Look, we pretty much all knew going into yesterday’s big WWDC 2018 keynote presentation that iOS 12 wasn’t going to be a huge update in terms of new features. Thanks to some insider reports, we first learned months ago that Apple decided to delay a number of new features until next year. This way, Apple’s iOS software engineering team would be able to focus more on fixing the many, many issues that have plagued iOS 11 since it was first released last summer. According to Apple’s WWDC keynote and to early response from people who have installed the iOS 12 beta so far, Apple’s new iOS build brings tremendous speed and performance improvements for both new new devices and for old ones.
There are also a few new features here and there in iOS 12, of course, but Apple didn’t have time to cover everything during its keynote on Monday. So we dug through Apple’s website, its developer documentation, and the first iOS 12 beta itself, and we’ve rounded up the 10 best new iOS 12 features that Apple executives didn’t tell you about on stage at WWDC 2018.
This is a big one. iOS 11 already has the ability to autofill passwords on webpages, but only if you use Apple’s integrated Keychain feature to manage your all passwords. Many of us use password managers that are more robust and work across platforms… because, frankly, Keychain stinks.
In iOS 12, developers gain access to a new API that allows third-party password managers to autofill passwords. It’s fantastic, and the developer of our favorite password manager 1Password posted a video of the new feature in action.
— 1Password (@1Password) June 5, 2018
Improved app switcher
Look, people will tell you that closing apps on iOS devices is bad. They’ll tell you it’s pointless or that it can hurt your battery life. Heck, even executives at Apple and Google have said that. Bottom line: They’re wrong.
There are several very good reasons to close out of apps. First, people who actually use the app switcher to switch between frequently used apps don’t want some random app they only needed to use once cluttering up the app switcher. Second, the notion that closing out of apps is pointless makes the assumption that developers are perfect and apps that are open in the background only access background processes when they need to. This, of course, is nonsense.
If you’re an app closer like me, I have some good news for you. In iOS 12, you no longer need to long-press on an app card and wait for the “X” to appear before you can close it. Just swipe up!
SMS 2FA autofill
Like autofill support for third-party password managers, this is a big one for convenience on iOS devices. You know how you get those 6-digit codes on your iPhone via SMS every time you log into an app or website with two-factor authentication (2FA) enabled? Well iOS 12 can autofill those codes so you don’t have to memorize them or switch apps to copy and paste.
New iPad gestures
It’s pretty obvious that all of Apple’s iOS devices will soon ditch their home buttons and switch to gesture-based navigation like the iPhone X. If you didn’t believe it before, you probably will once you learn that Apple is starting to bring iPhone X gestures over to the iPad in iOS 12.
A swipe up from the bottom of the screen on an iPad running iOS 12 will bring you back home, just like it does on the iPhone X. And a swipe down from the top-right corner will open the Control Center, just like it does on the iPhone X. So long, iPad home button!
Apple said on stage that iOS 12 includes some major performance improvements on iPhones and iPads. Some functions like opening the camera from the lock screen are up to 70% faster than they were in iOS 11, and the keyboard pops up 50% faster. Apple also said apps will launch up to twice as faster under heavy load. What Apple didn’t say though, is that transition animations are much smoother on iOS 12 than they were with iOS 11. The difference is instantly noticeable, and it really speeds things up.
More battery information
Apple’s iOS 11 already shares plenty of info about battery life, but iOS 12 offers even more information. The battery usage chart within the battery section in Settings now shows usage over the last 24 hours or 10 days, and you can also see usage for a specific app over either of those periods of time.
Apple said during its WWDC 2018 keynote that Animojis will now mimic the user’s tongue movements, which definitely adds a fun new twist. But there’s more — with iOS 12, Animojis will also copy you when you wink.
AR scene reflection
OK seriously, this one is incredible to see in action. Apple discussed several big augmented reality improvements in iOS 12 courtesy of ARKit 2. It’s easier to share 3D objects now courtesy of the USDZ file format, and multiple iOS devices can see the same virtual objects from different vantage points thanks to multiuser support. What Apple didn’t say on stage, however, was that the 3D objects themselves are better integrated with their physical surroundings because they can actually reflect the real-world scene around them!
Portrait Mode improvements
Apple started a craze in the smartphone market with the iPhone 7 Plus’ dual-lens camera and its Portrait Mode effects. Portrait Mode received further enhancements in iOS 11, and now it’s getting even better in iOS 12. From Apple’s website:
Portrait mode photos are better than ever. Camera now generates a mask when it detects a person and intelligently and elegantly separates the person from the scene.
A new API for third-party developers allows for the separation of layers in a photo, such as separating the background from the foreground.
Better password features
I can’t imagine life without 1Password, but not everyone is willing to pay for a password manager. If you use the password features built into iOS, then you’ll be happy to learn that they’re getting some great additions in iOS 12. For one thing, iOS can now automatically create strong passwords and store them for you in your Keychain. Also cool is a new warning that flags passwords you reuse with multiple logins. Seriously, people, stop reusing your passwords.