How to Download iOS 12 Beta: Release Date, New Features and Model Compatibility

Apple has released a public beta of iOS 12 for iPhone and iPad.

Announced earlier this month, iOS 12 promises a bevy of new features including grouped notifications, FaceTime calls with up to 32 people and improved AR capabilities.

The first beta version of iOS 12 was given to journalists after the launch on June 4. Apple usually releases beta versions of its new software, in the hope any bugs can be fixed before a wide market release in Autumn (likely around the same time the new iPhones are unveiled).

iOS 12
A beta for iOS 12 is now available to the public. Apple

How to download:

Backup your iPhone to a computer or iCloud. This should go without saying—if you want to keep your photos, contacts, messages etc. secure, it pays to have a failsafe ready.

On your iPhone or iPad, open Safari and visit Apple's beta website—beta.apple.com.

Click through to the iOS section and download the profile. From here, the file should install on your phone.

Should you download?

If you're happy to wait a few months for the new features, hold off from installing the beta iOS 12. Although it is tempting to give your iPhone a facelift, beta versions can be glitchy and unreliable. The final version in September will be polished and (hopefully) bug free.

If you have a spare iPhone that you keep as a backup, try it on that first.

Which iPhones/iPads will iOS 12 work on?

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)

iOS 12 features
(From left) Do Not Disturb, group FaceTime calls and grouped notifications on iOS 12. Apple

What are the new features?

Group FaceTime calls:

FaceTime was released alongside the iPhone 4, all the way back in 2010. Since then, users have been pining for a group call feature. With iOS 12, Apple has answered those prayers. You will be able to video chat with up to 32 people at once. A tile system will ensure the speaker is the largest image in crowded conversations.

Performance:

Apple has made a conscious effort to remember its older model iPhones. Depending on the version of iPhone you are using, Apple says it can load the camera up to 70 percent faster, bring up the keyboard 50 percent faster and launch apps twice as fast during a heavy workload.

Grouped notifications:

Anyone who receives more than a dozen notifications a day will be delighted with Apple's decision to group notifications. For example, if you get sent more than 50 emails a day, your iPhone will now keep that as a single combined notification on the lock screen, which you can then expand.

ARKit 2:

Apple has announced 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 will allow your iPhone or iPad to measure objects and items with just the camera by scrolling.

apple AR
Augmented reality on iOS 12 will allow you to interact with friends. Apple

Photos:

Apple seems to be taking a leaf out of Google's Android playbook and is offering 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.

Parental controls:

Apple already has pretty impressive parental control in place, but a new feature called Screen Time should take it a step further. Parents will now be able to limit how long their children spend on certain apps each day. It will also deliver parents a breakdown of how their children are spending time on iPads or iPhones.

parental controls
Parents will be able to monitor how long their children are spending on particular apps. They will also be able to set time limits. Apple