iOS 12 Has Arrived

Great news on September 17th for all of you who like to hang onto your older iOS devices. Apple has released iOS 12, and one of the main additions to this year’s release is its improved performance for older devices.

While I do not have any official way of measuring this new operating system, I did upgrade an older iPad Mini from iOS 10 to 12 and have found it to be a little more responsive and less jittery. This isn’t going to make your old device feel like a bright and shiny new one, but it will eek some more life out of it.

Please do not forget that while this software has gone through beta testing it may not be perfect yet. If you rely on mission critical software, please confirm its status with the vendor before upgrading. There could be show-stopping bugs. As a general rule of thumb, we usually recommend waiting for a .1 release on iOS before putting it onto your devices.

With that being said, here are the top three features of iOS 12:

1. Improved Performance: As I stated above, Apple has spent considerable energy on refining iOS in this release, and we hope to see it bring back a little life with your older iOS device. Apple is known for keeping their older devices up to date, and this is yet another example of that continued development that you receive when you buy an iOS device. It might just let you squeak out another six months to year before deciding to replace an iPhone or iPad.

2. Screen Time: I am a huge believer in getting away from technology. As an avid sailor, traveller and soccer player, I put down my devices a lot and just get away. But if you find that you just can’t put your devices down, screen time has some great features to help you manage that.

Screen Time is available near the top of your settings app (you can see how important Apple thinks it is with this placement). Touch on it, and you instantly see how you have been using your device. Right there in big bold letters, shows how many minutes you have used your device today and on what apps. Think of it like a fitness tracker, but for your eyes and your brain. The same way that tracking your steps help you get active, tracking your screen minutes helps you cut back.

If that feature alone isn’t enough to motivate you, you can go so far as to lock yourself out of apps. Do you play games into the wee hours of the morning? Maybe you get sucked into Facebook for a seemingly endless amount of time? You have two options: first, you can go ahead and set yourself a daily maximum time limit for the app. iOS will go so far as to lock you out at the end of your time limit. As well, if you want to ensure that you are getting to bed on time, you can schedule ‘downtime’ where the device will only let you use certain apps. This is great to set about 30 minutes before bed, so that you have time to stop using your device and unwind in order to fall asleep.

3. Siri Shortcuts: This feature is still in its infancy, but I think it will be a game changer. Shortcuts allow you to create your own routines with Siri. Think of it as an evolutionary step towards complete artificial intelligence with Siri. Siri isn’t powerful enough yet to understand everything you say. Shortcuts allows you to program your own Siri commands with a set of repetitive steps. This is a different direction than Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home because, as a developer, you have to write a ‘recipe’ for each command leading to a lower rate of error.

Siri Shortcuts allows developers to create tasks that are triggered by Siri. This also makes it easier on the developers to only require development of what their users want out of tasks, and not make them responsible for any language processing.

The common example being thrown around is to create a shortcut for when you go home. You can setup a shortcut for Siri to get directions to get home, text your significant other that you will be home in X number of minutes, turn on some music to listen to while you ride the bus, and even turn up the thermostat at home so it’s warm when you get there!

I’m excited to see what developers and users come up with alike.