Apple releases iOS 12 and watchOS 5 updates

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Apple iOS 12 update: How to download

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Apple is offering a number of different ways for users to manage and better understand their time on iOS devices. For example, say "Siri, I'm on my way home" and Siri can adjust your thermostat to reflect the fact that you like living in a meat freezer. She talks about performance and stability too, and there's good news in those areas! iOS 12 is compatible with the iPhone 5s and newer, iPad 5th gen and newer (basically any device already compatible with iOS 11) and watchOS 5 is compatible with all Apple Watch models except the original 2015 edition. This is because its banner feature is performance, particularly when under heavy load.

If you have an older iPhone, you might want to consider a hardware upgrade; iOS 12 is compatible with iPhone 5s and higher, iPad mini 2 and up, and the 6th-gen iPod touch. Just like iOS 12, the company has released the consumer-ready version of Siri Shortcuts to testers.

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Memoji are a new type of Animoji, the animated characters that rely on the iPhone X's ($825 at Amazon Marketplace) front-facing camera system to bring the cartoon-like characters to life with your expressions. An added feature called ScreenTime monitors how much time you are spending on your iPhone and a breakdown of the usage.

One of the new features introduced with iOS 12 is Siri Shortcuts. This only works if the app developer has enabled it.

And then there's watchOS 5, which you can grab through the Apple Watch app on your iPhone. Notifications are much easier to control now as well, with the ability to easily opt out of notification or at least deliver them "quietly" so you don't get distracted easily. The new Do Not Disturb during Bedtime option dims the display and hides all notifications on the lock screen until prompted in the morning.

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You can either create a local backup using iTunes, or backup to iCloud by going to Settings iCloud Backup, and then turning on iCloud Backup. Shortcuts can be complex automations that you build yourself using the Shortcuts app, but they can also be simple one-hit features provided by an app.

Considering iOS updates have been regarded with a level of caution after controversies around previous rollouts caused users handsets to slowdown, this is a pretty reassuring development. The new capabilities may not be game-changing unless you're looking forward to Walkie-Talkie conversations with a friend or family member or if you regularly forget to start the Workout app before going for a run-the auto-start capability is welcome. You can also plug it into your computer and update it via iTunes if you want to do it that way. If you visit the App Store's updates page, you'll see that many apps are adding support for Siri Shortcuts.

The Shortcuts app is powerful and full of potential, but once you get into examining all of the actions it may be overwhelming. In future, every time you speak that phrase, the shortcut will be run.

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