Apple has started to distribute the ninth developer beta of iOS 12 for testing by users, alongside the eighth beta releases of macOS Mojave, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5, with the operating systems being put through their paces barely a month before Apple's anticipated September iPhone event.
The new builds can be downloaded from the Apple Developer Center, or via an over-the-air update for devices enrolled into the testing program. Public beta versions are usually released a few days after the developer betas are provided for testing.
The ninth iOS 12 beta is build number16A5362a, replacing the eighth build's 16A5357b.
The version number for iOS 12 is out of step from the rest of the operating systems, as Apple released then withdrew the seventh beta, then released the eighth beta two days later as a new version, rather than as a re-issue of the seventh.
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.
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 Stocks, News, Weather, and Voice Memos are being included, while a new first-party app Measure will take advantage of ARKit to measure objects in 3D space, using the rear camera. Siri Shortcuts, MeMoji, and third-party map support in CarPlay are also included.
One notable change to Apple's announced plans is that it will not be including Group FaceTime in the final release, with a later update expected to enable the feature later this year.
macOS 10.14 Mojave
The eighth developer beta for macOS Mojave has build number 18A371a, up from the seventh build, 18A365a.
Productivity plays a big part in macOS Mojave, with Stacks graduating from the dock to the desktop, allowing for files to be grouped into relevant piles by type automatically. Finder receives 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 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.
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, such as by using AirDrop.
Part of an ongoing project to make iOS apps usable in macOS, Apple's first attempt involves converting a few of its own apps. News, Stocks, and Voice Memos have been ported from iOS to macOS in this way, along with the Home app, allowing users to manage their 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.
The eighth tvOS 12 beta is build 16J5355a, replacing the seventh build 16J5349a.
Support for Dolby Atmos surround sound is included in tvOS 12, an audio technology that locates sounds in 3D space 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.
The inclusion of cross-device Autofill will allow users to sign into apps on the Apple TV using existing log-in details from an iPhone or iPad, saving them 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.
A number of cable operators 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 famed Aerial screensaver will get a new "Earth" view, showing the planet as filmed from the International Space Station. Also, users can also see more details about pictured locations by swiping and tapping their Apple Remote.
Apple's eighth developer build for watchOS 5 is number 16R5357a, replacing the seventh's 16R5349a.
A big change to watchOS 5 is the inclusion of 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, with speech from the sender 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.
For avid fitness users, they can sign up for week-long activity competitions against their contacts, with awards and progress updates shared between participants. Specific types of workouts are allowed in the mode, including hiking, yoga, and 12 others, while running outdoors will provide pace alerts.
Lastly, there's now automatic workout detection, and a stress detection function that can alert the user if the Apple Watch determines they have stopped working out.
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: Public beta versions of iOS 12, macOS Mojave and tvOS 12 are also available.