New phones mean new technology. With Apple introducing the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR last month, they kept with tradition and announced iOS 12. This newest iOS system has been out for just over a month at this point, but there’s a good chance you aren’t aware of some of the hidden features that are available to users! We’ve broken down everything you need to know about iOS 12 weather your upgrading on an existing iPhone or getting it out of the box with one of the new phones referenced above.

1.      Faster Devices

Thanks to iOS 12, even your old iPhone can run faster. Apple has reported that older models can run faster with the newest update. The iPhone 6 Plus on iOS 12 can launch apps 40% more quickly, open the camera 70% faster, and display the keyboard 50% faster. With previous iOS updates, older iPhone models were known to slow down. Apple listened and did the opposite with this update. A significant benefit is you can now use older iPhones for longer, or even sell them, so they don’t just become an expensive paperweight.

2.      Better Notifications

Group chats are a blessing and a curse. They allow a group to communicate effectively, but you get countless notifications on your lock screen. Thanks to iOS 12 your phone groups notifications by app, topic, and thread. That means you can clear all your notifications for your friend’s group chat with one easy swipe.

3.      Memojis (and Updated Animojis)

If you have an iPhone X or later, you can take advantage of the new Memojis. Memojis are a customizable mask that can be built to look like you. You can customize everything from hairstyles to accessories. Once you develop your Memoji, you can record and send 30-second clips to anyone via messages. The popular Animojis are still available as well, and new characters have been added such as a ghost and a Koala. To find both options, head into iMessage and open a new or existing conversation. Once you open your App Drawer and select the Animoji icon, choose which option you’d like to send.

4.      Automatic MFA Code Copying

In case you haven’t read our blog before, we’re big advocates for multifactor authentication for security reasons. Apple just made entering the six-digit security codes sent via text easier. As soon as the security code is in your messages, it gets saved to your keyboard. Now when you go to enter the code, it appears as a suggested word, and all you must do is tap. Now life is just a bit easier when logging into your accounts via MFA.

5.      Multiple Face ID Recognition

Face ID was launched with the introduction of the iPhone X to allow users to unlock phones. With iOS 12, you can now have more than one face used to unlock your phone. This means your significant other (or your children) can unlock your iPhone or iPad via Face ID. Look for the “Set up an Alternative Appearance” in the Face ID and Passcode menu.

6.      Siri Shortcuts

Siri just got a whole lot smarter with iOS 12. You can now set up commands via Siri Shortcuts to trigger actions. When you say, “Siri I lost my keys,” she knows to ring your Tile tracker to start the search mission. Other Siri Shortcuts include:

  • Suggesting your coffee order from the place you always order from
  • Reminding you to message contacts when you’re running late
  • Send an ETA notification or adjust the temperature in the house when you say you’re “Heading ”

The options are endless in the new app. While most shortcuts are in Siri Shortcuts, some commands such as the lost keys will be found in the product app (in this case the Tile app).

7.      Screen Time Reports

With iOS 12, one of the most significant additions can is the new screen time reports. You now can get a look at your weekly activity summary for your iPhone. This report shows you your most used apps, the highest time of day usage, and what apps send the most notifications. Now you can be aware of just how much time you really do send on your phone. The best part is you can set self-imposed time limits for apps via reminders and temporary app blocking.

If you have children on devices, you can even set limits for them via Family Sharing. You can do this all remotely via a parental device, so no need to take your teenagers iPhone to set them up. Parents can create limits for kids with Allowances, time-of-day-based downtime controls, and category controls. You can greenlight education and essential message apps thanks to an always-allowed setting.

8.      A Better Do Not Disturb Mode

Do Not Disturb has always been one of my favorite features on the iPhone. Without fail every night at 10 PM my phone enters DND mode to remind me to put my phone down and start winding down my night. iOS 12 has made DND even better. Now with Do Not Disturb during bedtime, all visual display notifications are disabled. Your lockscreen will now remain clear until you unlock your iPhone in the morning. There are options though to allow certain apps to break through. Also, with iOS 12, you now can a nice DND notification that sits on your lockscreen to remind you that your DND is active.

9.      Turn off Notifications With Instant Tuning

We’ve all been bugged by a pointless notification but then subsequently never went to change the notification settings in one of the countless submenus. Instant Tuning allows you to do that with one quick swipe now. Apple now enables you to control individual app notifications right from the locksreen. Deliver Quietly is an option that allows a notification to be delivered silently to your Notification Center, so you’re not bugged by an alert on the lockscreen

10.  Measure With Your iPhone

With the new measure app, you can now measure directly from your phone. It uses iPhone sensors to measure objects directly in front of you. It can automatically detect the approximate dimensions of a photo, so you can know what size frame you need without pulling out the measuring tape.

11.  Express Cards

Having your metro card or student ID on your phone is great, until your phone dies and your stranded. Thanks to iOS 12, that problem is less likely. iPhone 7 and above will now start to support Express Cards. Express Cards works with transit cards (currently in China and Japan) and some college IDs that you have stored in your Apple Wallet. This means that if your iPhone is dead, there may be enough power in the battery to support an Express Card transaction. Currently, Duke, the University of Alabama, and the University of Oklahoma are the colleges testing with their IDs. By the end of the year, John Hopkins, Santa Clara University, and Temple will also support Express Cards.

When your phone dies, you’ll see a message notifying you that the Express Cards are available to use. Just tap a reading terminal with your iPhone, and you’ll feel a haptic response. You will see no visible notification. This only works for up to five hours after your phone dies before the function stops. Apple Pay requires Face ID, so you’re stuck using your old fashion credit card though.

12.  Improved Gestures for Multitask Mode

If you’re an iPhone X user like myself, you remember how frustrating it was to learn how to close apps in iOS 11. You can now rejoice since closing apps in iOS 12 is a breeze. No longer must you press down on the app until you got a red close icon. All you need to do is slide up on open apps to dismiss them from your multitasking menu.

13.  Find Photos better in the Photo App

Apple is now looking to compete with Google Photos. The Photos app now recognizes photos by events and indexes them for easy search. With the new search by event, you can even filter by people, place, and date. It even suggestions who to share photos with. The best part, photo sharing features iMessage end to end encryption.

14.  Pinpointed Located in Emergencies

If you’re ever in an emergency and must call 911, thanks to iOS 12, first responders can see your exact location. Apple says your location is pinpointed and “automatically and securely” shared only with first responders during the reported emergency. This is an effort to cut down response time and still maintain privacy.

Is my device compatible?

By now you’ve read through all these new features and are wondering if your current device is compatible with iOS 12. According to Apple, the following devices have iOS 12 available:

  • iPhone 5s and newer
  • iPad Air and iPad mini 2 and newer

In total, 11 different iPhones and 10 different iPads are compatible, making this the broadest iOS update yet. If you’ve been waiting, it’s time to update your iPhone or iPad today. Make the upgrade; it’s definitely worth it.