The Public Beta for iOS 12 is Here | Tech News

iPhone owners wanting to try iOS 12 before its official release this fall can now download the public beta for free.

Installing the software gives you early access to the new group chats function in FaceTime, which supports up to 32 people at once. iPhone X owners will also get first dibs on Apple’s new Memoji feature, which lets you create virtual avatars of yourself and place them in Messages or FaceTime.

To sign up for the release, you can enroll here. But as a beta, the software will be a little buggy. Nevertheless, one of Apple’s main priorities with iOS 12 has been to improve the software’s performance.

For Apple customers willing to try the beta, you can expect apps to launch up to twice as fast as before when your iPhone comes under a heavy workload. Both the virtual keyboard and swipe to camera function will also pop up faster.

With iOS 12, Apple is also trying to address tech addiction. The new software includes a feature called Screen Time, which will give you a detailed breakdown of how much time you’re spending on your iPhone or iPad and over what apps. It’ll also give you new controls to let you set time limits on your app usage and prevent notifications from overwhelming your life during certain periods of the day.

Another change Apple is introducing with iOS 12 is focused on Siri, which has fallen behind other voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. To catch up, Siri has been built with a new feature called Shortcuts, which lets you assign a voice phrase to kick off a chain of automated actions over your device. For instance, you can customize the voice phrase “Order Mint Mojito” to trigger Siri to order the coffee drink over a mobile app, with the right amount of cream and sugar you desire.

For Apple users willing to try the beta, it’s good idea to back up your device on iTunes before installing the software.

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