If you’re an iPhone and iPad user, you’re probably already getting notifications about installing Apple’s latest iOS 12 update announced earlier this month. What’s great about iOS 12 is that it’s not focused on ground breaking features, but on helping devices perform better and improve user experience.
Before you update your devices (or even if you did already) we want to highlight 5 features you might want to check out.
Need help updating your iPhone and iPad to iOS 12? Here’s a quick guide
1. Understand (And Control) How Much Screen Time You and Your Family SpendS On Phones and Tablets
Don’t think you’re spending a great deal of time looking at your iPhone/iPad? Wonder if your kids are spending too much playing games?
It is not a secret that increasing screen time can have a direct impact on physical and mental health but most users don’t think about understanding how much screen time we get and how we’re using our devices.
Screen Time is a new feature that gives you detailed usage data (daily and 7-day aggregates) on things like:
- How many times you pick up your device
- How long you (and your family) spend on a given app and which apps you use the most
Going even further, as you become more mindful of what you would like your personal and family’s usage of devices to be, Screen Time allows you to:
- Set self-imposed limits on how much time is spent on an app category or a specific app (your device will even alert you when your usage time is nearly up)
- Set the device on ‘lockdown’ during specific time periods- restricting access to all but a handful of apps (e.g. Phone, Messages, FaceTime). It’s a convenient way to keep you from checking time sucking apps when you shouldn’t like at bedtime
- Set parental controls on your kid’s devices to limit app usage, content, and times when they can use their devices
Click here to read CNET’s more detailed guide on using Screen Time
2. iOS 12 is Focused on Improving iPhone Performance Going Back to iPhone 5s
Apple seems to understand that not every iPhone user has the pockets to buy a new expensive device every couple of years, so it doesn’t serve the company for users to be frustrated with sluggish phones.
One of the most understated benefits of iOS 12 is that it improves performance of every model of iPhone starting with the 5S, helping apps to launch faster and the phone crashing less. For example according to Apple, camera launches up to 70 percent faster, the keyboard appears up to 50 percent faster and typing is more responsive.
3. Better Notification Display and Management
The amount of notifications we get on our phones seems ridiculous at times. Just leave your iPhone back for a few minutes and you’ll likely be scrolling for some time.
While not perfect, iOS 12 has taken the first steps to improve this experience with better notification management right from the lock screen. Not only are the notifications aggregated by app (not chronologically), but you can also manage notifications from specific apps to send them to the Notification Center or turn them off altogether.
4. Are You a Fan of Animated Emojis? How About Creating Your Own (Only For iPhone X and newer)?
If you’re constantly looking for the perfect animated emoji to get your point across, iOS 12 now allows you to create what they call a Memoji- an animated emoji that you can fully customize as you wish. It can even look like you!
For a step-by-step guide of creating a Memoji, check out this Tom’s Guide article
5. A Smarter Siri (With Your Help)
iPhone’s personal assitant, Siri, is being enhanced with the capability of proactively help you with tasks that are regularly part of your day. Using things like your location, calendar, time or day and your routines, Siri will provide suggestions at the right time.
You can now create Siri commands for specific apps (including non-Apple) that you regularly use to carry out tasks without any further interaction on your part.
You can also create a series of tasks that should be performed upon your command. For example you can program it so that when you head home (and give it a specific command like “I’m heading home”) you might want to play your favorite podcast, set your home thermostat at a specific temperature and show you the best route to avoid traffic.
Needless to say, making Siri smarter will require some work at first and jury is still out on whether these enhancements will be helpful or just annoying, but might be worth giving it a try.
Watch this video from Apple’s unveiling of Personalized Shortcuts
Bonus- Bring All your Friends and Family into a Single FaceTime Call
If you are a fan of group calls, you’ll no longer need additional apps. Starting this Fall, FaceTime will support video and audio for up to 32 people of once that you can launch right from a group threat in Messages. While the release date of this feature has yet to be announced, these are definitely exciting times for FaceTime.