The recent launch of iOS 12—released as a public beta in late June and generally available as of fall 2018—has brought an impressive number of major, long-anticipated upgrades to our favorite Apple devices, including faster performance, group chat capabilities in FaceTime, and Siri Shortcuts. But the power of iOS 12 goes beyond these buzzworthy features; although you might not notice them right away, iOS 12 boasts a wide array of small tweaks and improvements that may not be getting as much hype as the big upgrades, but are nevertheless playing an important role in boosting the overall iPhone and iPad experience. Read on for a roundup of seven lesser-known, but still awesome, iOS 12 features.
Location awareness in Do Not Disturb
A useful feature, Do Not Disturb mode allows you to silence notifications and other distractions without actually turning off your device. But it’s not uncommon for users who enable Do Not Disturb mode to forget to switch it off again, which can mean missing important calls or messages. But the new location awareness capabilities of Do Not Disturb mode can help solve this problem. In iOS 12, press and hold the Do Not Disturb icon in your device’s Control Center, and you’ll see a new option to enable Do Not Disturb mode until you leave your current location. This means that you can rest assured your iPhone won’t interrupt you during your meeting, but you’ll be automatically connected again as soon as you’re back at your desk.
Support for a second face in Face ID
With iOS 12, devices that support the Face ID authentication system can now give you the option to enroll a second face. This means that you can either grant access to another person you trust or add a second portrait of your own face to prevent yourself from getting locked out of your device if your appearance dramatically changes.
Adjustable skip durations in Apple podcasts
Podcast lovers tend to prefer third-party podcast apps over Apple’s built-in option for the simple reason that the stock iOS app doesn’t offer nearly as many customizable settings as other alternatives do. However, iOS 12 brings one small but important change to Apple’s podcast app: custom skip durations. Thanks to this upgrade, you can change the length of a skip forward or backward from the standard 15 seconds to whatever duration you prefer.
Trackpad feature available on all iOS devices
Users love the way that 3D Touch-enabled iPhones allow the onscreen keyboard to be transformed into a trackpad just by firmly pressing on the screen. Inspired by the positive reception, iOS 12 is introducing this useful feature across all iOS devices. Now, whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, or another iOS device, all you need to do is press down on the space bar (the keys will disappear), and drag your finger around the screen to place the cursor precisely where you want it.
A Screen Time widget
Screen Time, one of the most anticipated upgrades to iOS 12, allows users to keep closer tabs on how much time they spend on their devices. You can dive into your Settings menu if you want a detailed report on your iPhone usage, but if you just want a quick look at the basic stats, all you need to do is swipe right when you’re in your Home Screen. Here, among your other established widgets, you’ll find a handy Screen Time widget, which can give you a quick and easy summary of your usage.
Additional Siri accents
English speakers who want Apple’s digital assistant to sound more like they do are in luck. iOS 12 adds two new accents, Irish and South African, to its existing roster of British, American, and Australian accents. All voices are available in both male and female variants. (In this area, Apple is still lagging behind Google, whose Assistant now boasts a total of nine English-speaking voices, but this upgrade is a step in the right direction).
Finding that delicate balance between security and convenience, iOS 12 brings a number of helpful improvements to Apple’s password-management system. For example, iOS will now begin suggesting secure password alternatives if you’re one of the many, many users who are guilty of reusing the same passwords all the time. In addition, if you receive a text message with a single-use access code for a particular app, iOS will be able to automatically apply that code to the app in question without you having to copy and paste it. Finally, iOS 12 now allows you to share passwords with nearby friends and family quickly and easily using AirDrop, Apple’s wireless transfer technology.