iOS 12 Review: The revolutionary new chapter


Apple announced iOS 12 back in June and subsequently released nearly a dozen of developer and public betas to the impatient users out there, but it's now finally time for that one to roll out to all the regular Joes and Janes out there. iOS 12 is releasing September 17 at 10am PT / 1pm ET, so get ready to experience a whole new iOS chapter.

Of course, we simply couldn't resist loading this one on our resident selection of iPhones and giving it a spin to test out what's new, what's old, what's worse, and what's better.

Putting the "P" in performance 


After the trove of visual changes that iOS 11 introduced, iOS 12 is definitely a more laid-back kind of update focusing on performance, stability, and under-the-hood improvements. You know, the types of improvements that rarely make the headlines but are actually the ones that are the most beneficial to users. This can only drive the user experience upwards, and needless to say that's a massive boon for the overall appeal of the ecosystem.

iOS 12 Review: The revolutionary new chapter

Overall, iOS 12 looks a whole lot like iOS 11 with little to no visual changes in the general appearance, but it feels like it's been on a steroid regime for the past couple of months. Navigating the interface feels buttery smooth and it seems like Apple has finally achieved the coveted constant 60fps fluidity it has been somewhat struggling to nail down with iOS 10 and iOS 11.

iOS 12 feels like a truly reinvigorating experience, especially for users of older iOS devices. In particular, Apple claimed that an iPhone 6 Plus, a device that's soon to be 4 years old, will be 40% faster in launching apps, 70% faster when launching the camera app, and twice as fast in multitasking in comparison with what it was capable of in late 2014. Of course, this improvement can be solely attributed to iOS 12, and is huge news for users of aging devices.

Augment yourself


Augmented reality has been the hot talk of the industry for the past few years and has already become mainstream enough, but iOS 12 really wants to push the envelope even further. Gaming is one of the logical areas where iOS 12 seeks to improve AR with shared experiences. As demonstrated on stage, two or more gamers will be able to simultaneously play in one and the same augmented environment, making up for a neat shared experience. The possibilities are endless, and Apple is set to further expand the scope of AR thanks to a new AR file format, USDZ, which will enable Safari and other native Apple apps to display such augmented content. 

Another incremental, but undoubtedly useful new feature that proves AR can be useful in our day-to-day lives is the all-new Measure app, which houses both a digital level and an AR-powered measuring tool that allows you to measure the dimensions of real-life objects with a fairly good accuracy. With a fair level of certainty we can tell that Measure will prove to be quite the useful new little trick in the vast bag of features that iOS carries around, and is the living proof that AR has way more uses than merely gaming and online shopping.

The various faces of Memoji

The various faces of Memoji


iOS 12 Review: The revolutionary new chapter
While Animojis are going nowhere, the all-new Memoji truly steal the show. 

Apple's answer to Samsung's half-baked AR Emoji holds is much more customizable and way more interactive. It represents the user's facial expressions much better than the jitter mess that AR Emoji is

When it comes to customizability, Memoji allow you to accurately represent yourself and your unique facial features, to a certain extent. 

They are cutesy and playful, though one thing we missed was a face scan to act as a starting point for the Memoji creation. 

This is something that Samsung does with the selfie camera and then applies onto its own AR Emoji, so Apple could have probably snatched this feature as well.

Memoji is still not a standalone app and will probably never be; similar to iOS 11, it inhabits the software innards of the Messages app. It's joined by four new Animoji.

Probably the biggest improvement here, however, is the longer duration of the clips - Animoji and Memoji recordings can now be up to 30 seconds long, which is more than enough to say your point and then some. You can even use all the Memoji - as well as the existing Animoji - as face overlays while recording videos inside the Messages app. Super cool!

Don't be so quick to dismiss this one as being childish or gimmicky - we know it's not such a major new feature, but it's tons of fun, and all of us at the office had a blast customizing our own Memojis and sending one another short clips. 

A fun feature, undoubtedly, and this makes it cool in our book.

Don't judge, but my fursona is a rabbit

Don't judge, but my fursona is a rabbit


Siri


Seems like Siri wasn't lying when it said it was about to get smarter. Siri will now be much more proactive and will try to learn your routines. After it does that, it will try to suggest shortcuts to apps or actions that would be useful at a certain time. Some actually useful things Siri will be able to do is nudge you to congratulate your grandma for her birthday. Another wildly intriguing new feature is Shortcuts, Apple's way of allowing you to customize voice commands. 

Shortcuts
Shortcuts
Shortcuts

Shortcuts


The new Shortcuts app will house them all in one place

The new Shortcuts app will house them all in one place

With Shortcuts, you will be able to program Siri to execute certain tasks when a predefined voice command is given. 

This is similar to what the Google Assistant has in tow and is super-useful in our own humble opinion. For example, you can have Siri show you the weather in your immediate vicinity by saying "Brief me up, Jarvis", or whatever you feel like. Thanks to the new Shortcuts API, developers can allow Siri to tap into frequently accessed and popular actions for their apps, making automation one even easier. 

But that's not everything that Siri is about to score. 

Translations from over 40 languages, nutritional facts, and password search are all coming to the Assistant, and while all of these are a joy to have, we have the subtle but prominent feeling that this simply isn't enough to bring it up on pair with Amazon's Alexa or the Google Assistant. 

We'd have loved to see some improvements to the language recognition and speech output which still leave lots to be desired. 

Maybe next year, eh, Apple?


Grouped Notifications


Alongside dark mode, grouped notifications have been one of the most requested features for iOS, and Apple finally caved in. Say goodbye to the endless lists of similar notifications from one and the same app which are more than enough to make you lose your sanity; grouped notifications will arrive to alleviate the pain by bundling them all together in a neatly-packed bunch of notifications that can be expanded and minimized to the user's heartfelt content. 

The same applies to any individual notification, which can be freely managed, too. Although we are talking about betas here, the current implementation is good enough and appeals to our palates. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that grouped notifications will probably end up being one of the most useful features introduced alongside with iOS 12.

It was about time!
It was about time!
It was about time!

It was about time!



Screen Time, Do Not Disturb 2.0, and you


Oops, someone's about to get grounded for playing too much Minecraft

Oops, someone's about to get grounded for playing too much Minecraft

Similar to Android's Dashboard, which aims to reduce the time you spend/waste time on your phone, Apple introduces Screen Time, a Do Not Disturb-like mode which allows you to limit your smartphone usage. You can set various limits daily, for example allow yourself only half an hour of social media or an hour of gaming. After said time has passed, your phone will try its best to restrict you from continuing your shenanigans, but you're the boss of it and can choose to ignore the warning.

ScreenTime even allows you to manage other devices set up with Family Sharing, this limiting your offspring from wasting too much time on that one blocky buidler game called Minecraft or your teenager from Snapchatting until the wee hours.

Another great new feature about Do Not Disturb allows you to mute notifications for a predefined amount of time, as long as it's for one hour, until the evening/morning, or until the user leaves the current location. Of course, the good ol' schedule is still alive and kicking. 

That's pretty great since DND is as forgettable as it's useful - once you enable it during the day, you can easily forget it turned on and receive no alerts, which could lead to a bad experience for many. The novel functionalities are just the subtle polishments that Apple tends to treat its vast userbase to, and are a great incremental addition to iOS.

Conclusion


Overall, iOS 12 feels like the logical polishing follow-up update that iOS 11 deserved. 

Many of the new features are superb and answer the years of pleas and requests from the majority of the iOS userbase: grouped notifications are the new Holy Grail of Apple's mobile OS, group FaceTime video calls, the augmented reality improvements, and most importantly, the performance enhancements all make iOS 12 a solid and quite important update for iOS devices. The fact that it will grace all phones that were compatible with iOS 11 is another feature that can be hardly matched by any other phone manufacturer - even the 2012 iPhone 5s is getting the new update, how cool is that?

Yet, a couple of novelties feel a bit meh. For example, while Siri scored a trove of improvements, most of them don't feel like the major enhancements the assistant needs to score in order to step up its game and adequately answer the challenge issued by Amazon's Alexa and, most importantly, the Google Assistant. Additionally, while the four new Animoji and Memoji are great fun, but probably will be quickly forgotten after the novelty factor slowly wanes off. 

Overall, we're giving iOS 12 the seal of approval - it introduces timely improvements that have been long overdue and are certainly going to make the overall iOS experience even more polished than before, even moreso for users of older iPhones.

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56 Comments

1. apple-rulz

Posts: 1873; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

iOS 12 offers several cool features and appears so polished and tweaked, I’m really looking forward to trying it. I still hate the notch, but hopefully iOS 12 will help mitigate that.

2. Papa_Ji

Posts: 779; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Cool features : iOS 12 type of cool features android users get through play store app updates. 30-40% faster : This is just a marketing hype. iOS 12 (crap x) vs android p (1+6)https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=WUopSsSntH4 Crap x is still a crap.

13. path45th

Posts: 398; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

My iPhone 5s is faster in iOS 12 so not a marketing hype at all. I’m sure it will become faster and better when it is released in autumn. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy to update my 4 years eight months old iPhone. A four years eight months Android is a useless relic. My iPhone gets all the latest apps or latest version of apps.

14. bucky

Posts: 3771; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

He’s a troll, don’t pay attention.

17. yalokiy

Posts: 884; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

Although not stock, but my 4 years old Oneplus One does even better on official LineageOS 15.1.

22. NinoH

Posts: 128; Member since: Feb 09, 2018

Yeah right official lineage OS, lineage OS is a rom for android which is by definition unofficial.

19. bucknassty

Posts: 1295; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

i doubt it... i finally got my iphone 7 back for work, i had to deal with the damn 5s for 8 months and that s**t was slow... quit with the antics

20. w1000i

Posts: 235; Member since: Jul 22, 2015

Why it was slow in the first place ?

43. Marcwand3l

Posts: 389; Member since: May 08, 2017

I bet you don't have problems with the fact that your iphone 5s was made slower by ios 9, 10 and 11.

55. guest

Posts: 368; Member since: Jun 13, 2012

Unless it’s a oneplus or Xiaomi. They are still updating devices that are iPhone 4s equivalent in age which in the Apple world is a useless paperweight ;-)

27. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Dude. Just remember, anything they can brag about vs Ansroid, they will hype because they have nothing else. The iPhone speed is marginal, but it's all they got to fight with other than sells. Samsung never talks about speed because computers can only be so fast. The less a computer does the faster it can be. They cant brag about the cameras, because it isnt the best. They have nothing. Just let them enjoy what they have.

32. kiko007

Posts: 7469; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Stfu, Techie.

41. Shi.O

Posts: 50; Member since: Nov 11, 2011

Do you need a computer that can do every thing in average or one that does less but more efficient?

48. Trex95

Posts: 2320; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

This IOS not android non update OS hater gonna hate lol.

50. Trex95

Posts: 2320; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

3 month beta this beta 1 lol.

3. .KRATOS.

Posts: 440; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

What's great in iOS updates that includes such older devices from 2012 waw, which I can't really say about android, we were hoping to get the android 8 on the galaxy s6 which is still a very capable phone but too bad it didn't happen, I don't think I'll spend much money again on an android flagship just to serve me like 2 years n maybe 3 max. When in the other hand while buying an iPhone which it cost the same as an android flagship but u can at least be sure that you'll get 4 or more updates

15. midan

Posts: 2557; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Exactly, buy iPhone and be happy.

35. rsiders

Posts: 1863; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

Great point but in all fairness Android has enough features as is especially since Oreo, that Android phones really don't need to be updated year after year to continue to have a great, feature-rich experience. I mean iOS is JUST now getting features we've had for years. Years. And still falls short of the raw capabilities we already have on Android.

47. Sagemode87

Posts: 34; Member since: Aug 16, 2018

No one keeps a phone longer than 3 years. Have fun with your updates.

53. lJesseCusterl

Posts: 96; Member since: Apr 27, 2015

Actually, some people do. I know I'd still have my Note 4 if it hadn't developed a significant motherboard issue. I'm keeping my launch-day V20 for the foreseeable future. I'd rather spend a grand every two years updating my desktop hardware than getting a new phone that I'll just use for talk, text, the occasional game, and Reddit.

4. ReticentHamster

Posts: 150; Member since: Jan 19, 2015

Gotta say, this is a pretty impressive update, especially with the smoother, constant 60fps. It's that kind of thing that could bamboozle me into switching to iOS. Next step: ProMotion displays in the next generation iPhones...? Please make it so!

7. NinoH

Posts: 128; Member since: Feb 09, 2018

I think overall it was expected that they clean up after ios11 mess. Most important thing is that the os is well optimized and polished.And next year we will get a more substantial change in ios. So overall a 4/5 score from me.

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 30786; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Can’t wait to give it a try, mos def won’t be doing the beta program. That was a headache on my iPad. There’s some pretty cool features, and refinements in iOS 12.

16. miketer

Posts: 493; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

I like this news and the improvements mentioned. I am very vary of updating OS in any phone but this looks promising and I think I'll take the jump in updating my wife's 6S plus and my son's iPad Air

18. baldilocks

Posts: 1428; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

Now if they would just get rid of the transparencies in the next version of iOS.

21. thxultra

Posts: 436; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Works great been running the Beta for some time. Really improved the way things work on the IphoneX. Much easier to close apps now. Grouped notifications is nice and it is much faster. Looking forward to group facetime hoping apple gets ios 12.1 out with support for group facetime soon.

23. miketer

Posts: 493; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

Has anyone loaded iOS 12 on a 6s Plus? Is it smooth?

24. baldilocks

Posts: 1428; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

It makes the 5S almost like a brand new phone, so the 6S series must be even better.

25. miketer

Posts: 493; Member since: Apr 02, 2015

Makes sense. Thanks.

28. apple-rulz

Posts: 1873; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

I have iOS 12 on a 6S Plus, and it's very smooth, and noticeably faster/quicker when doing all day-to-day stuff. It's a very impressive upgrade over iOS 11.

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