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Apple has issued the sixth betas of its milestone operating systems, with developers able to test new builds of macOS Mojave, iOS 12, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5 just one week after the release of the previous beta batch.
The sixth betas can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center by users enrolled into the test program, or as over-the-air updates to devices already running earlier betas. Public beta versions are typically distributed within a few days of the developer versions.
macOS 10.14 Mojave
The sixth developer beta for macOS Mojave is build 18A353d, replacing the fifth beta build 18A347e.
Apple has made productivity a big focus in macOS Mojave, with Stacks graduating from the dock to the desktop, allowing for files to be grouped into piles by type automatically. Finder gains a Gallery view that displays media and metadata, as well as links for contextual quick actions that can perform predefined changes to files.
Quick Look now adds access to Markup functions without leaving the menu, including the ability to trim video clips without using a separate editor. The screenshot HUD simplifies the process of taking images and video of the Mac desktop, while also reportedly lowering the load on the processor for the task.
The new Continuity Camera function allows for users to use the camera from an iPhone or iPad to insert a photograph live into a macOS app. The shot automatically transfers to the macOS app without needing the user to manually send the image file across.
Part of an ongoing project to bring iOS apps to macOS, Apple's first attempt involves a bunch of first-party apps. News, Stocks, and Voice Memos are ported from iOS to macOS in this way, along with the Home app, allowing users to manage their HomeKit network.
The Mac App Store has been given an update that borrows elements from the iOS App Store, including video previews of apps. Updates for machine learning technologies Create ML and Core ML2 are included, and finally, an often-requested Dark Mode UI for the operating system.
Beta six for iOS 12 is build 16A5345f, up from the fifth build's 16A5339e.
Apple advises that iOS 12 will be handy as an update for users of older iPhones and iPads, claiming there to be performance improvements with these devices in mind, as well as newer hardware. The iPad also gains extra gestures and notification grouping features, borrowed from the iPhone X.
A new focus on "digital health" brings with it a new Screen Time function, designed to help users monitor their app usage. To help break a user's dependency on social media and games when they should be productive, it is also possible to restrict access to time-wasting apps.
New versions of stock apps including News, Weather, Stocks, and Voice Memos are included, along with a new first-party "Measure" app, which uses ARKit to determine the dimensions of real-worth objects using the iOS device's rear camera and other sensors.
Other improvements include third-party map support in CarPlay, MeMoji, group FaceTime, and Siri Shortcuts.
The sixth tvOS 12 beta has build number 16J5340e, replacing the fifth beta, which had build number 16J5334e.
Support for Dolby Atmos surround sound is included in tvOS 12, a technology that can help locate sounds in 3D space for the viewer without relying on discrete audio channels. A number of home control systems will add support for the Apple TV, as well as that of Siri interactions.
Cross-device Autofill can allow users to sign into tvOS apps using the same credentials as they used for iOS versions, reducing the need to enter them a second time. For some cable services, Single Sign-On will become Zero Sign-On, with the Apple TV automatically enabling channel apps after detecting what provider's network is being used, and the user's subscribed channel package.
A number of cable services have announced they want to use Apple TV as an alternate to the traditional set-top box, with Charter Spectrum intending to do so later in 2018, along with France's Canal+ and Switzerland's Salt.
The Aerial screensaver is being updated to show more details about pictured locations, when users swipe and tap. Lastly, a new "Earth" view in Aerial will show the planet as seen from the International Space Station.
The latest beta for watchOS 5 is build 16R5340g, replacing the fifth's 16R5334f.
A major addition to watchOS 5 is the Walkie Talkie app, which provides push-to-talk communications with a contact's own Apple Watch. Pressing the on-screen button opens the line of communication, with spoken audio played through the recipient's Watch speaker.
The Siri watch face now allows third-party apps to be added, including some from Nike. Siri can also be triggered by raising the wrist to their face, rather than stating the "Hey Siri" prompt.
On the fitness side, users can sign up for week-long activity competitions against their contacts, with awards and progress updates shared between participants during the period. Specific types of workouts are allowed in the mode, including hiking, yoga, and 12 others, while running outdoors will provide pace alerts.
There is now automatic workout detection, along with a stress detection function that alerts the user if it is determined they have stopped working out for some reason.
AppleInsider, and Apple itself, advise against installing beta releases on mission-critical hardware, due to the potential for data loss. Anyone who wishes to install beta software should do so on non-essential secondary devices, and to retain backups of data before installing.
Update: Apple on Monday also issued public beta versions of the upcoming iOS, macOS and tvOS releases.