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iOS 12: Release date, new features and hidden features

Every new feature coming for the iPhone and iPad.

Josh Miller/CNET

iOS 12 will be powering your iPhone or iPad for the next year. While the Public Beta is slated to hit sometime this month, we've had the chance to spend time with the iOS 12 Developer's Beta.

As we close in on the full release of iOS 12, let's take a look at everything you need to know.


Jason Cipriani/CNET

When can I download it?

Right now, if you're a developer. The public beta is scheduled to launch before the end of June, and if you don't mind dealing with prerelease software that can have bugs and issues, go for it.

If you prefer to stick with finalized software, Apple typically releases major OS updates every September.

Device compatibility

If your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch runs iOS 11, it will run iOS 12. 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.

Now Playing: Watch this: 5 new features in iOS 12

Core features

Siri gets smarter, but you'll work harder -- at first. Siri 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.

Better notification management. One of the main reasons we reach for our phones so often is the sheer number of alerts we receive. iOS 12 has new tools to cut back on unnecessary alerts.

Minor tweaks to Messages, but a big change to FaceTime. After a couple years of adding a lot to the Messages app, the biggest change this year is a new camera tool. However, FaceTime is gaining group video calls for up to 32 people.

Create an Animoji of your own. Memoji is a word you're going to hear a lot about this fall. A Memoji is something iPhone X users can create and use just like last year's Animoji characters.

Secret features

Apple covered a lot of the new stuff in iOS 12 during the WWDC keynote, but not everything. We rounded up a few things that didn't make the keynote.

Naturally, once we had a chance to install the developer beta, we started looking and found some hidden features on our own.