iOS 12: A Video Guide to Making the Most of the Best New iPhone Features

It’s finally here.

Nine public betas later, Apple’s long-awaited iOS 12 software update has arrived on iPhones and iPads across the globe. Since its announcement during WWDC 2018, beta testers have been able to try out its organizational, health-conscious, and augmented reality features that were showcased at company’s developer conference this year. But after working out a few kinks, it’s finally been deemed as ready for the unwashed masses.

So what’s to like? Installing this upgrade will most notably give you the ability to sharply reduce aggravating notifications, leverage the power of AR to help with household tasks like taking measurements, and better manage how much time you spend on your phone. This comes along with the yearly boost to overall speed and processing, which will make for a much smoother experience on smartphones as old as the iPhone 5S.

Even though this might be the final version of an upgrade Apple has been working on for months, it’s still not a bad idea to back up your current iOS version to either iCloud or iTunes before downloading. The risks of something going awry are slim, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially if you have important data saved to your device.

Once you’ve saved a version of your previous operating system, it’s time to get started making the most out of iOS 12’s new capabilities.

iOS 12: Toggle Banners Right From the Notification Center

One of the ways that iOS 12 tries to restore some sanity to smartphone use is by enabling users to organize banners from the same apps into neat piles in your notification center. This makes it so your lock screen isn’t constantly inundated with an influx of work emails or text messages from a single group chat. While this will greatly decrease the amount of scrolling you have to to get to the bottom of your Notification Center, this new system also lets you turn off or silence certain apps without having to tap through the Settings menu.

Swipe down on your homescreen to bring up your Notification Center. Scroll through until you see a notification you want delivered silently or gone for good. Swipe left, tap Manage, and select one of the three options it prompts you with.

Deliver Quietly will only put the banner in your Notification Center, while excluding it from your lock screen and muting the sounds and pop-ups you’d normally see on your iPhone or iPad. Turn Off won’t allow any notifications to appear. Selecting Settings will take you to a menu where you can further customize how you want certain apps to notify you.

iOS 12: Develop Self-Control with Down Time and App Limit

Apple has made a big deal about its commitment to helping users manage their smartphone use, and that’s where Screen Time comes in. This new menu gives users an hour-by-hour breakdown of exactly what apps they spend most of their day on. It also lets you know if you’ve been using your phone more or less than you usually do.

Of course, knowledge about which apps you’re using and abusing is only as helpful as the tools that come with it. To that end, Apple has introduced two features, Down Time and App Limit to help this technological detox. Down Time locks you out of certain apps for a pre-set amount of time every day, while App Limit sets a daily maximum that you can use certain apps for, like social media or mobile games.

Knowing how much time you spend on your phone is helpful, but some users might need some assistance building self-control.

iOS 12: Framing a Photo Has Never Been Easier

The other most exciting update to iOS is its new capacity to make use of augmented reality. The first taste of the new ARKit is Measure, a built-in augmented reality measuring tape app that calculates the length of various surfaces.

For most surfaces you’ll have to pick a point and drag the camera to the other end. But if you’re trying to measure a flat rectangle or square, then you should be able to measure it by simply holding your phone in front of it and tapping the center. Measure will do all the work for you, no pointing and dragging required.

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