iOS 12 Is Available in Public Beta. Is It Worth the Download?

It’s that time of year again. Apple is releasing beta versions of all their OS. iOS 12 has arrived with much fanfare as usual, with some deeming it worth it and some deeming it not. Let’s dive into the public beta and see if it’s worth it for you to download it so soon, possibly jeopardizing your device.

Apple has promised that they worked on performance issues, even on older devices, to make them faster. Also being promised are smoother animations.

I’ve been using iOS 12 now for 12 hours on both my devices. I can say I haven’t had any slow moments. That said, I have not sat back and thought, “Wow, that’s so much faster!” But I also haven’t had to wait.

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This feature is already working on the apps. It shows you how you spend your screen time and allows you the tools to control it.

I found this fascinating, actually. The one thing I’m not sure of is how it decides the time spent when I have two apps open side by side on my iPad, such as Evernote, which I write in, and iCab, my browser which is open for research.

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The biggest change to the Notifications is that they are now grouped into message threads by topics or apps. You can also change the settings of your notifications right there in your lock screen.

I found this a great way to view my Notifications, especially because I’m not one to ever delete my notifications, until now. This allowed me to get rid of entire stacks at a time. Like the Weather notifications, you can see here I have a stack of two that are unread. But i can easily swipe them to delete them. As a news writer, I get a lot of news notifications, as they tend to be noisy and plentiful, if I don’t want to be bothered by them, I can silence them.

There are supposed to be Siri notification suggestions, but I haven’t received any yet. I’m unsure whether it’s not available yet or whether Siri is still learning from me.

Do Not Disturb will now dim your display and silence your notifications during the bedtime hours that you set. You can also set it to end or start or by length of time or location.

I haven’t had a chance to really test this out other than bedtime last night. But it seemed to work as planned.

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This is mostly being utilized by developers so isn’t really available in anything yet.

But what is available at this point is the Measure app. This can be used to measure flat surfaces. It works really well, and I can see it being very useful. The app also has a level function to it.

The Photos app became more intelligent. It now has a “For You” tab where it highlights Memories, Shared Albums, etc. It will also highlight featured photos, effect suggestions, and share suggestions. It also now uses smart suggestions for searching for photos.

The intelligent search worked great more often than I thought it would. Sometimes it was not able to find pictures I thought it should, while other times it could. It found every instance when I searched for “sunglasses,” but when I searched for “eating,” it couldn’t find any. When I more specifically searched for “cake,” it found a cheesecake platter and some other pictures of my daughter without cake.

ios-12-public-beta-shortcuts

Siri has received some big improvements and is being used for other things. It can help you with more things such as translations, food knowledge, and even your forgotten passwords. It also offers a new feature by offering Shortcuts to often-repeated tasks and a separate Shortcuts app based on the old Workflow app to help you group tasks together.

It worked great to find my passwords, and I’ll note I needed my Touch ID. I tried it in the Lock screen, and it opened to show my passwords, but not until I used Touch ID. It is supposed to make Siri suggestions on the Lock screen or in Search, but so far I have not received any. I may not have been using it long enough.

It has offered me some shortcuts to tasks, such as locating my daughter via her iPhone. Now instead of opening Find iPhone and finding her, I can just ask Siri, “Where is Lizzie?” and it will open the app and locate her for me. The separate Shortcuts does not seem to be available yet.

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Four of the included iOS apps have been improved. Apple Books has been completely redesigned to resemble the App Store somewhat. Stocks has also been redesigned and is now available on iPad as well as iPhone. News received a new sidebar with topics and media outlets. Voice Memos has now been added to the iPad as well, and all your recordings are now stored in iCloud.

I didn’t try out Stocks or Voice Memos, but I did take a gander at the Books app, which looks like it could be much more useful in this format. News is more handy as well. I read this app twice a day to check for news, so I appreciate the easier navigation.

One thing I was somewhat disheartened to see is a change to iPad gestures. I navigate around with the gestures, so I’ve had a tough time The past twenty-four hours, as everything seems to have changed.

While the gesture to reveal the app dock has been to swipe up, now that’s a smaller movement. If you make it larger, it sends you back to the home screen. To navigate back and forth through apps I do a five-finger drag across the screen. Now that takes me to the app-switcher. The Control Center has now moved to the upper right corner with a swipe down and out, but it’s hard to access.

There are also a number of improvements I was not able to test. FaceTime now works with group chats, but I don’t know others with the public beta to do a group chat with. The improvements to the camera were very limited and not very noteworthy. Privacy and Security is said to be enhanced as well.

Messages mostly received changes to the iPhone X, so those are lost on me. There are some things you can do with photos, mostly camera effects and filters, but photo suggestions are also supposed to pop up in relation to who you’re chatting with or what you’re discussing, but that doesn’t seem to be available yet.

This is something you need to answer on your own after reading this rundown. I think for many people who don’t want to chance ruining something, it is most likely not worthy of the download yet since some features aren’t available. But if you live and breathe iOS, like I do, it might be worth the chance.

Have you tried the public beta of iOS 12 yet? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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