Apple issues fourth public betas of iOS 12, tvOS 12, macOS 10.14 Mojave
Apple is continuing to shake down its upcoming operating system updates ahead of their expected release this fall, by providing participants of its public beta program with a fourth build of both iOS 12, macOS 10.14 and tvOS 12 to test out.
The fourth public beta releases are available to download by users enrolled into the testing program via the Apple Beta Software Program website. Functionally, the public betas should be similar in content to the most recent developer betas, which were issued yesterday.
Apple has made iOS 12 more useful for owners of older iPhones and iPads, with performance improvements aimed at improving the experience for those devices, along with newer models. Owners of iPads will also be able to use some extra gestures and see notification grouping features borrowed from the iPhone X.
Digital health is a focus of the new version, including the Screen Time function that can be used to monitor app usage and restrict access to apps, in order to help reduce a user's dependency on certain types of apps, such as games or social networks.
Updated versions of stock apps, including News, Weather, Stocks, and Voice Memos, are included in iOS 12, along with a brand new first-party app "Measure," which will use ARKit to determine the dimensions of real-world objects using the device's rear camera.
Other updates in the operating system include third-party map support for CarPlay, MeMoji, group FaceTime, and the new Siri Shortcuts.
macOS 10.14 Mojave
Productivity changes feature heavily in macOS Mojave, including the introduction of Stacks, a feature moving form the dock to the desktop, which can be used to group files by type automatically. Finder changes include a Gallery view that shows media and its metadata, alongside a set of contextual quick actions that can be used to perform custom automator actions on files.
Quick Look has been updated to allow users access to Markup without leaving the menu, and for videos, the option to trim clips without requiring a separate editor. A new screenshot HUD makes it easier to take images and videos of the Mac desktop, while also lowering the load on the processor.
A new Continuity Camera function can be used to insert images into a document on macOS sourced from a nearby iOS device's camera. The shot transfers automatically to the macOS app, without any need to manually send the image over, such as by AirDrop.
Apple informed developers at WWDC of an ongoing project to allow iOS apps to run on macOS, with a number of first-party apps being used to trial the technology. News, Stocks, and Voice Memos are the ported iOS apps made to run on macOS, along with the Home app, which can be used to manage a HomeKit network.
The Mac App Store is being refreshed, borrowing a number of aspects from the iOS App Store, including video previews of apps. Machine learning technologies Create ML and Core ML2 are included, as well as a new Dark Mode interface that turns the macOS UI to a darker shade.
A major change to tvOS 12 is the inclusion of support for Dolby Atmos surround sound, which can locate sounds in 3D space for the viewer, without relying on setting up discrete channels like traditional home cinema systems. More home control systems will also link their remotes to the Apple TV in the release, and will also include support for Siri interactions.
The inclusion of cross-device Autofill will allow users to sign into apps on the Apple TV using credentials from an iPhone or iPad, saving time from having to enter them a second time. For some cable services, Single Sign-On could become Zero Sign-On, with the Apple TV automatically signing users into channel apps after detecting what provider's network is being used, and their channel package.
More cable services have also advised they wish to use the Apple TV as an alternative to the cable set-top box. Charter Spectrum intends to use the Apple TV later in 2018, with France's Canal+ and Switzerland's Salt also set to do the same.
The famed Aerial screensaver will get a new "Earth" view, showing the planet as filmed from the International Space Station. While in Aerial, users can also see more details about pictured locations by swiping and tapping.
AppleInsider, and Apple itself, recommend against installing beta releases on mission-critical hardware, due to the potential for data loss. Those interested in testing the betas out should use secondary devices, and to keep backups of any important data before installing or performing updates.