Best iOS 12 features: What's new and what's still missing

Apple granted some of my iOS wishes and missed on a few others.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer

Apple on Monday unveiled iOS 12 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Set for full release this fall, the company's mobile operating system is currently in developer preview, with a public beta expected later this month.

Must read: Apple WWDC 2018 keynote: Scenes and surprises

Heading into the announcement, I came up with a wish list of what I humbly wanted to see in the update. Here's what made the cut and what (still) is nowhere to be seen.

How Apple plans to get you to use your iPhone less with iOS 12

What's new in iOS 12?

Better notifications

(Image: Apple Inc.)

With iOS 12, notifications are now grouped by app, removing the never-ending list of notifications that greeted me each morning.

There's a drop-down arrow to unveil all notifications in a particular bundle and tools to adjust an app's notification settings directly from the lock screen.

There's still some work to be done on notifications, but this is a good start.

Better parental controls

(Image: Apple Inc.)

Even though this was toward the bottom of my wish list, it honestly was something I hoped for more than anything else. I have three kids, each with their own iPod touch. I've grown frustrated over the years with Apple's lack of in-depth parental controls.

With iOS 12's Screen Time feature, all users will have access to granular information about time spent in specific apps, how many times a device is unlocked per day, and the number of notifications each app received.

Those features also carry over to a child's device that is linked to your iCloud account through Apple's Family Sharing feature. Once iOS 12 is out, I can limit screen time for specific apps or by app category.

I cannot wait to dig into this feature and ultimately annoy my kids.

Improved Siri


Apple Shortcuts app that will launch alongside iOS 12.

(Image: Apple Inc.)

Siri is set to receive a pretty substantial upgrade this fall with a new Shortcuts feature. The feature expands Siri's capabilities outside of a handful of app types and gives developers and users the option to create custom commands.

Read also: With iOS 12, Siri finally becomes the AI-powered business assistant we needed (TechRepublic)

For example, Apple demonstrated a custom Siri command of "Travel plans" created in the Kayak app. Once set up, the command prompts Siri to use the Kayak app to provide information about the next itinerary item, in this case, the hotel address and check-in time.

For more custom commands, users can download a dedicated Shortcuts app to create and link several custom actions together. For instance, a simple command of "heading home" could send a text to your partner, get directions, and open your favorite podcast without any further interaction on your part.

Messages in iCloud

Messages in iCloud wasn't officially launched at WWDC because it was released the week before, with iOS 11.4. Now that it's out and publicly available, hopefully we are one step closer to iMessage on more platforms.

What's still missing in iOS 12?

Missing features from the announcement and iOS 12 include the ability to set default apps, multi-user support on the iPad, a redesigned homescreen, always-on display, and a new location for Control Center on the iPhone X. In fact, Apple doubled-down on Control Center's location by moving it to the same spot on the iPad.

Read also: Apple WWDC 2018: These iPhone models will get iOS 12 (CNET)

If we throw Messages in iCloud out of the equation, since it was released before WWDC, exactly half of my wish list is coming to iOS 12. I'm excited to see just how far the parental controls go, and to see what can be done with Siri Shortcuts once the public beta is released later this month.

Everything iOS 12 from Apple's WWDC 2018 keynote

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