iOS 12: Group FaceTime, Memoji, Release Date and the Features You Need to Know

Apple has officially confirmed a new update to the iPhone and iPad operating system: iOS 12.

The iOS 12 release date will likely be in September (based on past years) and can be downloaded by anyone who owns an iPhone 5S or newer.

Announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Jose today, iOS 12 features include an update to its AR technology, Siri and overall performance speed.

Tim Cook WWDC17 Apple's CEO Tim Cook will take the stage on Monday at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

When will iOS 12 come out?

Apple did not officially announce an iOS 12 release date, but given the software usually launches around the time of new iPhone models in September, you can probably expect it then.

What devices are compatible with iOS 12?

The oldest iPhone model that will support iOS 12 is the iPhone 5S, released in 2013. 

The complete list includes:

  • iPhone 5S
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone 6S
  • iPhone 6S Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPad Air
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Mini 2
  • iPad Mini 3
  • iPad Mini 4
  • iPad (fifth generation)
  • iPad (sixth generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 inch 
  • iPad Pro 9.7 inch
  • iPad Pro 10.5 inch
  • iPod Touch (sixth generation)

What are the biggest new iOS 12 features?

Group FaceTime:

FaceTime users will now be able to make group video calls with up to 32 other people. You can now move from a group chat to a FaceTime video call just by clicking connect. Members of the group can drop in and out of the conversation whenever they’d like.

As people speak, they are presented as tiles. They grow bigger whenever a person speaks or if the user double taps on the person they want to put front and centre. Animoji and Memoji can be turned on to make yourself a cartoon koala, if you wish.

Faster speeds:

Apple has promised iOS 12 will not only be available to older models, but in fact speed them up. As an example, the iPhone 6 Plus was able to run up to 40 percent faster.

Siri:

You can now assign phrases to Siri with other apps to help the digital assistant answer commands faster. Siri has been struggling to keep up with the ever-improving Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

“Shortcuts” will even start suggesting commands based on your regular routine. Need to call your grandmother for her birthday? Siri knows. Need to turn your phone on silent for the movies? Siri knows.

Using drag and drop steps, you can save the voice commands within individual apps. Kayak, the travelling app, could be linked by just recording “Travel Plans” as a command.

ARKit 2:

Apple has announced that multiple users can now integrate augmented reality apps together with multiple iOS devices. In a demo run by Lego, two iPads were shown to be running an AR game focused on a small lego building.

Another app demoed—measurements—will allow your iPhone or iPad to measure objects and items with just the camera by scrolling.

Photos:

Apple seems to be taking a leaf out of Google’s Android playbook and offer search commands based on locations, events and people. You’ll even get suggestions on memories to look at photos from years ago.

Do Not Disturb:

Do Not Disturb During Bedtime will limit notifications you see at night time, so it isn’t a barrage of information. You can now also set an ending time for your Do Not Disturb command in the Control Centre.

Notifications:

Apple will group notifications so that they no longer appear one by one. iMessage, for example, will stick together as one notification that you can remove at once—rather than forcing a user to swipe notifications away one at a time.

App Limits:

An activity report will now let you see how much you use of an app each day. Screen time is recorded and the app limit will notify you once your time is up. You can snooze this alert, and turn it off. Apple believes it will help children limit their screen time.

The activity report can be sent to a parent’s iPhone. Parents will also be able to limit app time from another device and lock access based on age appropriate content.

Messages:

Tongue detection will allow Animoji characters to mimic the tongue movement of the iPhone owner. New characters incoming include a ghost, koala, tiger and T-rex.

Memoji will let you create an avatar based on your own looks. The process was described as “fun and easy” to produce.

Bits and pieces:

Carplay will now let you pick which app you use for navigation. Don’t like Apple Maps? Google Maps is now an option.

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