This year’s iOS 12 and watchOS 5 released on Monday, September 17, and are just about two weeks into their exhibition. As with all updates for Apple devices, iOS 12 and watchOS 5 ignited enhancements in performance, speed, and overall user interface. The main idea this time around is providing more power to the user. It would make sense that they continue this trend year by yearly seeing as it is the world’s most advanced mobile operating system. There is an abundance of new features available for both the iOS and watchOS. iOS 12 will be the first focus.  

Everyone seems to always be on the move these days and need fast working devices to power through the full day. That is why applications can now launch up to two times faster than previous update versions. Get a head start in the work you need to accomplish. The camera opens 70% faster both from the lock screen and the unlocked screen. No more going through those lag spikes just to take a single picture. Everything is noticeably faster, giving the user the optimal and desired experience. Additionally, the keyboard will appear 50% quicker, cutting the time down significantly to be able to type a message or look up information.  

A huge part of iOS 12 is the long-awaited multiple person FaceTime calls. Instead of increasing the cap to just two or three, Apple took a bold step and made the maximum audio and video capacity to 32. Can’t get to a meeting? Just FaceTime in. Want to talk to extended family all at once? Just FaceTime together. Want to set up a reunion? Just FaceTime the date and location. Instead of having to download third party applications to group video, which typically is awfully of poor performance and results in connectivity issues, Apple presented their own unique version. If two people are in the United States, five are in Europe, and another ten are in Asia, that can work. Whatever the case may be, it’s an incredible ability to communicate with up to 32 people on video and audio calls.  

Screen Time was added so you can monitor how you and your kids make use of your time on screen and which applications are used the most. You can also set up a schedule for using your phone so that you aren’t glued to it all day long. Apple knows technology has taken over a lot of people’s lives and realizes that’s a problem. Screen Time is something to utilize and recommend to your friends and family. This is kind of a surprise for a tech company to do something of this sort since their goal is generally to up the amount of usage on devices. Apple wants its users to be aware of their time and use it wisely. Thank you, Apple. 

Messages got 12 new features, all of which add on to what an exceedingly fast experience was already. These features include new Animojis, a Memoji, which allows you to create an emoji for your own face, speech bubbles to photos, a redesigned App Strip, an easier way to send photos, and a few others.  

Do not disturb gets a nice new addition which allows you to keep it on for a set period of time and not have to worry about turning it off anymore. Set it for an hour while in class, eight hours overnight while you sleep, or twenty-four hours for a complete detox from the mobile world.  

Photos got a great update to how you browse and share media. Everything in the application is subcategorized under the For You tab by location and date. Vacations overseas, portraits of you and your family, and shared activity is so easy to navigate, so you can see everything right where you want it. You also can share photos across all iOS 12 users you know, so everyone can see the best of photography. If you have contacts that were at the same event or location as you, their names will appear, and you can send as many photos are you want. Additionally, Apple understands it’s sometimes hard to find one particular picture. Simply type in the location you took the photo or the date, and there you have it.  

The right to privacy is specifically alluded to in the Fourth Amendment. Apple considered that too. Privacy is a huge focus in iOS 12. Safari now prevents commenting on web pages and sharing options from tracking you and your information unless you specifically allow for it. Advertisements are also prohibited from collecting your information and your device’s information. This is to prevent ads from interrupting your every move. A message will appear when you load web pages, asking if the site can track your activity or not. Regarding passwords, if you tend to reuse a one for multiple sites, they will be flagged and prompted to change for more security.  

iBooks got a complete transformation. If reading on a screen is your sort of thing, this should be a huge game changer for you. Right when you open the application, you can see a small version of the book you are currently reading opened to the page you left on. Whether you’ve used iBooks regularly or not at all in the past, it is an awesome makeover. iBooks lets you see suggestions for new books based on what you’ve read, as well as books you marked as ‘want to read’. Stocks, News, and Voice memos all received equally captivating redesigns.  

Notifications are now able to be silent and sent to the center without alert. They will still come in to your device but won’t alert you. It’s good for when you just can’t be bothered with texts and emails or when you’re in class or at work. Notifications are also grouped together so the list is condensed when you got to the notification center. An option for critical alerts was added to bypass even Do Not Disturb, in the situation that emergency notifications and customized ones need to get through to you.  

Siri is smarter than you might think. Siri now learns your typical requests and routines, so you can see suggestions in the lock screen or search bar for faster services. Siri can find your missing device (including AirPods) and can turn the flashlight on and off for you.  

iOS 12 is available for all iPhones dating back to the iPhone 5s, all iPads dating back to the iPad mini 2, and the iPod touch 6th generation. And of course, the new line of iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR will function with the update already installed.  

On to watchOS 5. This operating system is specifically made for the line of Apple Watches, which means it always was about finding ways to improve your health and companionship with a device you wear on your wrist. It’s no surprise this update is focused on activity, nutrition, and workouts. For a while now, the Watch Series 3 competed with Fitbit’s Ionic device for the best exercise tracker on the market. It really comes down to whether you want a device with the sole purpose of getting you in shape and exceeding your limits or a smartwatch that keeps you off you phone screen, helps you stay in shape, and alerts you if you’re heart rate is out of its normal range. If you’re in love with Apple, the Watch Series 4 is your next purchase. It will come preinstalled with watchOS 5. If you already have a Series 3, 2, or 1, you also can install on there.  

WatchOS5 gives the option to challenge friends, family, and community members to a weekly competition. Instead of simply sharing activity data with each other, now you can see whose level of activity and fitness is higher. Competition drives success and teaches competitors to reach higher feats than ever before. Share your achievements with the world and run the leaderboards for the year. During the competition, alerts will let you know if you’re on top or falling behind. Trophies are awarded for winning, giving you the extra drive to get on your feet.  

You might sometimes start a workout without starting the tracker for it on your watch. If that is to be the case, your watch will notify you that it thinks you started a workout, giving you the option to track it then and there from the 10-minute point you already are at. Calories burned, and time passed will show up as if you’d started it from the beginning. New workouts were added to the default workout application, including boxing, hiking, and yoga. Try them all out. You might realize you love something you’ve never done before.   

Runners are naturally drawn to the Apple Watch, and for good reason. Runners will be delighted to hear that if you’re behind your usual or goal pace, your watch notifies you. Steps per minute can also be seen, giving you the information necessary to speed up if you are behind or slow down if you feel like an injury is coming.  

The Walkie-Talkie feature allows Apple Watch users to speak to their watches and send messages to other users. All you need to do is press to talk, let go to listen, and repeat the process. It’s a bold move in a new direction for the Apple Watch. How far it works is still not quite clear. It’s likely to work so long as you’re in the same general area with the other people using it.  

You no longer have to say, ‘Hey Siri’. Instead, just raise your watch and give a command. You are the captain now. The same updates to iOS 12’s Siri and Do Not Disturb come to watchOS 5.  

Overall, iOS 12 and watchOS 5 bring to life some key new features that have long been desired by the Apple community. This year’s features are subtle and may seem minor compared to some of the previous updates, but you’ll be surprised just how advanced and solid your devices now perform. Download and install today. Get in with the new and forget the old. If, for some reason, you regret it, you can revert back to a previous operating system.

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Thomas Maranian
I radiate both internally and externally, an infinitude of passion for creative thought, an unending lifelong code of self and peer-improvement, and an idiosyncratic perspective and outlook on all things good, bad, and in between. I believe that when we are, one day, gone, all that will have mattered is what we did to change this world, for better or worse.

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