Here are iOS 12’s best new features

Apple’s free operating-system update has a lot to offer—even if your iPhone or iPad is a few years old.

Starting today, Apple’s new iOS 12 operating system for iPhones and iPads is available for download. To grab it, just open up the Settings app on your existing iOS device and go to Software Update in the General section. Once the update is downloaded and your iPhone restarts, you’ll have access to all the goodies iOS 12 offers. And there are a lot of them:


Apple’s Maps app isn’t getting a UI redesign, but the data that is displayed will be radically different and more detailed. The company has spent years behind the scenes improving its mapping data gathering capabilities, and users can expect to see an insane amount of additional detail in their maps, including improved foliage, pedestrian pathways, objects, and areas such as pools, baseball diamonds, and parking lots. Also expect better traffic data, construction information, and real-time road changes. The bummer is that these new Maps changes will only cover Northern California to begin with, with Apple rolling them out to the rest of the U.S. over the next year.


Face ID, which Apple unveiled with the iPhone X last year and expanded to other devices this year, will also see software improvements in iOS 12. First, users can now add two Face ID profiles to their devices. This means two different faces can unlock the same device. This is extremely handy for couples that want easy access to each other’s devices, or for parents and their children.

Another improvement is much more nuanced but welcome. In iOS 12 on the lock screen, you can now simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen to tell Face ID to try again if it didn’t recognize your face on the first try. This beats the old method of needing to press the side button to turn off the display, and then turn it on again to get Face ID to try again.


Don’t have one of the newest iPhones? No worries. iOS 12 will run on any iPhone or iPad that can run iOS 11. That includes all iPhones going back to the iPhone 5s—a five-year-old device!—and the original iPad Air.

But far better than just supporting older devices, iOS 12 will actually speed them up. Apple says that apps will launch up to twice as fast with iOS 12 on older devices compared to iOS 11. Onscreen keyboards will appear up to 50% faster, and the camera will be ready up to 70% faster when you swipe to it. It’s not often that a major software update actually speeds up old devices, but Apple has done it.


If you’re reading this article, you probably love your iPhone–possibly a little too much. As the effects of “smartphone addiction” become more well-known, users are increasingly trying to find ways they can detach from their devices. That’s where Screen Time comes in.

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