Apple hit the stage this week to show off the new features that are coming with iOS 12. The new operating system has a strong focus on time-management and simplifying notifications, along with a few new AR tricks and compatibility with third-party apps.
The time-management functions will start rolling out with the new iOS 12 public beta, this will also include Activity Reports and the ability to set App Limits. There’s also a new Do Not Disturb feature that parents should know about. If you like finding news on Apple News (You can also read the Slanted on Apple News), you should know that the service is getting a big upgrade.
“In iOS 12, we’re offering our users detailed information and tools to help them better understand and control the time they spend with apps and websites, how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad during the day and how they receive notifications,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We first introduced parental controls for iPhone in 2008, and our team has worked thoughtfully over the years to add features to help parents manage their children’s content. With Screen Time, these new tools are empowering users who want help managing their device time, and balancing the many things that are important to them.”
The new “Do Not Disturb” function is perfect for Bedtime and will halt your kids’ notifications until the next morning while they are sleeping. You can also use the feature for studying, or use it yourself for when you’re at a meeting. The Bedtime Mode will dim the screen and keep all of your notifications on the lock screen until prompted in the morning. You can set this mode to turn on automatically, or toggle it on and off in the Control Center.
One of the most welcomed changes coming with iOS 12 is Grouped Notifications, which will group all of your notifications together by app, instead of listing each one chronologically in an endless stream. Now when you get 4 Twitter notifications, you won’t fill up your Notifications window. Instead, the four notifications will stack on-top of each other, allowing you to sort through them or dismiss them all at once. Android users already had this feature and we are excited to see the new system coming to iOS. After the update, Siri can make suggestions for notifications settings, such as to quietly deliver or turn alerts off, based on which alerts you have acted upon in the past. It’s all about making things more intuitive, with less interactions on your part.
To help reduce interruptions even further, iOS 12 gives customers more options for controlling how notifications are delivered entirely. Instantly manage notifications can be turned off completely or delivered directly to Notification Center itself.
Apple is also making a conscious decision to help users free themselves from screen-addiction. A new Screen Time feature will offer management tools for customers, allowing them to control and monitor how they spend time interacting with iOS devices.
The new service will show how much time you’re spending with apps and websites, offering daily and weekly Activity Reports that show the total time a person spends in each app they use. The stats also show usage across categories of apps, how many notifications they receive, and how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad.
The App Limits feature allows people to set a specific amount of time to be in an app, and a notification will display when a time limit is about to expire. The idea is really pointed at parents, who may want to manage and/or control how their child uses Apps and services on devices. During the Downtime, or when a parent has scheduled an App to be temporarily unavailable, notifications from apps won’t be displayed and a badge will appear on the apps to indicate they are not allowed to be used. Parents can also schedule a block of time to limit when their child’s iOS device shouldn’t be used, such as after bedtime (sorry tiny Fortnite users).
Apple stated that Screen Time will be account-based and works across all of a child’s iOS devices, so settings, reports and allowances are based on their total usage. Screen Time works with Family Sharing and is quick and easy to set up. Parents can configure Screen Time settings remotely for their child within the same Family Sharing group or locally on a child’s device.
Other highlights from the event include new AR tools, custom Memojis and Group FaceTime. The new iOS 12 will also introduce Siri Shortcuts, enabling Siri to work with any app, delivering a much faster way to get things done.
“We’re very excited about the new communications features we’re bringing to iPhone and iPad with Memoji, a more personal form of Animoji, fun camera effects and Group FaceTime,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With iOS 12, we’re enabling new experiences that weren’t possible before. We’re using advanced algorithms to make AR even more engaging and on-device intelligence to deliver faster ways to get things done using Siri.”
Apple did state that iOS 12 will make compatible devices more responsive, and bring performance improvements across the system. Camera will launch up to 70% faster after the update, and the keyboard appears up to 50% faster and typing is more responsive. Devices include everything from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone X.
There will be new Animoji to use, and you can create personalized Memoji characters. Your Memoji can be created right within Messages by choosing from a set of inclusive and diverse characteristics to form a unique personality. The existing set of Animoji also expands with ghost, koala, tiger and T. rex. All Animoji and Memoji now feature winks and tongue detection to capture even more expressions. There will also be new camera effects that bring Animoji, Filters, Text and Stickers to Messages and FaceTime. Filters like comic book and watercolor should add some personality to photos and videos, and new labels and shapes let users add captions and titles to highlight parts of an image, and stickers can be placed using iMessage sticker packs.
With Group FaceTime it will be even easier to chat with multiple people at the same time. Participants can be added at any time, join later if the conversation is still active and choose to join using video or audio from an iPhone, iPad or Mac — or even participate using FaceTime audio from Apple Watch.
Users can customize Siri Shortcuts by creating a simple voice command to kick off the task or download the new Shortcuts app to create a series of actions from different apps that can be carried out with a simple tap or customized voice command. It’s easy for developers to take advantage of this new capability using Shortcut APIs.
Photos will be even easier to share on iOS 12, thanks to smarter suggestions and improved search. A new For You tab will highlight favorite moments in one place, combining Memories and iCloud Shared Albums. A new sharing suggestions feature makes it easier to share photos with friends, and friends who receive photos are prompted to share back any photos and videos they have from the same trip or event. Search suggestions surface the most relevant Events, People, Places, Groups, Categories and recent searches, and new search functionality lets users combine multiple search terms to find just the right photos.
In Safari, enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention will help block social media “Like” or “Share” buttons and comment widgets from tracking users without permission. Safari now also presents simplified system information when users browse the web, preventing them from being tracked based on their system configuration. Safari now also automatically creates, autofills and stores strong passwords when users create new online accounts and flags reused passwords so users can change them.
If you liked iBooks, then meet Apple Books (rebrand). Now users can browse new titles, top charts and more in the new, redesigned Apple Books app.
Apple News is redesigned to make it easier to discover new channels and topics or jump straight to favorites, and on iPad, a new sidebar makes navigation even simpler. CarPlay will also add support for third-party navigation apps displayed right on the car’s dash — joining music, messaging, calling and automaker apps. This mans you can finally use Waze and Google Maps on Carplay. Wallet on iPhone and Apple Watch adds support for student ID cards, making it more convenient to access everything on campus.
iOS 12 will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 5s and later, all iPad Air and iPad Pro models, iPad 5th generation, iPad 6th generation, iPad mini 2 and later and iPod touch 6th generation.