When Apple first unveiled its new iOS 12 software during its WWDC 2018 keynote event, many Apple fans seemed a bit disappointed. Thanks to all the rumors that had been swirling, savvy tech fans already knew going into the unveiling that iOS 12 wouldn’t be packed full of novel new features. Instead, Apple chose to focus on ironing out the many, many wrinkles in iOS 11 and improving the overall user experience. But iPhone and iPad users who don’t pay attention to the rumor mill had no idea that Apple decided to forgo overloading iOS 12 with exciting new features in favor of refining the software. With that in mind, it’s understandable that they were a bit taken aback by the lack of excitement in Apple’s big 2018 iOS software update.
Of course, just because Apple chose not to focus on bells and whistles doesn’t mean that iOS 12 is entirely lacking where new features are concerned. We’ve already told you about the 10 best new iPhone features in iOS 12, and we even singled out what in our opinion is the single biggest reason people should upgrade to Apple’s new OS. As it turns out, however, there’s another new feature in the iOS 12 public beta and the iOS 12 developer beta that people absolutely love, and it’s one that is already making people’s lives easier.
For our money, the overall performance improvements are the best thing about iOS 12, hands down. Apple’s iOS 11 software has been plagued by bugs, security holes, memory management problems, and other issues ever since it was first released last year. The most current version of the software is iOS 11.4 and it includes plenty of improvements compared to earlier versions of Apple’s mobile software, but there are still plenty of problems that haven’t been ironed out.
Whether you have a brand new iPhone X or an iPhone 5s from 2013, you will instantly notice the performance improvements when you install iOS 12. Everything is faster and smoother, from opening and switching apps to performance inside of apps. And what’s most remarkable about that is the fact that iOS 12 isn’t even finished, so these performance improvements are being delivered by unfinished beta software. Even battery life has been dramatically improved for many users, which isn’t something we typically expect from iOS betas.
But as it turns out, there’s one new feature in Apple’s iOS 12 public beta and iOS 12 developer beta that seems to be everyone’s favorite. A thread recently popped up in the iPhone subreddit on Reddit, which is a relatively tiny subreddit. To give you an idea of scale, the Television subreddit has 14.7 million subscribers and the Technology subreddit has 6.3 million subscribers. Meanwhile, the iPhone subreddit only has 646,000 subscribers and yet this particular thread managed to amass a score of more than 8,300 at the time of this writing.
So what’s this new iOS 12 feature that has everyone so excited? The thread, which is titled “The single best new feature in iOS 12,” focuses on Apple’s new feature that allows iOS 12 to auto-fill two-factor authentication (2FA) codes. Here’s a quick video of the new feature in action:
If you’re unfamiliar with 2FA, here’s a quick explainer of what’s happening in the video above. Two-factor authentication is a fantastic security feature that adds a second layer of authentication to logins. Instead of just entering a username and password to log into a site or service, that initial login triggers a text message that is sent to a predefined mobile number. The text includes a special one-time use code that must then be entered into a second login screen before a user can gain access to his or her account. The beauty here is that a person cannot gain unauthorized access to someone’s account merely by stealing his or her login credentials, because physical access to the user’s mobile phone is also required.
Normally, using 2FA means that once you try to log in and you receive the special code via text, you have to either try to quickly memorize the code and type it in, or you have to switch to your messaging app, copy the code, switch back to the login screen, and then paste the code. It might seem trivial, but people who take security seriously use 2FA with as many services as possible and potentially have to deal with this process dozens of times each day. Having iOS 12 automatically populate 2FA codes as soon as they arrive is nothing short of a game changer.
You can read more about this new feature and how people are using it in the thread on Reddit.