12 cool new iOS 12 features that let you do with your iPhone what you couldn't

12 cool new iOS 12 features that let you do with your iPhone what you couldn't
Despite that Apple focused most of the talk around its iOS 12 changes on what is going on under the hood, it hasn't stopped at just performance and stability enhancements in comparison with iOS 11. 

There is a whole slew of new features, some of which users have been clamoring for since the Smartphone Ice Age (grouped notifications), but some that are brand new and fun, like the Memoji avatars that present your lovely self to the world as your creator intended. 

These smaller changes and features add up to a markedly new experience on your iPhone, and you will be able to do things on it you weren't able to do before, here's a scoop of notables:

Use the keyboard spacebar to launch 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. That's probably been prepping the grounds for the 3D Touch alternatives on the LCD iPhone XR, but we'll take it nonetheless. It's a pretty nifty replacement solution, this one, and works on all iPhones with iOS 12, too.

Check dimensions of physical objects with AR

You can now take the approximate dimensions of a physical object with your iPhone only. With the iOS 12 beta, Apple introduces the new Measure app you might have already noticed as an alien icon on your home screen. Tap it, mash on the Plus button below, and follow Apple's instructions for measuring and collecting points, the app will then spit out the final dimensions of that banana that has been rotting right in front of you for ages. Not that there haven't been third-party apps attempting to do this, but it's nice to know we have it on a "system level" now.

View complete battery stats and day-by-day usage breakdowns

Burned by the #batterygate throttling scandal, Apple is leaving nothing to chance when it comes to battery drain now. With iOS 12, it introduces a bunch of new battery stats and graphs. The battery usage chart in Settings can now show your usage details from the last 24 hours to 10 days, and tapping a day bar will let you see a timeline of apps that sucked the life out of it in the given timeframe, so you can have a clearer understanding of which app that you use the most, is draining your battery the fastest.

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. 

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.

Use a shorter gesture for closing apps

Apple simplified closing apps on its notch-y OLED iPhones with iOS 12. Since they are devoid of home buttons, Apple introduced gesture navigation, but instead of swiping up, and having to long-press to clear recent app cards, you can simply flick them away immediately now.

Mute autoupdates

Whew, you can now slide the switch, and you will never receive any system update ever. We bet some wished they had this option before iOS 11 hit their unsuspecting heads. Be brave, and keep your trusted old 5s in the state of iOS 11, we dare you! Nah, given how much faster the new update is, it can breathe a whole new life into the aging handset, so you can even sideload the beta of iOS 12 on it now, and it will still be faster than with the retail iOS 11 you are trudging on it.

Make Animoji videos that last more than ten seconds

You asked, and Apple listened. The default 10-second Animoji video limit is now lifted to 30 seconds in iOS 12, so you don't have to resort to shady third-party apps and services to create a lasting impression of coughing uncontrollably while winking and sticking your tongue as the new T-Rex character.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself... with the 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. Control your kids' screen time, but don't forget to keep tabs on your usage, too.

Use 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 rightmost hue circle with the rainbow colors on it.

Share passwords 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.

Start Siri in low-power mode, and make it turn on the flashlight

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.

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.

Shush notifications, but preview emails straight from them

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.

In addition, while iOS 12 now provides third-party app developers with the ability to customize their notifications, Apple hasn't missed the chance to improve the 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.

Get helped by AI in your photo search

Apple's photo search tool can now identify all your pictures with dogs in them, for instance, even if you haven't categorized or named them so. The new iPhone XS/Max and XR sport the A12 Bionic chipset that make object recognition and computational photography a snap, so they know your dog is in the picture even before you have taken it. That's some serious AI voodoo that can be used for faster searches in the Photos app afterward.

Related phones

iPhone XS Max
  • Display 6.5" 1242 x 2688 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB
  • Battery 3179 mAh(25h talk time)



1. Nexus4lifes

Posts: 290; Member since: Feb 13, 2014

The world is talking about new iphone's camera put in drain by the year old pixel 2 - Yet phonearena fails to post any thing about it - WHY?

8. jellmoo

Posts: 2563; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

To be fair, this is also true of every Android phone released this year as well. The Pixel 2 camera is just that good.

10. drunkenjay

Posts: 1657; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

the p20 is better.

13. jellmoo

Posts: 2563; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Not from what I've seen. Great, absolutely, but not better.

14. pradhanmn

Posts: 71; Member since: Feb 06, 2015

P20 pro beat pixel by a huge margin on DXO MARK

19. bucky

Posts: 3778; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

i have an iphone x and i know the pixel 2 is king. please stop looking at DXO mark- please! Also, the p20 may not even be in the top 5.

22. drunkenjay

Posts: 1657; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

you may think the pixel 2 is king because PA never does comparisons with the p20 with other phones. they do it with the pixel 2.

20. jellmoo

Posts: 2563; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

That may be true, but from what I've seen the Pixel 2 provides better images, easier, for most people. YMMV.

2. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

Butthurt android will gonna say that they had these features for a long time, apple is catching up, welcome to 2017 and other butthurt comments. But for most of us who uses iphone since 2007, its nice to have these new features.

4. darkkjedii

Posts: 30971; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

What does "will gonna say" mean? Are you talking about a guy named Will?

15. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

And I doubt Android is butthurt since an OS has no feelings ;)

18. darkkjedii

Posts: 30971; Member since: Feb 05, 2011


5. Fred3

Posts: 496; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Seeing that your first words are "butthurt Android" is just showing how butthurt you are.

11. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Your so much of a troll that you trolled yourself. Had you made your trolling comment no one would've mentioned that Android had these features first being that most of these are iPhone specific. SMH.

16. nasznjoka

Posts: 418; Member since: Oct 05, 2012

We don't fight that way anymore, solders have crossed borders, we now are equal non superior to the other but to some like you still fighting, we use all devices these days a new iPhone got it and a new Galaxy got it so no point at all

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 30971; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Most of these are not even worth mentioning. 6.5 as well as the 5.8 need split screen multitasking, picture in picture, pencil support, free placed widgets, tap to note, and an app drawer. This old outdated static grid of icons is stale now Apple. Beautiful phones, great hardware, weak features, and a dated look...mehhh.

6. srgonu

Posts: 541; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

Great listing. With those features, I will probably think of iOS and outside Note line.

7. shiv179

Posts: 152; Member since: Aug 08, 2012

"Magic, and, just works" - I lol'd so hard at that!

9. TheOracle1

Posts: 2215; Member since: May 04, 2015

These are a thing on IOS now? I'm surprised. I just assumed most smartphones did 99% of the same thing. I didn't know ios was so far behind.

12. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

"Check dimensions of physical objects with AR" Looks like a cool & helpful feature.

17. lallolu

Posts: 732; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

I am most impressed by iphone software updates. My workphone got the update the same day it was released. Meanwhile my LG V20 is still to get Oreo.

21. imlegitcusimthasht

Posts: 306; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

because it only needs to be pushed out by apple. They don't work with carriers, vut you know what. A V20 on Nougat is still more productive than an iPhone Xs Max with iOS12. If you disagree, you aren't using your V20 correctly. Haha

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