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Apple's iOS 12 is here, adding improved performance, Life Balance features, Memoji, Augmented Reality, ARKit 2, and more

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Apple released iOS 12 on Monday five days after its announcements of the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR. The new OS features better performance for older devices, Augmented Reality and ARKit 2, new life balance tools, and tweaks to Siri, Photos and Apple News.

Apple's Tim Cook announced at the top of the keynote September 12 that Apple will soon ship its two-billionth iOS device. Later in the keynote, after Cook unveiled three new iPhones, Phil Schiller announced that iOS 12 would be available on September 17, while shipping on the new devices.

iOS 12 was first unveiled at WWDC in June, and was followed by 12 developer betas, and ten for the general public. A look at what's in the new iOS:

Augmented Reality/ARKit 2

Apple has launched a new USDZ format, in collaboration with Pixar, in order to create augmented reality experiences. In addition, Apple announced the second edition of ARKit 2, which for the first time offers the possibility of shared AR experiences.

One of the key features added to iOS 12 as a result of ARKit 2 is tge "Measure" app. The app uses ARKit, in conjunction with the rear cameras to size up objects that are within range of the iPhone..

Life Balance and Screen Time

iOS 12 includes the rollout of new life balance features first announced at WWDC.

Do Not Disturb has been expanded to Do Not Disturb at Bedtime, while a new feature called Screen Time shows users how much time they use each app and allows them to establish time limits.



Apple has also rolled out Memojis, or personal animojis, which allow individual users to use the TrueDepth camera system to map their faces.

It's just one of 20 new features in Messages, with the others including camera effects, longer Animojis, and ability to detect whether the user is sticking their tongue out, and a new Messages app for the camera.


Apple has added Shortcuts to Siri, giving users access to customizable macros for linking multiple tasks. The new functionality, consisting of more than 100 shortcuts, allows apps to create their own shortcuts in order to connect with Siri.

Also available is the ability to toggle Siri within low-power mode, new Siri accents (including Irish and South African), and the ability to ask Siri to find passwords. Siri has also added the ability to turn on the Flashlight app, and new knowledge categories: Food, famous people, motorsports, and photos.


Apple has updated Photos in iOS, with improved search, as well as enhanced object and scene recognition.

There's also a new "For You" tab, featuring improved sharing, in the old spot of the "Memories" and "Share" tabs and combining their previous functions with new features. Memories remains, albeit in a different spot.

Search has also been improved, with both better Siri integration and the ability to search multiple terms. Importing has also been improved, with users able to import photos directly to albums instead of merely the camera roll.


Apple has updated notifications to group large chunks of notifications, especially large text chains. However, individual categories can be expanded by tapping on them.

In addition, Screen Time adds notification analytics.


The new release includes updates to several Apple native apps, including Stocks, Voice Memos, and iBooks, which has received a full revamp and is now known simply as "Books."


One thing that didn't get shown Wednesday is Group FaceTime. Introduced back at WWDC in June, the new feature will not be available at launch, Apple said in developer notes in mid-August.

Availability and compatibility

iOS 12 is available now on every device on which iOS 11 is available, dating back to the iPhone 5s.

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