Following plans Apple announced while debuting three new iPhones and the Apple Watch Series 4 last week, the company today began rolling out the iOS 12 mobile operating system to users around the world. A beta was first made available for developers and beta testers in June, but it is now officially ready for most iPhone and iPad users.
Version 12 of tvOS with support for Dolby Atmos sound and improvements to the Apple TV app, as well as watchOS 5 with a new Walkie-Talkie function and yoga and hiking tracking, are also due out today.
To get the iOS update, go to Settings > General > Software Update and follow the instructions.
Improvements you may appreciate include the Camera’s improved launching time (up to 70 percent faster), the option to incorporate augmented reality into a number of apps, and support for multiplayer gameplay. An AR app is now able to perform drag-and-drop measurements with your camera, personalized Memojis have been added, and Animoji recordings can now be 30 seconds long, up from 10 seconds in iOS 11.
Screen Time insights
Screen Time can tell you what apps you use most on a daily or weekly basis and the number of notifications you receive from native Apple and third-party apps, a helpful feature if you’re feeling push notification fatigue.
Screen Time also allows parents to manage their kids’ usage from their own iOS devices and do things like set time limits for specific apps. Screen Time is available as a widget to show you total usage and the category of app most used in a day.
The biggest change is Siri Suggestions, which serves up proactive suggestions based on more than 100 different factors — including time of day and location — to recommend apps based on your habits. As has been pointed out, this could get intimate and will require user trust to succeed. Shortcuts is also available as a standalone app that lets users create custom voice commands, which can include triggering multiple actions with a single word or phrase. So, “Hey Siri, good night” can turn off lights, read your calendar for the morning, and then read your favorite audiobook or play a soothing playlist.
Third-party apps that have enabled Shortcut APIs can also suggest shortcuts using an “Add to Siri” button to, for example, order groceries from Instacart.
Siri is also getting improved intelligence to translate more than 40 new language pairs and answer questions about celebrities, nutrition, or results from F1 and Nascar races.
More expressive voices for Siri were introduced last fall, and new expressive voices are available in iOS 12, including for Siri speaking Danish, Norwegian, Irish English, South African English, and Cantonese and Mandarin for Taiwan.
CoreML and Create ML
iOS 12 also extends Core ML 2 to developers, an upgrade to its machine learning framework that delivers on-device inference speeds up to 30 percent faster than the original and model sizes up to 75 percent smaller.
Create ML also makes its debut with iOS 12. It lets app developers leverage Apple’s natural language and vision processing libraries, as well as their own datasets or data from publicly available repositories to create custom AI models. Create ML models can be made using Swift language or by dragging and dropping images in Xcode.
The A12 bionic chip that powers the new line of iPhones also delivers improvements in speed, with Core ML running up to nine times faster.
Share Health app heart activity data with your doctor
Electrocardiograms (ECG) or irregular heart activity like atrial fibrillation identified by Apple Watch Series 4 can now be printed out in PDF form to share with a physician.
Improved emergency notifications
Apple Watch Series 4 can alert an emergency contact or call authorities if it detects you’ve fallen, and iPhones with iOS 12 will be able to more accurately share your location in case of an emergency so authorities can more easily find you.
Other noteworthy improvements include:
- Use contactless student ID cards in Wallet to access buildings and pay with Apple Pay on some college campuses.
- A simpler lock screen allows notifications to be consolidated into groups instead of a continuous stream of notifications. At bedtime, Do Not Disturb will hide all apps from view.
- Group video chat in FaceTime with up to 32 people.
- Apps will launch up to 40 percent faster, and swipe to Camera on the lock screen is up to 70 percent faster.
- Photos now includes Memories and improved object detection to give people the ability to search based on photo content like flowers or beach or pets.
New features or redesigns were also introduced for native apps like Apple Books, Apple Music, Apple News, Stocks, and Podcasts.