Alongside the new iPhone XS (guide), iPhone XS Max (guide) and iPhone XR,
Let’s take a look 25 of the best hiding beneath the surface…
‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating operating system updates for the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
New Shortcuts – It may be facing the bullet, but 3D Touch improves in iOS 12 with new Camera and Note shortcuts. 3D Touch (hard press) the Camera icon and you can jump to scanning a QR code, while doing the same on the Note icon brings up a new shortcut to scan documents.
Live Listen – to transform your AirPods into hearing aids go to Settings > Control Center > Customize and select ‘Hearing’. This magnifies people’s voices.
Lyric search – simply type the lyrics of a song into Apple Music and it can find what you’re looking for, specific track names are no longer required.
Express Card with power reserve – On the iPhone XS, XS Max and XR, iOS 12 retains enough battery life even when the phone powers off for digital transit cards and student ID cards to still work. For now, support for the former is limited to China and Japan and the latter to the US but expect that to change.
Cellular smarts – when you’re without cell coverage your iPhone will constantly look for it, so iOS 12 adds ‘No Cell Coverage’ to the Battery Usage by App list at the bottom of battery settings. This will help alert you to apps which are particularly power hungry in dead zones.
Feature Parity – limited to the iPhone X in iOS 11, iOS 12 gives all iPhones support for stickers and filters.
Two Faced – finally Face ID can support more than one face (two to be exact). Just navigate to Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Set Up an Alternate Appearance.
Ignore Passcode – after several failed Face ID unlocks you no longer have to enter your passcode, instead swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you can try Face ID again.
Gestures (iPhone X)
Swipe to close – the iPhone X can finally close apps (like every other iPhone) by swiping them away in the multitasking view. Previously you had to tap a small cross, which was stupid.
New Gestures – in iOS 12 these align more closely with the iPhone X as you can swipe down from the top right corner to open Control Center (previously it was a swipe up from the bottom) while swiping up from the dock takes you to the Home screen.
Trackpad for all – Previously this required 3D Touch, but now you can turn the Apple keyboard into a trackpad just by tapping and holding the space bar.
Faster codes – iOS (like Android) can now automatically scan text messages for one-time login codes and copy and paste them for you.
Fast actions – Tap the bubble icon of a contact and FaceTime audio and video call options appear. Previously you were taken to a new page for this information.
Longer, more flexible Animojis – both Animojis and Memojis (don’t ask) can now be dragged and dropped on top of photos and messages while message lengths can now last 30 seconds. (Limited to iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR).
Send Animated Labels – in addition to Animojis and Memojis, animated words, phrases and hashtags can be added to photos and videos you share.
Do Not Disturb shortcut – advanced DND controls were added to iOS 12, but you can also access them straight from the lockscreen. Swipe a notification to turn on ‘Deliver Quietly’. You won’t get any pop-ups for that app, but you will still its alerts in the Notification Center.
Do Not Disturb tricks – everyone knows DND can be triggered at user specified times, but it can also be triggered based on your location. Great when leaving the office. You can also 3D Touch (hard press) in Control Center to turn on DND.
Favicons – navigate to Settings > Safari > Show Icons In Tabs to get icons for your bookmarks in the tab bar. A handy space-saving feature as the visual reminder means you can cut down on text.
Smart suggestions – On the lock screen and Search pane Siri will suggest contextual app shortcuts, such as messaging ahead when you’re running late. iPhone 6 and older iPhones won’t get this feature.
New Voices – In addition to British and American, you will now find Irish and South African male and female assistant voices to choose from. Settings > Siri Search > Siri Voice.
Find any device – you can now tell Siri “Play alert on my iPad” from your iPhone (or vice versa) to locate your it.
More power in low power – “Hey Siri” now works in Low Power mode, something that was disabled in iOS 11.
Accidental assistance – taking accidental screenshots was too easy in iOS 11 as pressing the Volume Up and Power button even in your pocket with the screen off would result in a useless snap being added to your gallery. Now the display has to be turned on for this key combo to work. Logical and long overdue.
Extra options – there’s now a broader choice of pen colours to markup a screenshot, while you can also markup existing photos by going to any photo and selecting Edit > More options (three dots) > Markup.
New features – alongside a new user interface, Memos in iOS 12 can trim audio and even splice in new audio files.
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