The 10th anniversary of theiPhone turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. iOS 11, the heart and brain of the iPhone, was far from perfect. Infested with bugs, it slowed down many older generation devices, bricked a few new ones and spoiled experience of many. Now, Apple is looking to fix things with iOS 12 - expected to be launched later this year. The focus of iOS 12, says the company, is enhancing performance, and new featurescome later in the priority list. We installediOS 12 Public Beta to test the waters. Here's what we found.
Performance improvement: The primary focus of iOS 12 is enhancing the performance of the older devices that had suffered due to iOS 11. We tested iOS 12 Public Beta on iPhone 6. There was a significant improvement in the overall performance. The phone started working much faster with quick access to the camera and smoother navigation. Supporting a wide range of devices, iOS 12 is compatible with the last six generation of iOS devices, going back to iPhone 5S, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad (5th generation) and upwards.
Usability gestures on iPad: Apple got so focussed on improving performance and features that it skipped mentioning the significant updates iOS 12 brings to the iPad. The larger interface on the iPad now gets an iPhone-like gesture, making everything look cleaner and more accessible. A quick semi-circle swipe from the bottom of the iPad is enough to switch between running apps while a swipe up aggregates all the running apps in a single view. There is new access to the control centre from the top right, similar to the one on iPhone X. There is also an iPhone-like status bar at the top - displaying date, time, wireless connection status, power remaining, and more. Those who use both iPhone and iPad will feel at home.
Grouped Notification: The notification centre has been revamped. All notifications from one source are now stacked together. Right from the lock screen, we were able to manage notifications and also choose how to receive individual notifications - whether quietly or not at all. We were even able to access app notification settings. Also, multiple notifications can be dismissed at once.
Digital Health: We are getting addicted to smartphones. A little check on our browsing habits might be helpful. iOS 12 has a Screen Time section with settings that track all activity. The digital health dashboard shows the number of times you picked up your phone, notifications you responded to, apps you spent the most time on and a lot many small details of your digital behaviour. The 'Downtime' option helps you stay away by greying out the selected apps for the set time duration. Only calls and apps unbarred from 'Downtime' load during the scheduled time. This comes in handy when you are trying to focus on work. You can set timers for app usage for certain categories; this is reset every midnight. For instance, we set a one-hour limit for games in a day.
Group FaceTime: FaceTime wins hands down when it comes to video calling between iOS devices. FaceTime on iOS 12 can support a group video call with up to 32 participants. One can add more members to the FaceTime video call by simply tapping the '+' sign.
Siri Shortcuts: Apple is trying to improvise the experience with the introduction of Siri Shortcuts. We could not test it fully but this feature suggests shortcuts based on user habits. It even allows creation of customised shortcuts.
Measure App: We will see a lot many Augmented Reality apps apart from a lot more evolved ones. There is a Measure app (it joins the list of pre-installed apps on iOS 12) that measures objects by using the camera. We were able to mark the points and get measurements. The measurements were mostly accurate. The results are displayed in different units.
Bedtime Mode in Do Not Disturb: This can be boon for many. Those who pick their iPhones to check time at night will not be disturbed by the notifications on the screen.
Memoji: Along with the new Animoji, Apple has added a new personalised Memoji. With plenty of options to choose skin colour, hair style/colour, eyes, eyebrows, chin and more, after creating a Memoji, you can record a video, which can be shared with other iOS users.
Apart from these, there are many new smaller updates, including the advanced search in Photos, improvised Voice Memo and Stock apps and more to enhance the user experience.