Everything you need to know about new iPhone features | Tech News

Apple has unveiled all the new features heading to iPhones and iPads at its developer conference in San Francisco on Monday, including speed boost for even older devices, improved privacy and a host of new features.

The look of iOS 12 will be very familiar, with the company focusing on improving the experience and the underlying software rather than simply splashing on a new coat of paint.

What will it run on?

The new iOS 12 will be available for any device running iOS 11 now, which means any Apple smartphone from the iPhone 5S or newer, and any iPad from the iPad mini 2 and iPad Air or newer, plus the sixth generation iPod touch.

When can I get it?

The developer version is available now, but the first public beta is due later in June, for those eager to test it as soon as possible.

A final release will be available in September for everyone else.


Apple promised that iPhone users will see sizeable speed improvements across the board, including for smartphones as old as 2013’s iPhone 5S.

Apps will launch up to twice as fast as before, the camera should load 70% faster, and so should the home screen after the phone is unlocked, while even the keyboard should pop up in half the time. Apple said it has improved performance all over iOS, so everything should be at least a little quicker day to day, even on older devices.

Unlikely previous updates, iOS 12 looks like it will speed up your iPhone rather than slowing it down.


Notifications can finally be grouped so you don’t have to swipe away 10 from the same app.

Notifications on iOS have lagged behind competitors for a while, but now Apple is beginning to tackle the overloaded lock screen. Notifications can now be grouped together rather than users having to deal with 10 separate notifications for each app, while others can be forced to delivered without making a sound or vibration showing up in the notification centre but not the lock screen – useful for lower priority apps and services.

iPhone addiction

Screen Time will track your usage of your phone so you can see how often you pick it up, which apps you use the most and for how long. Photograph: Apple Handout/EPA

Following Google’s lead, Apple is also making efforts to help people curb their addictions to their phones. New tools include Screen Time, which generates weekly Activity Reports showing app usage, how many notifications you receive and how often you pick up and use your phone. You can set App Limits, which are essentially timers for app usage.

The new Do Not Disturb During Bedtime is designed to clear out your notification clutter hiding them till prompted in the morning so you can wind down in the evenings without worrying about what’s happening.

Parental controls

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Parents will be able to set limits on app usage and track how long kids spend on their iPhone or iPad as well as the apps they use. Photograph: Apple Handout/EPA

Part of the phone addiction tools are new parental controls to perform the same monitoring and limiting of app usage on children’s iPhones. Parents can see their child’s Activity Report on their own iOS devices, as well as set and manage App Limits for them.

Using a new feature called Downtime, parents can also set up schedules for when notifications from apps won’t be displayed on the kid’s phone and block certain apps from being used.

The features work across all of a child’s iOS devices, so one rule can be set for both iPhones and iPads if they have them.

More animated emoji

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Some of Apple’s Memoji from iOS 12, which can be personalised to represent an individual. Photograph: Apple

iOS 12 is adding new Animoji to the roster available on the iPhone X, including a ghost, koala, tiger and T-rex. Users can now also generate custom emoji, similar to Samsung’s AR emoji, called Memoji, which they can make look like themselves.

All the animoji can now also recognise when your tongue is sticking out. Great.

Privacy and security

Apple is attempting to improve the privacy and security of user data on the iPhone through several additions to iOS 12. Safari will now stop Facebook’s Like and Share buttons, other social widgets and advertisers from tracking you without permission.

The company is also introducing a new USB time out feature that is currently available in beta with iOS 11.4.1. It is designed to help protect user data against thieves or law enforcement when they seize your device. It will limit what can be done via the Lightning port after an hour of inactivity on the phone to prevent iPhones from being unlocked by connecting them to a computer or a hacking box.


Apple is playing a bit of catch up with Google’s Photos app, with its own built-in Photos app on iOS 12. In the new “For You” tab, Photos will now suggest sharing photos with the people caught in them so that group photos from events are easy to collate between iPhone users.

Apple said it has also improved search within photos with suggestions to help users find snaps from recent events, people and places.

Siri Shortcuts

Apple’s Siri is still playing catch up with Google’s Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. One of the new features is custom commands called Siri Shortcuts, that allow users to utter a certain phrase and perform a certain function such as launching an app or function.

Google Assistant has had a similar feature for a while, but Shortcuts seems more like Apple’s take on the popular automation system If This Then That (IFTTT).

Google Maps on Apple Car Play

Apple’s in-car connectivity system, Car Play, has until now been limited to Apple Maps for navigation duties. As of iOS 12, Apple is opening up the door to third-party navigation apps, which will be a very welcome change for Google Maps users.

Automatic two-factor SMS code copying

Two-factor or one-time-passcode text messages are an ugly side effect of our improved security regimes, and can be a constant thorn in our sides. With iOS 12 you won’t have to switch out to Messages to copy or remember the code to paste into whichever app or website is demanding it – the two-factor code should just appear as an AutoFill option once the text message arrives so you can tap and paste it straight in.

Gestures on iPad

How you use an iPad already changed with iOS 11, with a load of new multitasking and swiping gestures being added, and iOS 12 brings them more in line with those used on the iPhone X. Swipe down from the right corner to get to Control Center or down from the left for notifications. A swipe up from the bottom of the screen reveals the dock, from which a swipe up again will go to the home screen, effectively removing the need for a home button.

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