Apple used to be a creature of habit. In fact, the company was so predictable and reliable that you could set your watch by its software and hardware release schedule. Those days are long gone, however, and now Apple simply can’t stop surprising us. Sometimes those surprises come in the form of product launch delays, though delays are becoming so common with Apple at this point that they’re no longer surprising. Of course, not all of Apple’s surprises are bad, and the world got a great surprise on Monday evening when Apple released its first iOS 12 public beta.
iOS public betas used to come after Apple had released a few developer betas and ironed out most of the more serious bugs. But this time around, Apple released its initial iOS 12 public beta after just two developer betas. Don’t worry though, because Apple isn’t rushing things. The reasoning here is simple: iOS 12 betas have been so stable thus far that there’s really no reason to hold off on the iOS 12 public beta.
With all that out of the way, the first thing you should know about the iOS 12 public beta is that it’s remarkably stable. Seriously, it feels like a GM release. iOS 12 has been surprisingly smooth since the very first developer beta. It’s not terribly surprising since a big focus of iOS 12 is ironing out all of the issues in iOS 11. While most early iOS betas in the past were accompanied by constant app crashes and other serious bugs, there’s a good chance you won’t experience a single abnormal app crash with the iOS 12 public beta. Seriously, it’s that good.
The other thing to keep in mind is that when you first install the iOS 12 public beta on your iPhone or iPad, there’s a good chance you’re going to take a serious hit where battery life is concerned. Don’t panic. As is always the case when you install a completely new version of iOS, there are a bunch of things that happen in the background such as reindexing data. Also, you’re going to be poking around much more than you typically do as you play with new features. After a day or three, your battery life will be back to normal. In fact, you might even find that your battery life is better with the iOS 12 public beta than it was with iOS 11.
Amazingly, iOS 12 public beta is available on all devices that currently support iOS 11. That’s right, not a single iOS device is made obsolete by Apple’s iOS 12 update! Apple says older devices running iOS 12 will see big performance benefits, with key functions getting speed boosts of up to 70%.
Here’s the full list of devices that are compatible with iOS 12:
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5s
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2nd generation
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro 1st generation
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad 5th generation
- iPad mini 4
- iPad mini 3
- iPad mini 2
- iPod touch 6th generation
So basically, one of iOS 12’s best new iPhone features is the very fact that it works on just about every iPhone still in use.
Apple and its partners have created a new USDZ file format that’s optimized for AR sharing, making it much simpler to share 3D objects with other people. All iOS and macOS devices will support the new file format, as will popular third-party software like all of the relevant apps in Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite.
ARKit 2 was introduced during WWDC 2018, and it gives developers access to awesome new AR tools such as the ability to have multiple devices see the same 3D virtual objects in AR from different perspectives. This is probably the biggest advancement we’ll see all year in user-facing mobile AR.
As far as new AR features in the iOS 12 public beta go, you’ll find a new app called Measure on your iPhone that allows you to measure objects and distances in augmented reality. It’s very cool and you’re definitely going to have fun playing with it.
A new Shortcuts feature in the iOS 12 public beta lets third-party apps add shortcuts to Siri. For example, you can create a shortcut so when you say “I lost my keys” it’ll open the Tile app and locate your keys. Developers can make shortcuts for their own apps, or users can use the new Shortcuts app that lets you create personalized shortcuts with multiple apps. This is based on the Workflow app Apple acquired last year and the possibilities are endless.