How to Use iOS 12's New Features on iPhone XR, XS and XS Max
While a new iPhone means new hardware, there's more to the iPhone XS, XS Max and iPhone XR than their enhanced cameras and full screen displays. These new iPhones also ship with iOS 12, an updated version of Apple's mobile operating system that introduces a number of enhancements to iPhones both old and new.
You can check out our iOS 12 guide for a more detailed look at the updated operating system and its assorted features and enhancements. But here's a quick look at some of the biggest additions to iOS 12, whether you're a newcomer to the latest OS or you only used it for a little bit before upgrading to the latest iPhone.—Philip Michaels
It's easier to deal with notifications in iOS 12, thanks to a couple critical changes Apple introduced. First, notifications from the same app are all stacked on top of each other. Tap on a stack, and they'll fan out, letting you read through them or dismiss them one by one. You can also tap an X at the top of your grouped notifications to dismiss every one en masse.
But why stop there when you can silence particularly pushy apps forever? In iOS 12, when you swipe left on a notification, a new Manage option appears. Tap it, and you'll have the option to have notifications from that app delivered quietly. That means they'll still appear in Notification Center, but they won't flash up on your screen or make your iPhone XS buzz.
As before, you can dive deeper into notification management by launching the Settings app and then selecting Notifications to see a list of every app installed on your iPhone.
If you've ever wanted to get a better handle on how often you're using your iPhone — and maybe even find tools to help you use it less — iOS 12 offers a solution with its new Screen Time feature. From Screen Time, you can monitor your phone usage, schedule downtime, set time limits on certain apps (more on that below) and enact parental controls.
You'll find Screen Time in Settings, housed in the same section of that app as Notifications, Sounds and Do Not Disturb. Tap Screen Time, and you'll get running tally of how much you've been using your phone during the day, along with a breakdown of what types of apps are commanding your attention. You can drill down for weekly and even hourly views, and every week, iOS gives you a report card on how much time you've spent with your phone.
A particularly useful feature in Screen Time is Downtime. Tap on that — it's the option right below the chart that shows your phone usage — and you can schedule time to be away from your screen. (Maybe you want to block out dinner time, or make sure you're not staring at your iPhone XS just before bed.) Phone calls will still get through, and you can designate specific apps to remain accessible.
Screen Time is also where you'll find App Limits, which is the new iOS 12 feature that lets you set a time limit on how much you can use a particular app or app genre (like games or social networking, for example).
To limit any app by category, just tap on the App Limits option in Screen Time. You'll be presented a list of categories and asked to set your daily time limit. You can vary the length of the limit by day — allowing more times for games on the weekend, for example.
If you'd prefer to single out a particular app for a time limit, just tap on the graph showing your phone usage on the main Screen Time screen, select the app you want from the section showing your most used apps, and scroll down to the Add Limit command. From there, you impose your time limit just as you did when limit categories of apps.
MORE: How to Set App Limits
One of the ways Siri is getting smarter in iOS 12 is through a new Shortcuts app that let you use custom commands to trigger different actions — sometime involving multiple apps. It's a great way to use your iPhone XS to streamline everything from your workout routine to converting photos into GIFs.
If you want to use the Shortcuts app, which includes a gallery of prebuilt shortcuts including tools to build your own, you'll have to download it from the App Store. (Shortcuts is a retooled version of the Workflow app that Apple acquired last year.)
But you can create a Siri-triggered shortcut without ever having to fire up the Shortcuts app. Just go into Settings and tap on Siri & Search. You'll find a list of suggested shortcuts based on your most recent activity with your iPhone. You can also tap All Shortcuts to find a list for specific shortcuts for apps. If you see a shortcut you like, select it, and record a voice command that will let you trigger that shortcut via Siri.
MORE: How to Create a Shortcut
You'll find a number of helpful new privacy features in iOS 12, but the most convenient is Password AutoFill. This new feature will automatically fill in passwords that you've got store in your iCloud Keychain or in third-party password managers including 1Password, Dashlane and LastPass. You'll verify these sign-ins by using FaceID via the TrueDepth camera on your iPhone XS.
To enjoy the convenience of Password AutoFill, you've got to turn it one first. Select Passwords & Accounts in Settings, and tap on AutoFill Passwords. There, you'll find a switch to enable the feature.