Apple released iOS 12.1 today and, unlike previous minor updates, this one comes loaded with new features. Apple says 60 percent of iPhone users have already installed iOS 12 on their compatible devices, and iOS 12.1 brings even more long-awaited functionality to Cupertino's handsets. Here’s the list of what to expect, plus new specific features for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR.
At last, after failing to make it into iOS 12, Group Facetime has finally arrived with the ability to support up to 32 participants on a single call — which is pretty damn crazy.
Participants appear floating on the screen and, as they speak, their windows enlarge to highlight who is speaking. To make it work, though, you'll need all participants to have iOS 12.1. To get started, simply tap the + sign to add new participants.
All conversations are encrypted end-to-end, so you can do anything you want without fear of being snooped on. The new feature is also integrated with Messages, so you can easily turn a group message room to a full blown video conference.
Prepare for an onslaught 70 new emojis that range from frisbees, raccoons and llamas to superheroes, yarn and lobsters, plus new sports like softball, hiking and lacrosse. And there’s also new emoji for bald people and new hairstyles. Lots and lots of them. And did I say raccoons? Never enough raccoons.
Depth Control in Camera
Instead of doing it post-shot, iOS 12.1 will allow iPhone X series users to adjust depth of field in real time while taking a portrait both with the back cameras and the front ones. This will allow for finer control over the appearance of portraits and, according to Apple, even better photos.
Dual SIM support
This feature is just for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR: now you can activate a second cellular plan using the virtual eSIM inside the phone, enabling dual SIM support. This means that you can use two phone numbers on the same iPhone, which can come in handy for business or travel.
The iOS 12.1 update will also fix a bug that overprocessed portraits, making faces look all smooth and plasticky. Now, “beautifying” will be optional.
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Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.