iOS 12 is now available: How to update, its best new iPhone features and more
Everything you need to know about your refreshed iPhone software.
Jason CiprianiContributing 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.
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Thought Leadership, Speed Desk and How-To. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds.
Jessica led CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
ExpertiseContent strategy, team leadership, audience engagement, iPhone, Samsung, Android, iOS, tips and FAQs.
Apple also recently released iOS 12.1 through its beta program, which brings back Group FaceTime. We're likely still several weeks away from iOS 12.1's full release, but should you want to take part of the beta you can sign up here.
Included in iOS 12 is a new Memoji feature, improved handling of notifications, a revamped Do Not Disturb feature and a Measure app. Apple also added new parental controls for those who want to keep a child's device locked down.
If your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch runs
, it will run iOS 12. That means all iPhones starting from the
onward. That's the short answer, but we also have a more detailed answer right here.
Smoother and faster
The headlining feature of iOS 12 isn't something we can explain through screenshots. It's something you have to experience on your own. Instead of cramming countless new features into iOS 12 and adding to some of the already perplexing (and frustrating!) bugs we all experience, Apple is using iOS 12 to focus on improving the overall performance of its iOS device lineup across the board.
Apps should open faster, scrolling should be smoother, and crashes should be fewer.
Best new features
Siri gets smarter, but you'll work harder -- at first.
Shortcuts are tasks you can create and trigger with a custom command to do things like send a text, play a podcast and get directions to your favorite ice cream shop.
Cut down on screen time: New tools in iOS 12 show you how often you pick up your phone, how many notifications you receive, and how much time you spend using various apps. Trust us: It's scary to see hard numbers for how long you spend on your phone.
Closing apps goes old school: Apple changed the process of force-closing apps on the iPhone X, adding in extra steps. With iOS 12, things are getting back to normal.
You have a built-in tape measure: Need to measure a table or some other object? Apple is adding a new app, Measure, in iOS 12. The app uses augmented reality to measure real-world objects. It's pretty cool.
Watch this: 5 new features in iOS 12
iPad gets some love
Apple didn't spend much time focussing on iPad improvements with iOS 12, but there are a few new features.