a group thread in iMessage.
Speaking of iMessage, it gets direct integration with FaceTime now. So you can start a group FaceTime call from inside an iMessage group thread. Anyone who’s in the group can choose to drop in and out whenever they want.
Group FaceTime is awesome but it’s also processor heavy. Which is why only devices with A9 processor and higher will get access to it. Which means the following devices are left out in the cold: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4 and 6th generation iPod Touch.
Live Portrait Mode Depth Effect Editing
This awesome new feature is available only on the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. The new iPhones could already go in and adjust the depth effect in Portrait Mode shots. Now you’ll be able to do it live, right from the Camera app. When in Portrait mode, you’ll see a slider at the bottom that will let you adjust the depth control.
In iOS 12.1, Apple will flip the switch that will enable eSIM support on the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max. After updating, you’ll be able to go in and sign up for another plan or add another number from a second carrier. iPhone lets you choose a primary number and a secondary number. You can even designate a number just for data usage.
Daily Top 100 in Apple Music
Apple Music now has new playlists for Top 100 charts. You’ll see new daily charts of today’s top hits for your country, globally and across multiple genres too.
Apple is going to fix the extreme beauty filter-like effect in the selfie camera of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Apple was overdoing it with its post-processing algorithms. To reduce the noise, Apple was adding excessive smoothening effect.
iOS 12.1.1 Features and Improvements
- Expanded eSIM support on iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR
- Notification preview using haptic touch on iPhone XR
- One tap button to flip between camera during FaceTime call
- Ability to capture Live Photo during one-to-one FaceTime call
- Option to hide sidebar in News app on iPad in landscape
- Real-time text (RTT) when using Wi-Fi calling on iPad and iPod touch
iOS 12.1.2 Improvements
- Fixes bugs with eSIM activation for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
- Addresses an issue that could affect cellular connectivity in Turkey for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
iOS 12.1.3 Improvements
- Fixes an issue in Messages that could impact scrolling through photos in the Details view
- Addresses an issue where photos could have striped artifacts after being sent from the Share Sheet
- Fixes an issue that may cause audio distortion when using external audio input devices on iPad Pro (2018)
- Resolves an issue that could cause certain CarPlay systems to disconnect from iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
iOS 12.2 Features and Improvements
- HomeKit TV Support and Controls: Apple has already announced third-party TVs from the likes of Vizio and Samsung will support AirPlay 2 this year. iOS 12.2 lays the groundwork for that. The beta includes support for third-party TVs, but also adds the ability to add certain TVs to the list of devices that can be sent content.
- Updated Screen Mirroring Icon in Control Center: Apple has updated the Screen Mirroring icon in Control Center, making it a bit more obvious that you are mirroring two screens.
- Faster Way to Add Money to Apple Cash: Apple has added an “Add Money” option when you tap on the Apple Pay Cash in the Wallet app. This makes it easier to quickly add funds.
- A New AirPlay Icon: Apple has updated the AirPlay icon in Control Center, putting it more in line with the icon on other platforms like macOS.
- Apple Shows Better Info for Unsecure Websites: Apple now shows “Not Secured” on an unsecured website in the URL, making it more obvious that a site isn’t offering an HTTPS connection.
- Apple Maps Can Now Show Air Quality: You can find air quality for an area within the stock Weather app, but Apple is now bringing that information to Apple Maps. It can be turned on in the Maps Settings section.
iOS 12.3 Features and Improvements
iOS 12.3 brings a whole new TV app, Apple TV 2 Smart TV support, and a lot of small changes and bug fixes (and a new annoyance for Apple TV users).
We’re constantly updating this list as we discover new delightful features. What have we missed? Comment below and we’ll add it here (and give you a shoutout).
Last Updated: May 14, 2019