Every year, Apple’s mobile platform grows and evolves to become more useful. The latest iteration of iOS introduces a slew of newly-minted features, but instead of focusing on these here, we’re going to take a look at some things Apple has fixed with the most recent iteration of its mobile operating system. Some of these are unexpected while others have been on the horizon for far too long, but all make for a better user experience.
Before we dive in, however, we must point out that there are still some problems that iOS 12 doesn’t even try to fix, but hey, there’s always next year, right?
Apple has added quite a few options for managing your notifications in iOS 12, but you’ll need to head into Settings > Notifications to finetune them. Here, you can decide whether apps should be allowed to send notifications at all, and if so, whether they should appear on the Lock Screen, in the Notification Center, or as Banners. You can also turn Sounds and Badges on or off.
There’s also a handy new option called Notification Grouping, which is set to Automatic by default and mercifully groups together multiple notifications from the same app, meaning you’ll no longer receive blocks of Twitter notifications when your latest tweet blows up.
To round off the list of improvements, Siri will now take note of which notifications seem to be important to you over time, and will make suggestions and offer shortcuts to quickly get rid of the alerts you don’t need.
Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb mode allows for better sleep, but Apple has enhanced the feature in iOS 12 with a new feature called Bedtime Mode. Not only does the tool automatically silence notifications at night, it also prevents your lock screen from showing anything until the morning.
You can still turn Do Not Disturb on and off whenever you want, but now you can also choose to turn it on for an hour, until evening or morning, until you leave a specific location, or until a calendar event, such as a meeting, ends. This is helpful if you often find yourself turning Do Not Disturb on and then later wondering why your phone has been so quiet, only to realize you forgot to turn it off again.
We prefer Google’s Photos app to Apple’s, but iOS 12 does introduce a handful of improvements to Apple’s proprietary software. For starters, the app can now combine keywords and offers suggestions when entering text in the search field. There’s also a new For You tab that suggests photos you might want to share and the contacts you might want to share them with based on who is in the photos. This makes it easier to share photos with friends and family after a get-together or big event.
For now, this one is exclusive to the iPhone X. Apple has added the option to add a second face to Face ID via Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Set Up an Alternate Appearance. If you have an alter ego, or you want your partner or a family member to have access to your phone, this allows you to do so.
There’s another fix to Face ID worth noting. When a facial scan fails, you can now try again more easily by swiping up, which will quickly trigger a rescan and prevent you from having to put your iPhone to sleep and wake it up again.
You can already use Face ID to authenticate logins, passwords, and credit card details, but with iOS 12, you can also use Touch ID, which is great news for anyone who doesn’t have an iPhone X. Apple has also made it easier to automatically create strong passwords, which are stored in your iCloud Keychain and autofill across your devices.
You’ll also find that SMS passcodes now pop up as autofill suggestions — no more having to memorize them or flicking back and forth. And if you prefer to use a third-party password manager, Apple now allows you to access passwords stored elsewhere when typing in apps or Safari, though, this will require the password manager developer to update their app.