One thing about iOS updates — they always have hidden features — here’s a partial list for iOS 12

Yet again, there are so many easy-to-overlook but significant changes made by a new iOS. As often happens, the Boy Genius Report and Gizmodo articles focus on the essential. Am attaching links to three other articles if you’re a person who likes to research exhaustively.

Apple on Monday finally released iOS 12 to the public after three months of beta testing with developers and eager early adopters who signed up for the public beta. There were definitely a few bumps in the road along the way, like one beta release that completely killed GPS navigation in every single maps app for a week. For the most part, however, the iOS 12 beta period has been smooth sailing compared to previous years. Of course, that makes a lot of sense since iOS 12 is sort of like a turbocharged bug fix release for iOS 11. Sure there are plenty of new features to be found, but the real story in iOS 12 is that it completely fixes the mess created by iOS 11. The past year has been filled with bugs, security holes, and all sort of problems with iOS 11 that really held back Apple’s new iPhone lineup. Despite the fact that the A11 Bionic SoC was more powerful than anything else on the market by a landslide, Android flagships were outperforming the iPhone X and iPhone 8 left and right thanks to RAM management issues in iOS 11.

All those issues in iOS 11 are behind us now, and we couldn’t be happier that iOS 12 has finally been released. And now that it has been out for a day, you’ve likely spent some time with it and poked around in all of Apple’s redesigned apps. Messages has some great new features as does Maps, and even Apple Music is less awful than it has ever been before. That’s all well and good, but what about all the cool new features that aren’t quite as obvious? In this post, we’ll tell you about the 10 best-hidden features in iOS 12 that you definitely have to check out.

Performance and battery life

Okay fine, so performance and battery life aren’t exactly “features.” They’re also not things you can see on your iPhone’s screen though, and many users aren’t aware of the dramatic impact iOS 12 has on battery life and performance.

Every single compatible iPhone model will see big performance improvements once iOS 12 is installed — and remember, every single iPhone model that’s compatible with iOS 11 is also compatible with iOS 12. The older your iPhone is, the more dramatic the impact will be on performance. According to Apple, some older iPhones running iOS 12 will get speed boosts of up to 70% when performing key functions. There are also plenty of behind-the-scenes changes and improvements that will help improve battery life, which is always a sore subject when it comes to aging iPhone models.

There is one important thing to remember, though. When you first update to a brand new iOS version, the operating system has a lot of work to do in the background. That includes reindexing files for Spotlight and Siri, and much more. Beyond that, you’re probably spending tons of time playing with all the new features in iOS 12. As a result, battery life for the first 24 hours is going to take a hit. Once the honeymoon is over, however, you’ll notice a big improvement.

Password autofill

Of all the new features in iOS 12, this one is by far my favorite.

Apple has a password management function built into Safari, but if we’re being honest it’s pretty terrible. It also doesn’t help you at all when you want to log into an app as opposed to a website in Safari, unless you’re willing to dig through settings every time you need to log in. Of course, that’s why third-party password managers exist, and they get WAY better in iOS 12.

Third-party password managers like LastPass, DashLane, and my personal favorite 1Password now have the ability to auto-fill login credentials for websites and accounts without the need to open the apps. Just go to Settings > Passwords & Accounts > AutoFill Passwords to give your password manager of choice access. Then the next time you try to log into a site, you’ll see an option pop up for your password manager to enter your login credentials.

Siri Shortcuts

Apple’s new Shortcuts feature is so well hidden that it’s not even included in iOS 12 at all. Instead, you’ll need to head to download the new Shortcuts app from the App Store. Once the app is installed though, the world is your oyster and you’ll be able to create all sorts of shortcuts that can run multiple steps at once with Apple’s apps as well as third-party apps. For example, saying “Hey Siri, it’s bedtime” might turn off the lights in every room of your house and arm your HomeKit enabled alarm system. There are endless possibilities, and the Shortcuts app has plenty of suggestions to get you started.

Search by lyrics in Music

Don’t you hate it when you have a line from a song stuck in your head but you can’t remember which song it’s from? Just search the lyrics you can remember right inside Apple’s Music app and the song will pop up in the results.

Siri translations

Siri still lags behind other voice assistants in some ways, but it gets a bunch of nifty new features in iOS 12. Our favorite is a new translation feature that lets you translate words and sentences between more than 50 different language pairs.

New Do Not Disturb options

Do Not Disturb is a great feature that mutes all notifications for anyone who isn’t on your favorites list. It’s been pretty limited in the past though, with options only to enable and disable it at the same time each day. In iOS 12, you have new options in addition to your normal daily schedule. You can enable DND for one hour, until the end of the day, until you leave a certain location (like a movie theater, for example), or until the end of an appointment in your calendar.

Mute notifications

Apple’s new DND options are great for when you want to silence all notifications, but what about when there’s just one single app that’s really annoying you? iOS 12 gives you a new option to silence a specific app when you swipe on a notification. Tap the Manage button and select “Deliver Quietly” to silence the app. All of its notifications will continue to appear in Notification Center, but they won’t be accompanied by vibrations or notification tones.

Two-factor authentication assistance

Know how you love the idea of two-factor authentication but you hate having to copy and paste all those verification codes from your Messages app to whichever app you’re logging into? Well now you don’t have to anymore. iOS 12 will automatically copy and paste one-time codes from your messages into the verification code field.

Second face in Face ID

Touch ID supports five different fingerprints on each device, but Face ID only supported one face. The logic is pretty clear, but Apple added support for a second face in iOS 12, which can be added in Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Set Up an Alternate Appearance. This way a parent can gain access to a child’s phone without the need for his or hew PIN, for example. Or if you’ve been having trouble with Face ID, try adding your own face as the second face, but hold your iPhone at a different angle when you set it up.

Live Listen for AirPods

If you’re hard of hearing or you’ve always dreamt of having superhuman ears, you’re going to love this last new hidden feature in iOS 12. Go to Settings > Control Center > Customize and add the button called “Hearing.” When you tap that button while your AirPods are connected, it enables a new feature called Live Listen that turns your AirPods into hearing aids!


(2)  Contains screenshots that didn’t come thru.

19 Things You Can Do in iOS 12 That You Couldn’t Do Before

Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

Happy iOS 12 day, everybody—after being announced back in June, the final version of Apple’s mobile OS gets pushed out to eager iPhone and iPad users across the world today. You’ll need an iPhone 5C or newer or a 2013 iPad or newer (anything that could run iOS 11, essentially), and when you’ve got the software installed, here’s everything you can do.

1) Create your own Memoji

iOS 12 brings with it some new Animojis and more detailed face mapping (you can now… stick out your tongue), but the big addition as far as animated cartoon avatars go is the introduction of the Memoji: your face, emoji-ized. From the Messages app, tap the monkey face Animoji button, then the Plus button, then start crafting your new digital avatar.

2) Add stickers and text

Hey, iOS 12 is fun! If you’re sending video or taking a snap inside Messages or FaceTime, you can now slap a host of filters, stickers, and text effects on top, as well as Animoji and Memoji. To get to the good stuff, tap the Effects button when you’ve launched the Camera through Messages or FaceTime (you’ll need to tap the display once in FaceTime to see it).

3) Spot repeated passwords

iOS 12 includes a few improvements for managing passwords—it can suggest a strong password for you when you sign up for something new, for example (just tap Use Strong Password when prompted). It can also help you spot passwords you’ve reused too often: Go to Settings then Passwords & Accounts and Website & App Passwords to take a look.

4) Clear notifications quickly

At long last, iOS 12 introduces (optional) grouped notifications, so you can clear them from the lock screen in batches with a swipe to the left and a tap on Clear All. You can also get alerts delivered quietly straight to the Notification Center, skipping the lock screen: Swipe left on a group, tap Manage, then choose Delivery Quietly (or Settings for more options).

5) Share photos more easily

Apple’s improved photo AI will now recognize the people who keep appearing in your photos and recommend you share snaps of them through the Photos app. All this and much more is available in the new For You tab inside Photos—you’ll see your best photos featured, as well as the existing Memories collections all together on the same screen.

6) Search for photos more easily

Apple has upgraded the search capabilities inside Photos too, with a little sprinkling of AI, though it hasn’t gone into too many details. What we do know is that searches should be more accurate, and start offering suggestions as you type, as well as giving you more specific stuff to search for—like the name of a certain coffee shop you visited, for instance.

7) Tackle your smartphone addiction

New to iOS 12 is Screen Time, which you’ll find as an extra option on the Settings menu: You can see which apps you use most often, how regularly you unlock your phone, set limits on the use of certain apps (or app categories), schedule Do Not Disturb times for your device, and more besides. We’ve written about the new features in more detail here.

8) Browse for ebooks more easily

Apple iBooks gets a revamp with iOS 12 and becomes simply Apple Books. In addition to the name change, the app gets a new lick of paint to make it easier to navigate. There’s also a new Reading Now pane that combines your current reads with some smart recommendations from the Apple store, including ebooks popular with other users.

9) Measure objects with augmented reality

One of the new and unfamiliar icons added to your home screen in iOS 12 will be the augmented reality measuring app called Measure. Launch it and you’ll find it pretty easy to use—tap the Plus button to start and stop measuring and to combine points together (measurements appear automatically). Apple has this tool covered, thanks, developers.

10) Enjoy shared AR experiences

Speaking of developers, the new and improved ARKit 2 that comes as part of iOS 12 will make AR apps even more powerful, though it might take some time for such apps to start appearing. AR experiences can now be shared with other iOS 12 users, for example, or kept persistent—tied to an object or location, ready to reappear in the same spot in the future.

11) Be disturbed less

Do Not Disturb isn’t new but it is enhanced in iOS 12: Launch it from Control Center and you can keep it on until you leave your current location or until the current event in your calendar ends (as well as the usual timed options). There’s also a new Bedtime mode (in Do Not Disturb in Settings) that dims the lock screen and hides notifications completely.

12) Get more from Siri

As usual, Siri gets a little smarter in iOS 12: Apple says Siri is now better at answering questions about motorsport, celebrities, and food (try “how much caffeine is there in coffee?”). As an added bonus you can translate phrases between over 50 languages now, and even ask Siri to remember one of your passwords (it’s shown on screen, not read out).

13) Browse the web in peace

iOS 12 comes with a few extra web tracking protections to build on the work done to combat aggressive cookies in iOS 11. Safari now disables device fingerprinting, which can identify your phone or tablet to marketers even if they can’t identify you, and also disables the tracking code built into those share buttons you see everywhere on the internet.

14) Use Google Maps in CarPlay

Once your iPhone is upgraded to iOS 12, you can use third-party mapping apps with your CarPlay unit—including Google Maps, if you’d rather it was Google getting you from A to B. When you select a third-party navigation app in CarPlay, it displays the base layer, with CarPlay, controls overlaid on top.

15) Update iOS automatically

Apple quietly added an automatic update option to iOS 12, but it’s not all that clear just how it differs from the old method, which was already pretty well automated. You can find the switch under General and Software Update in Settings: You’ll still see a notification, but updates will be installed automatically overnight if the phone is charging and on wifi.

16) Get more from Stocks

Many of the Apple apps included in iOS get small tweaks with iOS 12, but we won’t mention them all here. One refreshed app that is worth a look is Stocks: It now boasts more details about your chosen markets, more business stories from Apple News, more options for customizing the look of the interface… and it’s now on the iPad, as well.

17) Use gestures on your iPad

Speaking of Apple’s tablets, iPads running iOS 12 can now take advantage of two gestures introduced with the iPhone X: Swiping up from the bottom of the screen to go back to the home screen, and swiping down from the top-right corner to bring up Control Center. Anyone would think Apple was about to ditch the Home button on the iPad Pro models…

18) Build your own Siri Shortcuts

The new Siri Shortcuts app is likely to launch at any moment but isn’t in the first iOS 12 release: It lets you combine multiple app actions into one Siri command so you can tell Siri you’re heading home and it will load up directions, turn up your smart thermostat in the house, and message family members saying you’re on your way (for example).

19) Make group video calls in FaceTime

And lastly another feature we have to file under “coming soon” is group video calls in FaceTime. When it does hit—”later this Fall” according to Apple—you’ll be able to enjoy video chats with up to 32 people at once, complete with Animoji, Memoji and everything else. We just hope Group FaceTime doesn’t go the same way as the AirPower charging mat.

The final three articles are somewhat repetitive but contain slight differences in perspective that may help you if the above information is insufficiently clear.

(3) If you have the patience to read this far, you may want to click thru for visuals that don’t come thru.

(4)  As above, the screenshots aren’t exactly pretty even if they did come thru. It simply refuses to look decent here, so off you go.

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