10 hidden features in iOS 12

Hidden features are the best kind of features.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
4 min read
James Martin/CNET

iOS 12 is here and ready to add a bunch of new features to your iPhone , iPad and iPod touch . Most notably, Apple focused on improving overall performance for all iOS devices. That's not really a feature that can be shown in screenshots but has to be experienced firsthand.

There are easier to find features, however, such as Memoji, improved notifications and new Siri suggestions. Outside of the expected features based on Apple's iOS 12 announcement, there are hidden features in iOS 12. And for the past few months, we've used iOS 12 and dug up some hidden features we think are worth pointing out.

Watch this: iOS 12: 9 hidden features you should check out right now

More battery info

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Figuring what's draining the battery on any mobile device is something we all want to know more about. With iOS 12, open the Settings app, select Battery and you will have as much info as you can digest. New charts, breakdowns and graphs show you exactly what was using your battery and, perhaps most importantly, when it was used. 

Alternate appearance in Face ID

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iPhone users with a model that supports Face ID who have trouble getting Face ID to work properly when wearing a hat, sunglasses or something else that changes your overall appearance will gain the ability to register a second appearance. The new setting is found in Settings > Face ID & Passcode > Alternate appearance.

Indeed, this same feature can be used to register a second face to Face ID to give a second person access to your device. Just keep in mind that if you want to remove the second appearance (or face) you will need to reset Face ID.

Temporary Do Not Disturb

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Instead of manually turning Do Not Disturb on and off for a meeting or a movie, you can set DND to disable itself after an hour, this evening or when you leave your current location in iOS 12.

Open Control Center and long-press or force touch the Do Not Disturb icon to pick from the new DND options.

Close app gesture

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Remember the good ol' days when you could force close an app with a simple swipe up? Those days are back, on the iPhone X at least.

Instead of switching to multitasking view, long-pressing on an app's card, then force-closing it -- as of iOS 12 you only need to activate multitasking and then swipe up on any app's card to close it out.

Automatic OS updates

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A new feature in iOS 12 will automatically install iOS updates on your device without requiring you to manually approve it. You can enable automatic updates in Settings > General > Software Updates > Automatic updates. With this feature enabled, whenever an update is released your iPhone will automatically update while you are sleeping. 

iPhone X gesture on iPad

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The iPhone X gesture to access Control Center -- a swipe down from the top-right corner of the screen -- has made its way to the iPad. After installing iOS 12, you can no longer access Control Center on the iPad through the multitasking interface. Instead, swipe down from the top-right corner.

Autofill shortcodes

For those who have two-factor authentication codes sent via SMS, iOS 12 will make the process of entering the six- or eight-digit code so much easier. Instead of having to copy and paste the code or quickly memorize it, a shortcut will show up on top of the keyboard when your device receives the code.

Tap on the shortcut and the keyboard will autofill the code for you. It's pretty slick.

QR Code scanner in Control Center

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Apple added a QR Code scanner to the camera app in iOS 11, and with iOS 12 the scanner gets its own shortcut in Control Center. You will need to add the shortcut in Settings > Control Center > Customize Controls and tap the green button next to Scan QR Code.  

Disable USB accessories

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With hackers and law enforcement tools able to crack an iPhone's passcode via the USB port, Apple has added a feature that disables the Lightning port on iOS devices if it hasn't been unlocked in the past hour.

The feature is enabled by default, but should you have a reason to disable it, you can do so in just a few seconds. 

Open Settings > Face ID & Passcode and then scroll to the bottom of the page and toggle the USB Accessories option to the On position.

Messages Camera tools

Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The Messages app isn't getting a whole lot of new features in iOS 12. One of the changes is a new camera tool for pictures and videos taken within the Messages app. We've already covered the feature in detail here, but the gist is this: Open the camera app in Messages, then tap the star icon in the lower-left corner to get started.

Here are the biggest iOS 12 features Apple announced at WWDC 2018

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