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Posted at: Jun 9, 2018, 1:06 AM; last updated: Jun 9, 2018, 1:06 AM (IST)

The big upgrade is here

Apple’s iOS 12 makes old iPhones work faster and offers more ways to connect
The big upgrade is here

Vaibhav Sharma

Like clockwork, Apple announces updates to its operating systems every June at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), and this year’s offerings range from doubling down performance and stability, to adding a few crowd-pleasing bells and whistles to make the experience of using an Apple device a little more enjoyable.

iOS 12
A new lease of life to older iPhones and iPads

Stability & Performance: The focus of this release is wholly and squarely on improving the software performance of devices as old as the iPhone 5S. Apple will be making iOS 12 available to devices released in the last five years, something Android manufacturers can only dream of. The company is promising upto 70 per cent faster camera launches, upto 50 per cent faster keyboard popups and an impressive two times faster app launch.

Group Facetime: The popular internet calling feature is getting an upgrade with support for group audio and video calls, for upto 32 people together. The best part is that the app will automatically increase or decrease the size of each person’s tile based on who’s talking. 

Animoji & Memoji: Available on the iPhone X, there are new animoji characters such as a ghost and a dinosaur that have been added to the mix. Memoji is an all new feature that lets you create an avatar for yourself and it can be used to hide your face while making Facetime calls, among other times. Handy for times when the out of bed look doesn’t cut it.

Augmented Reality: iOS’s AR capabilities get a boost with the ability to have multiple people experience it simultaneously and in conjunction with each other. Also being introduced is a new app called Measure that lets you measure real world objects by pointing your camera at them. 

Screen Time: In a bid to help us fight smartphone addiction, iOS 12 brings a section that lists the amount of time we spend on each app, and lets us impose limits on the amount of time each app can be used. For parents, this is taken a step forward and the limits can be enforced remotely. It also gives them an insight into the kind of apps and websites that the child is using or visiting. 

Notifications: All the complaints about the mess that a constant stream of notifications would cause on iOS 11 have been addressed, and the answer is grouped notifications that either bunch alerts by app, or by context. Right from lockscreen, you can now silence a particular app completely as well. These features were available on Android for a while, and it’s good to see Apple catch up. 

Miscellaneous: There are improvements to the ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode, and you can now set it for specific durations or for certain locations. The photos app gets an update with intelligent sharing suggestions, throwbacks and smarter search. Siri gets a boost in functionality with shortcuts that combine multiple actions across apps into a single command. E.g. You can tell Siri ‘I’m in the car’ and it can turn on the AC at home, play music, and even send a text to your better half that you’re on the way. 

For the power user, but with improvements for everyone

Dark Mode: The most dramatic change to the appearance of the macOS in years will be the addition of a dark mode, that aims to create a distraction free environment that’s easy on the eyes. There’s also support for a Dynamic Desktop where the wallpaper changes to mirror the dipping or rising sun.

Stacks: A nifty little tool for those with cluttered desktops. It lets you organise the files by file type, automatically. 

Finder: The finder gains more functionality with new quick actions that let you rotate an image, annotate it, trim video and more without opening an app. There is also a new Gallery View to preview images or PDFs quickly. The preview pane gives you access to a file’s entire metadata, again without needing an app. 

Screenshots & Recording: In addition to taking screenshots, you can now just as easily make screen recordings, without needing an app such as Quicktime. These files can be marked up, and shared without even needing to be saved. 

Miscellaneous: The Mac App Store has been given a complete revamp, and it now resembles the iOS version. Group FaceTime also makes it to the Mac, as do new apps like News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos. Also, come 2019, Apple will release tools to let developers bring their iOS apps to the MacOS with little changes in the code. Apple has also doubled down on Privacy and Security by requiring apps to request access to things like the microphone or camera.  

Watch OS & TVOS
Iterative advances

While Watch OS 4 turned Apple Watch into a mature timepiece, OS 5 focuses on fitness. There is support for new workouts. The watch will also be able to detect when you’ve started or ended a workout. New social features let you challenge your friends to a seven-day battle to see who burns more calories. Walkie-talkie mode promises a lot of fun. While Apple TV already features support for Dolby Vision, it will now support Dolby Atmos, making it the only streaming device to support both. All the updates will be available to the general public as beta software for testing in a few weeks, whereas the official rollout happens in September. 


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