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Best iOS 12 features: Grouped notifications, Screen Time and more

by Brandon Russell | June 5, 2018June 5, 2018 6:00 am PDT

There was no major redesign, but this fall’s iOS 12 update still brings a lot of exciting features. Among the big changes includes a T. Rex Animoji, Do Not Disturb enhancements, and Siri Shortcuts, which is essentially Apple’s Workflow app integrated into iOS. The update will be available for free this fall.

For a more thorough recap of what iOS 12 has to offer, check out our earlier coverage. This post will highlight five of the software’s features we’re most excited to try.

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Screen Time

Like Google, Apple is making an effort to introduce mindfulness features to iOS. That means in iOS 12, iPhone users will have access to a Screen Time feature, which is designed to help users “better understand and manage their device usage,” according to Apple.

Screen Time will provide users with a weekly breakdown of smartphone usage, with the amount of time spent using an app, how many notifications have been received, and more. Users will be able to set time limits for particular apps, as well as schedule time away from their phone.

Parents will have the tools that allow them to better control how much their child uses their phone, as well as set App Limits. Parents can even completely block when a device can be used, like when homework needs to get done.

The features will allow users to see how they’re spending their time and potentially take steps toward being more mindful of overall usage.

Memoji

Remember the Galaxy S9’s AR Emoji, the feature that allowed users to create an emoji in their likeness? Well, Apple just did one better with Memoji.

Memoji will allow iPhone X users to create personalized Memoji characters that can be completely customized, from hair color to accessories. These Memoji can even be used in real-time when using iOS 12’s new group FaceTime feature.

Users will be able to create multiple Memoji that can be used right in Apple’s Messages app. The new feature will bring some personality to the iPhone X’s famed Animoji feature, using Apple’s TrueDepth camera to breath life into these creations.

Grouped notifications

Compared to Android, iOS has never handled notifications very well. There’s no real rhyme or reason to the chaos; just a stream of notifications that fill users with rage. Luckily, iOS 12 will feature a new order that finally gets notifications under control.

Grouped notifications is exactly what it sounds like. When you have multiple notifications from a single app, they’ll now be organized into a stack of cards. It’s a much more elegant solution, because users will no longer have to scroll through a long list of unorganized notifications.

Additionally, Apple is giving users greater control of notifications overall in iOS 12. The update will allow users to easily tweak how notifications are delivered, while Siri can make suggestions for notification settings.

Group FaceTime

Since its arrival, FaceTime has only support one-on-one conversations. The release of iOS 12 will finally bring support for group conversations in FaceTime, letting up to 32 people participate at the same time. “Participants can be added at any time, join later if the conversation is still active and choose to join using video or audio from an iPhone, iPad or Mac—or even participate using FaceTime audio from Apple Watch,” Apple said of the new feature.

Performance improvements

It’s no secret iOS 11 has been a mess since it launched last fall. With iOS 12, Apple it making a commitment to making sure the software is in tip-top shape when it launches later this year. That means improved performance and stability.

According to Apple, iOS 12 will see the Camera app launch 70 percent faster, the keyboard appears 50 percent fast, and more. “Even when there is a lot going on across the system, apps can launch up to twice as fast,” Apple said.

The best part is iPhone 5s users and up will get the demo for free this fall—no doubt a little jab to Android, which is notoriously unfriendly to older devices every time a new update is released.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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