Revisiting the top features of iOS 12: Here’s what the software update adds to your iPhones and iPads

By Adamya Sharma | Updated 18 Sept 2018
Revisiting the top features of iOS 12: Here’s what the software update adds to your iPhones and iPads
  • iOS 12 is now openly available to all Apple users. Here are the top features of the new OS and tricks to make the best of use of them.

For all those who were eagerly awaiting new software on their iPhones and iPads, as well as for those who have been testing the new OS from Apple for months, the iOS 12 final build is now available and is being rolled out over the air to all compatible iOS devices. Those with devices upwards of iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2 are eligible to receive the iOS 12 update and here is a detailed guide on how users can install the new software.


iOS 12 brings with it a host of new features, including a performance boost for your devices. Both iPhone and iPad users will be able to experience quicker app launch times and more responsive typing.The camera app will now open 70 percent faster, while the keyboard will react 50 percent faster than before. New Digital Wellbeing features will help users take a break from their virtual existences and stay more connected to the real world, while Shared AR experiences will allow for multiplayer augmented reality gaming. There’s a lot of ground to cover, so without delay, here are the top features of iOS 12 you can check out right after updating your devices.

Siri Shortcuts

While Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa have far surpassed Siri’s capabilities and reach dramatically over the years, it was good to see Siri get meatier with iOS 12. A new feature called ‘Siri Shortcuts’ will allow developers to create Siri-enabled actions for their apps. Users can customise these Shortcuts by creating a simple voice command to kick off the task.


Shortcuts App

With iOS 12, users can download the new Shortcuts app to create a series of actions from different apps that can be carried out with a simple tap or customised voice command. There are a bunch of pre-made shortcuts available in the app itself. For instance, users can create a Shortcut to play specific music from Apple Music with a single voice command, or map the way to their home without having to open Apple Maps (Not Available in India). Developers can also enable these actions within their apps through the new Shortcut APIs. Think of the Routines feature on Alexa or Google Assistant and you’ll understand where Apple is going with the Shortcuts app.

Memojis With Effects

Memojis allow users to create animated avatars of themselves, complete with the ability to customise anything from haircuts, to eye colour, accessories, and more. With the iOS 12 update, iPhone X and above users will be able to create Memojis straight from the Messages app and will also be able to add stickers and effects to them before sharing them with friends. Memojis can be used within a regular or group FaceTime call as well. The existing set of Animoji also expand with new ghost, koala, tiger and T. rex animojis. In addition, both Memojis and Animojis now feature tongue and wink detection.


Group FaceTime Calls

As expected, the Group FaceTime feature is still not available on iOS 12 and will be rolling out at a later date. Even when it does roll out, the interface that Apple showed off at WWDC seemed cluttered. For starters, Apple users will be able to club as many as 32 users in one Group FaceTime call. The main participants of the call will get their own windows on the top half of the screen, while all other participants will be shown in a scroll at the bottom of the screen. A feature that caught our eye was that when a participant says something, their window animates out to become more prominent, indicating that the person is speaking. What happens when 3-4 people speak at the same time? Will the participant windows keep popping in and out? If yes, I am never getting on a Group FaceTime call. 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.

Measure AR app

With the final build of iOS 12, Apple’s dedicated AR-powered Measure app is finally working seamlessly. The Measure app can be downloaded from the App Store and is possibly the most useful feature of iOS 12. The app uses ARKit 2 to accurately measure three-dimensional objects and spaces. Users will be able to identify objects and spaces with their camera and simply tap and drag a measuring scale along the edges of the object or space to get real-time measurements. Measure will also automatically detect certain dimensions such as the size of a picture in a photo frame.


Shared Augmented Reality Experiences with ARKit 2

Imagine being in the same Augmented Reality space as your friend or seeing the same AR objects your friends can see, with the ability to interact with them together. With ARKit 2, Apple has made this possible. With ARKit 2 on iOS 12, developers will not only be able to create shared AR gaming experiences, but will also be able to make productive applications that enable multiple users to interact with the same augmented environment. As of now, no shared AR apps are available on the App Store, but we believe developers will soon release compatible games and productivity apps.

Digital Health

Apple’s new Digital Health tools are quite useful if you need to disconnect from the virtual world and need some help doing that. Here is a quick guide on how you can make the best use of Apple’s Screen Time features and how well they worked for us. Screen Time is a valuable tool to limit your smartphone usage, not so much to track it. Users will get more tools to disconnect from always flashing notifications, bright screens, and addictive social media apps. DND during Bedtime will dim the display and hide the barrage of notifications until morning. Users will also be able to manage Notifications better directly from the lock screen. Users can bypass the lock screen to customise notifications to be delivered quietly or turn them off completely. Notifications will also be grouped according to apps and will not crowd the screen like before.


Screen Time, just like the new Dashboard on Android P, will give users a detailed summary of their app usage daily and weekly. It will also lock apps once you reach the time limit of your usage, discouraging you to not open them again. The aim is to help users switch off more often and help them understand how much time they spend on their phones. Screen Time will also gives parents access to their child’s Activity Report on their own iOS devices using Family Sharing in iCloud. Parents will also be able to control their child’s device time.

Password Sharing Between iOS and Mac Devices

A cool new feature coming with iOS 12 will allow users to pick up passwords from their iOS devices and get them over to their macOS devices and vice-versa. The feature will work similar to how Wi-Fi password sharing works as of now on iOS 11.

USDZ  Support - The New AR File Format

With iOS 12, Apple has introduced a new Universal Scene Description (USDZ) file format for Augmented Reality applications. USDZ is a new AR file format created by Apple and animation studio Pixar with an aim to ease AR experiences anywhere in iOS, including apps like Messages, Safari, Mail, Files and News, and more. USDZ will allow users to share AR objects with each other as well as place them in the real-world. Apple calls the latter, ‘Quick Look’, designed to better position AR objects in a user’s surroundings.

Companies like Adobe, Autodesk, Sketchfab and more will support the new AR file format and Abhay Parasnis, EVP and CTO of Adobe says that native support for native USDZ is coming to Adobe Creative Cloud.


With iOS 12, Photos gets a new ‘For You’ tab which combines Memories and iCloud Shared Albums. Apple also introduced a new sharing suggestions feature which automatically prompts users to share back images from a particular event if the same are shared with them by a friend. The aim is to make it easier to share photos from the same trip or event with friends. Searching for photos also becomes easier with search suggestions and the ability to combine multiple search terms to find relevant photos.

Voice Memos on iPad

With iOS 12, Voice Memos comes to iPad. The popular iPhone audio recording app will now be available on the iPad with iCloud storgae, so you can access your voice memos from anywhere.

Adamya Sharma
Managing editor, - News Junkie, Movie Buff, Tech Whizz!

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