Between additions like Screen Time, Siri Shortcuts and Suggestions and Group FaceTime calls, iOS 12 brings an assortment of anticipated features to the iPhone and iPad.
However, there's much more to iOS 12 than what Apple has talked up at various events, whether it was at its developer conference this past summer or when it unveiled new iPhones in September. iOS 12 also delivers a host of tweaks across the board that will improve Apple's mobile devices in numerous small ways, especially now that iOS 12.1 has brought additional improvements. Here's what we've discovered after using the updated OS on our iPhones and iPads. (Photo Credit: Gia Sergovich/Tom's Guide)
iOS 12 introduces more granular control to the Do Not Disturb feature aimed at silencing notifications and other distractions. Long-press on the Do Not Disturb icon in iOS 12's Control Center, and you'll see a new option — one that lets you toggle the feature on for as long as you're at your current location. Do Not Disturb's newfound location awareness can come in handy when you're at a meeting, a date, one of your kid's activities or any place else where you'd rather be present in the moment and not tempted to look at your phone.
Group chat in FaceTime isn't exactly a hidden feature, since it's hard to keep video chats capable of supporting up to 32 participants under wraps. But now that iOS 12.1 has finally introduced the delayed feature, we're finding out more details on how it works. One of our favorite additions is ringless notification. When calling more than one person, FaceTime simply displays a notification that lets you join the call with minimal disruption. That's good since group chats figure to be chaotic enough.
With iOS 12, you can enroll a second face for Face ID authentication on devices that support the feature. To be clear, this doesn't have to be somebody else's mug. If your appearance drastically changes for any reason, and the preexisting facial data isn't meshing with what the iPhone X's TrueDepth camera sees, you can add a second portrait of yourself to keep from getting locked out of your iPhone.
In a change that foreshadowed the just-announced iPad Pros and their edge-to-edge displays, Apple rearranged the menu bar at the top of the screen on its tablets. The date and time have been moved to the left side, just like they appear on Apple's flagship handset. Meanwhile, the battery indicator as well as other icons move to the right. (Image Credit: Apple)
One of the major reasons podcast addicts tend to gravitate away from Apple's built-in app and toward third-party options is customization. The stock iOS app simply doesn’t offer the wealth of settings you’ll find in alternatives on the App Store. However, Apple is borrowing one handy feature from the competition: Custom skip lengths. Now, listeners will be able to change the duration of a skip forward or backward beyond the standard 15 seconds.
If you have a 3D Touch-enabled iPhone, you've been able to turn the on-screen keyboard into a trackpad with just a firm press on the screen. iOS 12 extends that handy feature to all iOS devices. Just press down on the space bar, and the other keys will disappear. From there, you can drag your finger around the keyboard to place the cursor more precisely.
As for 3D Touch, it can feel like that forgotten iOS feature that can actually be extremely useful, provided you remember it exists. And in iOS 12, Apple adds a few new shortcuts for particular apps when you press firmly on their icons. Notes now reveals a menu item to instantly scan a document, while Camera provides a shortcut that instantly opens the viewfinder to search for QR codes.