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iOS 12 public beta: The best features

Here's what you should try first if you choose to check out Apple's iOS 12 preview.

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Scott_Stein.jpg

Scott Stein

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iOS 12 Public Beta
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iOS 12 Public Beta

The final version of iOS 12 isn't arriving until the fall, but a public beta is now here to try if you're curious. You don't need to install public betas on your phone, and we'd advise you not to (use a second device if you're curious), but here's what's new to try. Yes, Memoji! And there's more.

iOS 12 Public Beta
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ARKit 2 and Measure

ARKit 2 enables all sorts of amazing things, but not without third-party apps (which won't get here until the fall). Meanwhile, there's just Apple's new Measure app.

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ARKit 2 and Measure

Measure is an AR tape measure app. It's a lot like other apps that exist, but this one works pretty decently and is free.

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ARKit 2 and Measure

Just keep in mind, AR measurements are often not precise.

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Siri Shortcuts

Siri Shortcuts will eventually work with third-party apps and a future new app called Shortcuts that will program all sorts of voice-enabled workflows... like the Apple-acquired app Workflow. But that's not here yet.

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Siri Shortcuts

Instead, you can play with shortcuts that might appear via Apple's first-party apps in Settings. These can be customized with new voice prompts, but that's about it for now.

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Screen Time

Feeling addicted to your phone? Screen Time wants to help. It's inside Settings.

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Screen Time

The new feature tracks usage across apps, and measures overall screen time.

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Screen Time

Its settings can be used to try to control personal phone use, or limit kid screen time in an iCloud Family Sharing-linked account.

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Screen Time

Downtime is a feature that aims to limit phone use during set periods, shutting down access to apps (it can be customized).

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Screen Time

Launch an app, and you'll get this block. But you can override it by snoozing the alert, or turning it off. I'm not sure my willpower will be deterred.

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Screen Time

Grayed-out apps during Downtime look like this.

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Notifications

Notification management is a lot better now. Similar app notifications can stack, and it's easy to tap to silence notifications from pings, but have them still appear on the lock screen.

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Memoji and Animoji

If you have an iPhone X, you'll want to try Memoji. The make-your-own-Animoji avatar tool lives where Animoji already are: in the Messages app, or in FaceTime.

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Memoji and Animoji

New Memoji can be made pretty quickly and added to the roster. Mine looks pretty familiar.

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Memoji and Animoji

Or, go crazy (I have no idea what this is).

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Memoji and Animoji

Four new Animoji are also on iOS 12. There's a dinosaur.

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Memoji and Animoji

There's a ghost.

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Memoji and Animoji

There's a koala.

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Memoji and Animoji

There's a tiger.

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Memoji and Animoji

You can do weirder photo and video effects, and put Animoji and Memoji on your head, but it's buried inside the Camera feature in Messages.

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Memoji and Animoji

Pick from your Animoji/Memoji, and they'll automatically glom onto your head. (Why isn't this part of the basic Camera app?)

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Memoji and Animoji

Here are a lot of photos of me putting Memoji and Animoji on my head.

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Memoji and Animoji

My wife asked me what the point of this was, and I couldn't answer. But my kids were amused.

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Memoji and Animoji

Group FaceTime, supporting up to 32 people, also works with Memoji-on-heads and Animoji-on-heads, which will clearly be the killer app. I haven't gotten to try that yet.

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Memoji and Animoji

Pig-me.

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Memoji and Animoji

Dragon-me.

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Memoji and Animoji

Yes, Animoji will open their mouths (and stick out their tongues).

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