Apple has recently revealed the next version of iOS, and Apple users everywhere are buzzing about iOS 12.
Pretty much every iOS release up until this point has generated that same level of buzz. After all, anything that Apple releases tends to get fans of the company excited. What’s really special about iOS udpates, though, is that they usually precede the release of a new model of iPhone. As such, you can expect new iPhones to be released sometime this year.
But what about now? There’s a fancy new version of iOS just sitting out there. Shouldn’t you download it now and get ahead of the pack? Well…you can do that. Actually, it’s not that difficult to download and install the latest version of iOS. As long as you follow a series of steps – and take a few precautions – you can start using iOS 12 right now. With it, you get more power, more features, and the kind of performance upgrades that just aren’t’ possible to achieve without buying a new device.
However, there’s a reason you can’t just open your device and start using the beta. As it stands, iOS 12 isn’t ready for prime time. Actually, there’s a chance that using it now can cause you a great deal of frustration. There’s even a chance that the latest version of iOS can break your device.
So before we tell you how to download and install iOS 12, let’s take a look at what the software includes and whether you really need it.
What is iOS 12?
iOS 12 is the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system. It includes an array of technical improvements and new features. Apple is promising that it’s the fastest and greatest version of iOS yet. That’s a familiar claim, but there are plenty of reasons to believe them.
In fact, iOS 12 is designed to work on all devices that run iOS 11. That means that even older Apple devices will benefit from iOS 12’s increased power. That will hopefully address some of the performance issues that plague older iPhones and iPads.
Of course, this new operating system has so much more to offer than that.
What Features Are New in iOS 12?
There are a ton of new features in the latest version of iOS 12. Here’s a brief rundown of what to expect.
- There is a new Animoji called Memoji. These can be personalized to look exactly like you. The technology is achieved through iOS 12’s “effects camera” which lets you capture your facial features.
- FaceTime will now support calls with up to 32 people. You’ll also be able to use Animojis, Memojis, and other effects during calls.
- You can create customized shortcuts that you’re able to voice activate through the new version of Siri. There’s also a new shortcuts app that lets you easily customize and create a variety of shortcuts.
- A new usage feature will tell you exactly how you use your iPhone. Available stats include your most used apps, how often you pick up your iPhone, and the average time you spend on your device.
- App limits will let you set a time limit for popular apps on your phone. This will supposedly help you eliminate distractions.
- A new do not disturb feature will let you turn off notifications a night time. This feature can also be enabled at times you set.
- Notifications can now be grouped together to eliminate home screen clutter.
- CarPlay now supports third-party apps like Google Maps and Waze.
- ARKit 2.0 will make AR more useful and reliable than ever before. Face tracking and object rendering will also benefit from these improvements.
- A new USDZ file format will let you AR assets in many apps and programs (such as Safari, Messages, and Mail).
iOS 12 App Improvements
The next Apple operating system will also improve the functionality of specific apps.
- Messages allows you to use a variety of emojis and other visual features. You can even use a sketching tool to create customized visuals.
- The Photos app benefits from an improved search function that lets you sort by specific locations and other terms. Over four million event references have been added to the search feature. The app will also suggest people to share photos with based on your habits and who is in them.
- Apple News now features a brose tab that makes it easier to find stories that interest you.
- Apple Stocks features a streamlined interface that includes regular information updates.
- Voice Memos now lets you upload recordings to the cloud. The app will soon also be available for iPad.
- iBooks is now known as Apple Books. This improved app will make it easier to keep track of where you left off in multiple books. The app’s interface is also much cleaner than before.
- Apple Music will soon feature larger album art and the ability to play an entire discography.
- Finally, there’s a new app called Measure that lets you use AR technology to measure objects.
iOS 12 Privacy Features
The latest iOS features some improvements specifically designed to address privacy concerns.
- A new built-in password generator automatically creates strong passwords for you. You can easily share those passwords via secure AirDrop options.
- Apple will now warn you if your password is too weak or has been used too often.
- iOS 12 offers you the option to autofill certain security codes.
- Safari will make it difficult for websites to track you or your information.
iOS 12 includes quite a few hidden features that Apple isn’t advertising. Here are some of the best ones:
- New Siri voice options include expanded regional accents.
- You can now ask Face ID to recognize multiple faces.
- If Face ID doesn’t recognize you, you can swipe up on the home screen to ask for a re-scan.
- You can set custom forward and backward options in the Podcast app. They will let you skip ahead or go back a custom amount of time.
- Battery usage stats now account for daily use instead of just weekly.
- Siri will soon work in low power mode.
When is iOS 12 Going to Be Officially Released?
Apple will most likely release iOS 12 in the fall when they release the next models of iPhone. However, they have not revealed the software’s exact release date.
Is there an iOS 12 Beta? How Can I Access It?
There are two kinds of iOS 12 betas: Developer and Public.
The developer beta is available now. However, as you probably guessed, it’s not available to the general public. Instead, you will need to be registered as a developer in order to access it. Here’s how you do that.
- First, you will need to register as an iOS developer. That will cost you a $99 a year fee. Yes, signing up this way is only recommended for actual developers and serious users.
- After you have registered as a developer, go to the Apple Developer’s website and log-in. You will then need to sign-in to the iOS device center
- Register your device’s UDID. Plug your device into iTunes, and click on the icon that appears. Open the summary tab and click on the serial number. That will show you your UDID
- Once your UDID is registered, unzip the beta file that Apple sends to your computer. Connect your device to iTunes if you haven’t already.
- Go to the device summary tab and choose to Restore iPhone. Select the beta file that downloaded when asked which version to install.
Please note that there are also services out there that let you avoid the $99 fee and still download the developer’s beta. One of the most popular services can be found at this website. However, such services are not recommended ways to get in on the beta. If you encounter serious issues using such a service, Apple can refuse to repair your device due to warranty violation. Please be sure that you know what you are getting into with such a service. Use every precaution available to you. Of course, the best option may be to not use such services at all.
What About the Public Beta?
The iOS 12 public beta is not currently accessible. However, it is expected to be released sometime in June. You can sign-up for the public beta by following these steps:
- Go to this website and click the “sign-up” button.
- Sign-Up using your Apple ID
- Agree to the iOS 12 Beta terms of the agreement.
Once the iOS 12 public beta is available, you will need to follow these steps to install it:
- Choose the iOS tab on your device.
- Enroll your device.
- Backup your device (more on this later)
- Go to this website on your device
- Install the iOS 12 Beta
- Check for new updates
- Install the iOS 12 Beta from the update section
Be Careful Before You Install Any Version of the iOS 12 Beta
Betas are not regular releases. They can – and often do – come with a variety of problems. As a beta user, you are expected to report and help Apple address these problems. Sometimes, though, the problems can cause serious issues with your device. That’s why you need to take the following steps before installing any iOS beta.
- Back up your data. You can do this by plugging your device into a computer, going to iTunes, and clicking on the device icon. Click the Back Up Now option. Be sure to also back up your apps when asked to do so. The process may take longer based on how much information is on your device. When it is done, you will be able to access the version of your device that you have chosen to back up.
- Write down all of your log-in information. Betas will usually require you to log-in to all accounts you have. If it’s been a while since you’ve last done that, you’ll want that information handy.
- Consult message boards for known iOS 12 issues. This can help you fend off any common issues before they occur.
- Make sure you have enough room on your phone to install the beta. Back up anything you may choose to delete to make space.
- Be willing to communicate with Apple regarding any issues. That will help yourself and all other users get more out of the software.
Is iOS 12 Better Than iOS 11?
That is the most important question. After all, why bother with any of this if iOS 12 isn’t that good in the first place?
The short answer is that iOS 12 is faster than iOS 11 in many respects. Some users have reported that apps open slower than they did before, but not significantly slower. However, keyboards are much more responsive in iOS 12, and it’s much easier to access your camera. Early versions of iOS 12 also record higher speed benchmarks than the current version of iOS 11.
iOS 12 is also quite generous in terms of new features. We listed several features and improvements in the sections above, but those are just the highlights. iOS 12 can make it feel like you’ve just bought a new Apple device. Of course, it’s significantly cheaper than a new device.
What’s really impressive, though, is how iOS 12 helps older devices. Apple is not leaving anyone behind with this new version of iOS. Early reports indicate that iOS 12 can improve the performance speed of older devices by up to 70%. That might make downloading the beta worth the risk for owners of older iPhones.
Which Kind of Users Should Download the Current Version of the iOS 12 Beta?
Everyone else needs to answer serious questions about their iPhone use before downloading the beta. As such, we only recommend the beta to the following people.
- Hardcore Apple fans who need to try the newest updates as soon as possible.
- Users who are comfortable backing up and restoring their iPhone in the case of any problems.
- Users who own multiple iOS devices and don’t mind using one to try out the iOS 12 beta.
- Developers who want to get comfortable with iOS 12 in time for its release.
- People who really like emojis and AR features. iOS 12 excels at both those aspects.
- Owners of older, slower devices with “nothing to lose.”
In conclusion, iOS 12 is on its way to being an exceptional update. However, most people should wait for at least the release of the public beta.