Apple's iOS 12 update is practical, and these 'minor' new features show it

Apple's iOS 12 update is practical, and these 'minor' new features show it
After listing some of the best new iOS 12 features that Apple didn't have time to mention on stage, it's time to take a scroll through the nitty-gritty. 

As can be expected, there is much more than met the eye during Apple's Craig Federighi keynote participation, and we've discovered tens of changes, big and small, so you can take a look at what else may be in store for you when iOS 12 hits your iPhone or iPad this fall. It's not all grouped notifications and Memoji, you know, Apple now lets you leverage the space bar as a trackpad launcher, for instance, we kid you not:

Spacebar as a trackpad


Back by popular demand! We kid, as the spacebar's never been used to launch the iOS keyboard in trackpad mode, but, instead of needing an iPhone with 3D Touch to activate trackpad mode, in iOS 12 you simply long-press the spacebar, and can move the cursor freely around. Is that a hint that the LCD iPhone 9 won't have a 3D Touch layer, but replacement solutions like this one, as rumored? Remains to be seen...

Screen time widget



Don't look now, but you've been playing Pokemon Go all day, and that has taken a lot of tapping, swiping and display usage out of your iPhone, says the new Screen Time widget that splits your interactions into productivity, social networking, messaging, and so on.

Day-by-day battery usage breakdowns


Day-by-day, app-by-app battery usage breakdowns is arguably the most detailed look you can get at what's historically been draining your battery this side of a deep kernel dive on an Android handset, and it's pretty amazing that Apple is delivering it as systemwide feature with iOS 12. 

Burned by the #batterygate throttling scandal, Apple is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to battery drain now. The new iOS 12 provides you with freshly minted 24-hour to 10-day breakdowns of battery usage now, that you can access via the Battery Health section (still in beta) in the Settings app. 

In addition, you can obtain said day-by-day analysis of what has been using your battery the most in that timeframe, when you tap on a day bar in the 10-day graph, sweet! 

As you can see on the right, on Tuesday, we've been messaging a lot, and using the camera for Memojis, but after the novelty wore off, we've been using the phone normally, being much gentler on the battery pack.

Full email previews straight from the notification


Apple will give devs the freedom to customize where notification banner items are placed, including the alert's title, subtitle, and body text. They can use various fonts, or different styling for the interface elements, too. App-specific data, and even images, or branding, can be displayed for one pretty, interactive notification banner before you even get to the app in question.

While iOS 12 now provides third-party app developers with the ability to customize their notifications alerts, Apple hasn't missed the chance to improve the notification previews for its own apps, too.

Take email, for instance - in iOS 11, you can take a peek at roughly half of a longer email straight from the notification alert, while in iOS 12 you get a near full-screen mail content, complete with some scrolling abilities, neat.



A ton of new Markup colors for photo editing and annotation


With iOS 10, Apple introduced the Markup tool for drawing or annotating images, both in the Photos app, and in your messages. 

It was, however, with a few limited color options you can choose from. 

Fast forward to iOS 12, and Markup has gained a whole palette of new color to choose from, accessible from the most right hue circle with the rainbow colors on it.

Simple password sharing with AirDrop


You might be very proud of your newly-crafted Wi-fi router or magazine subscription password in the format of Sjq23eR54Q4v, but try giving it to your in-laws when they come to visit, and want to post some videos of the grandkids washing the dishes. Apple has greatly simplified the password-sharing process now - simply use AirDrop, the iPhone-to-iPhone communication paradigm, and that convoluted passcode will be on its merry way for anyone with friendly intentions to peruse a second after you decide to give it all away.


QR codes get a mark


If you don't know what a QR code is, but someone tells you to fire up the camera and scan that QR code they just sent or showed you, you'd appreciate it if your camera app actually hunted the thing down, and read it automatically. 

That's what iOS 11 does, of course, but with iOS 12, Apple actually highlights the QR code in the frame, so you know when the app has picked it up, and made it actionable, instead of pointing aimlessly at anything that doesn't move.

'Hey Siri' would work in low-power mode, too


Before iOS 12, Apple's virtual butler Siri wouldn't budge for you when the iPhone is in the low-power, battery-saving mode that can kick in when your juice reaches 20%. Now, however, you can shout "Hey, Siri!" to your lung's capacity in that mode, too, and turn on or off various functions, including said low-power mode.


Website icons in Safari tabs


Apple's venerable browser wasn't fond of displaying your website's distinguished and much-labored-over icon, but with iOS 12 now all the tabs you have opened in Safari will show the so-called favicons where available. On the iPhone that feature is arguably not that useful, since just a tab is displayed at a time, but it's nice to know that Safari is catching up in that respect anyway. You do need to turn the option on in Settings>Safari>Show Icons in Tabs, though



Dictation on third-party keyboards


Before iOS 12, the awesome Dictation mode would only work with the stock Apple keyboard, but come this fall, or the first public beta, you will be able to dictate from third-party layouts as well, including Gboard.

Quiet notifications delivery


You can now tell iOS 12 to shush your notification alerts straight from the lock screen previews. Annoyed by the constant dings of upcoming emails, or preview banners messing your game sesh? 

Well, tap on the Deliver Quietly option in the last Mail alert preview, and from now on you still get the icon badges, and a preview in the notification center, but without distracting sounds, banners, or any lock screen presence to prying eyes.

Siri, turn on the flashlight!


Fumbling with your keys and bags of groceries in the dark, while holding the iPhone with one hand? Siri can turn on the flashlight for you now, and the power of your voice can turn it off, too. Magic, and, just works.

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17 Comments

1. vasta

Posts: 74; Member since: Apr 02, 2018

I’m getting tired of Android, there’s like a hundred submenus in the settings just for Google-related junk. As someone who wants to keep all syncing, tracking and user history off, iOS feels like a much more straightforward and user friendly experience in this regard. I have an iPad but never had an iPhone. Just need them to get rid of the notch first.

2. Well-Manicured-Man

Posts: 693; Member since: Jun 16, 2015

The notch will stay for about 4 years before all the front camera functionality can be implemented under the display. If you want privacy, then iOS is your first choice.

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

4 years from now all smartphones and iPhones will be starting down the path of relic. Google, Microsoft, and even Apple all have mentioned this. Because AR/VR/MR glasses/headsets will take over every function that your smartphones are doing today, but will go way beyond what any smartphone or iPhone can bring to the table. As far as privacy is concerned they all have your data. Look at the latest Siri Shortcuts is now looking more at your personal data. Like your calendar events, text messages, iMessages, GPS location data and more. That's all behind the scenes. Siri shortcuts are involved to the point she can even give you suggestions. Like if you go to the gym, and right afterwards you go to Starbucks and order a latte, then Siri can suggest doing that task for you automatically (order your latte), because Siri can also track your behavior now. So please all that Crap about iOS being more private, is a crock of $hit.

6. whatev

Posts: 2285; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

Answer me this: do you think your obsession for apple is a normal thing?

8. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Whatev you are the one obsessed with Apple more than me. I am obsessed with the truth. Besides which one of us has an Apple about to eat a little Android. Oh, that would be you.

13. whatev

Posts: 2285; Member since: Oct 28, 2015

But who’s the one living in apple articles? This is your natural environment, am I on android or Samsung articles? Then answer me: who’s the one obsessed?

17. theviolinist

Posts: 209; Member since: Feb 03, 2018

no dude, you're just a hater with no life. get over it already, your hate isnt gonna make android or samsung better

7. Valdomero

Posts: 683; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

You know you can disable that function right?

15. ShadowUnleashed

Posts: 88; Member since: Feb 08, 2018

Honestly I'm not sure I'd want to have to wear something all the time. I much prefer having all my stuff into a single object, in this case, the phone.

3. gamehead unregistered

How about Dark Mode and Split Screen?

4. bucky

Posts: 3785; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

This is turning out to be my favourite release in years. And it’s not even exciting but looking super solid.

9. Foxgabanna

Posts: 599; Member since: Sep 11, 2016

Man iOS 12 is lit. AF!

10. darkkjedii

Posts: 31103; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Dark mode, split view, picture in picture and pencil support Apple. I think iOS 12 is a really good upgrade, but it could always be better. The iPhone simply needs these features. I’m buying the 6.5 inch with or without them. I gotta have that one.

11. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2215; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

darkkjedii you are spot on! These would be welcomed upgrades. I have the iPad Pro 2017 as I will invest in Apple Pencil (if it becomes compatiable) for iPhone 6.5.

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 31103; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I have an Apple Pencil now, and can’t understand why it’s not compatible. I’d love for it to be, with the 6.5.

16. nodes

Posts: 1160; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

iOS 12 is one of the best update Apple have done of all time. no need to introduce groundbreaking gimmicky features. solid performance and less bugs/issues are what make iOS special, they went back to what iOS trully is. i hope the final version delivers.

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