iOS 12: Features, release date, and how to install

iOS 12 delivers faster performance for older phones, big notifications improvements, Screen Time, Siri Shortcuts, and a lot more.

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In iOS 12, you can force-press a notification to tweak how that app’s notifications work. Make it come in silently or not at all. Siri will even proactively suggest you turn off notifications for apps you’re no longer using.

New Animoji, Memoji, and filters in Messages

ios12 animoji Apple

Say hello to my little tiger friend.

The Messages app gets new Animoji characters, including a koala, a tiger, a ghost, and a T-Rex. Memoji are like personalized animoji. They look more three-dimensional than the custom Bitmoji you make in Snapchat, but much better-looking than the Mii characters you make on a Nintendo console.

Users can customize their Memoji with hundreds of options for skin color, hairstyle, facial features, and accessories like hats and glasses. You can save multiple Memoji and use them in Messages to send reactions to your friends. 

The Messages app gets new filters for sending photo and video responses, and you can add stickers, too.

Group FaceTime chats

ios12 facetime animoji Apple

“Bamboo revenues are up 80 percent over last quarter!” 

In iOS 12, you will eventually be able to have a group FaceTime chat with up to 32 total participants simultaneously, over audio or video. FaceTime is even integrated into Messages, so if a group chat is getting unwieldy, you can launch a group FaceTime chat right from Messages, or jump into a group call already in progress.

A side-scrolling roster along the bottom shows everyone in the chat if they don’t all fit on the screen at once. Floating tiles for each chat participant get larger when that person speaks. You can also double-tap a tile to see that person front and center, in case you thought you saw them roll their eyes at you or something.

From the FaceTime camera, you can get to your Animoji, sticker packs, and effects. Ever wanted to participate in a meeting of koalas? Now you can. Apple Watch users can answer FaceTime audio calls directly from their wrists, too.

Apple was initially scheduled to ship Group FaceTime with the initial release of iOS 12, but pulled the feature from iOS 12 beta 7 and subsequent releases. Apple now says that Group FaceTime will ship in an update to iOS 12 later in 2018.

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