iOS 13

Dark Mode: This is our favorite iOS 13 feature. It changes up the interface (except for some third-party apps), exchanging bright white and light gray colors for black and dark gray hues. That's more pleasant on the eyes, especially at night. iOS 13 pro tip: You can schedule iOS 13 Dark Mode to turn on and off at particular times, and add it as a Control Center menu shortcut.

iOS 13 compatibility: iOS 13 is compatible with a lot of iPhones – as long you have the iPhone 6S or iPhone SE or newer. Yes, that means both iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 don't make the list and are forever stuck with iOS 12.4.1, but Apple didn't make any cuts for iOS 12, so it's just catching up in 2019. Fair.

Photo editing tools gets advanced: You can now change up photos in 15 different ways, tweaking highlights, contrast and shadows. It's more robust to the point where we're opening Adobe Lightroom less. iOS 13 pro tip: Edits also work for video, and you can edit photos without destroying the Live Photo properties.

A new QuickPath keyboard: Want to swipe on the keyboard rather than tap? It's now in there. There's no line that follows your finger's movement, and it's a little tricky to get used to at first, but persevere and we think you'll enjoy it. iOS 13 pro tip: We found this most useful on any large Max or Plus phone.

FaceTime correction: You know that thing in a FaceTime call where you look at your screen and therefore aren't looking at the camera? Apple will use AI to move the direction of your gaze. A bit creepy in principle, but hugely useful.

Face ID is much better: We love this feature - the field of view for unlocking your phone with your face is wider, so looking at the phone on the desk will open your iPhone up without needing to lift the handset.

iOS 13 is not coming to the iPad: Tricked you. iOS 13 is strictly for the iPhone (and iPod Touch). iPadOS is debuting for iPad with exclusive productivity features for the bigger tablet screen on September 30.

'Find my iPhone' and 'Find my Friends' are fused: The two apps are now in one 'Find My' app, and Apple's added in functionality that can find offline devices from other iPhones or iPads. Best of all, we got fewer timed out tracking errors.

iOS 13 improves battery life: By that we mean 'lifetime of the battery' not 'time between charges' - the new iOS 13 platform is smarter at charging and will curtail the power input at the right times. Dark mode should help too on iPhone OLED displays, though we're testing that.

Reminders gets a huge (and useful) overhaul: A clear new design, Reminders now allows for attachments and better sorting. Might not sound massive, but a big jump for those that use it.

The camera is getting a big upgrade: Portrait mode (if your phone supports it) will offer more customizable lighting and a new 'High Key Mono' mode for when you want to look like you're in a Calvin Klein advert.

Siri sounds better: A refined voice with more natural diction, Siri is much nicer to talk to now. You might not notice it without a side-by-side comparison, but it's here.

All new Memoji to play with: You can add make-up, throw in Memoji stickers from the keyboard - if you're into your own cartoon face there's a lot to try here. iOS 13 pro tip: Stickers works on iPhone 8 and older iPhones, even if you don't have the TrueDepth camera for moving Memoji.

Control Wi-Fi and Bluetooth more simply: We love this: long-press (or 3D Touch for certain iPhone models) on the Wi-Fi / Bluetooth buttons in the Control Center and you can access all your connections in one simple place.

iOS 12.4.1

Apple has released iOS 12.4.1, a minor update that comes one month after the launch of iOS 12.4.

The iOS 12.4.1 update is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the update, go to Settings > General > Software Update. As with all iOS updates, iOS 12.4.1 is free to download.

This update includes a fix for a vulnerability that allowed hackers to create a jailbreak for the iOS 12.4 update, according to Apple's security support document. Apple actually addressed the vulnerability in iOS 12.3, but then accidentally unpatched it in the iOS 12.4 update.

Available for: iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation

Impact: A malicious application may be able to execute arbitrary code with system privileges

Description: A use after free issue was addressed with improved memory management.

CVE-2019-8605: Ned Williamson working with Google Project Zero
After hackers discovered that the vulnerability was once again available, it didn't take long for a jailbreak to be created. The security issue also left iOS devices vulnerable to hacking attempts, which is why Apple likely worked quickly to correct it.

According to Apple's release notes, the update includes "important security and stability updates" and is recommended for all users.

iOS 12.4

iPhone migration.
- Introduces the ability to wirelessly transfer data and migrate directly from an old iPhone to a new iPhone during setup

Apple News.
- Makes downloaded issues accessible in the My Magazines section, both offline and online

- Adds all publications in Apple News+, including newspapers, to the catalog at the top of the News+ feed

- Adds the ability to clear downloaded magazine issues by selecting History > Clear > Clear All

Other improvements and fixes.
- Includes a security fix for the Walkie-Talkie app on Apple Watch and re-enables Walkie-Talkie functionality

The headline feature here is the slick, new migration tool which enables data to be transferred wirelessly from an old iPhone to your new model. Why would you need this when you can just download from iCloud? Because you may have run out of iCloud space or perhaps the transfer is urgent and you don’t need to wait for your old iPhone to sync with iCloud first. It gives you options.

One caveat: both models need to be running iOS 12.4, so this won’t help you with older devices that don’t support iOS 12.

As for the secret feature, iOS 12.4 is believed to have added compatibility with the upcoming Apple Card. Why didn’t Apple declare this? Because 1. Anything future product-related is a tightly guarded secret, 2. It doesn’t tie Apple to a launch date should there be any late-minute delays.

As for fixes, Apple’s official security page lists over 40 bugs squashed, including 19 in WebKit (the browser engine behind Safari), so this is also an important update from a security perspective.

iOS 12.3.1

This release is mostly about squishing bugs – though the fact that it has come so very soon after the release of iOS 12.3 suggests there was an air of urgency about it.
Topmost among these is an issue that could prevent VoLTE calls happening, in both directions.
As you’ll know VoLTE means Voice over LTE and reflects the fact that voice calls have for some time now been made on 4G – something that will continue when 5G services are live, I believe.

iOS 12.3

Here is the full list of changes on board iOS 12.3:

AirPlay 2

AirPlay 2 now supports sharing videos, photos, music and more from your iPhone and iPad directly to your AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV
One-tap playback automatically plays your chosen TV show or movie on the last screen you used based on time and location
Siri Suggestions to watch movies and TV shows now include an option to AirPlay
Intelligent suggestions are all done on-device so your personal information stays private 

Apple TV app

The Apple TV app features an all-new design that highlights expertly curated collections and personalized recommendations
Apple TV channels offer subscriptions to HBO, Showtime, Starz, and more, available to watch directly in the Apple TV app, online or off
Subscriptions to Apple TV channels can be shared with up to six family members, with no new apps, accounts, or passwords needed
New release movies are available to buy or rent in the Apple TV app, including the full catalog of over 100,000 movies and the largest selection of 4K HDR titles
A new dedicated kids section helps you discover editorially-handpicked shows and movies safe for kids of all ages
The Apple TV app can now intelligently suggest playing to the most likely Apple TVs or AirPlay 2-enabled TVs nearby
The iOS 12.3 update also includes the following bug fixes and improvements:

Adds the ability to follow a magazine from the Apple News+ catalog browsing view
Apple Music’s For You tab now updates multiple times a day suggesting music based on themes like genres, artists, and moods you love
Fixes an issue that could prevent Apple TV Remote from pausing video, controlling video, or changing volume on supported receivers
Addresses an issue that could cause calls made using Wi-Fi calling to drop
Fixes an issue where song information from a connected iPhone may not appear in a car’s display

iOS 12.2

Lost among Apple’s announcement of a new streaming TV service, subscription game service, and fancy new titanium credit card was the release of iOS 12.2. And while the most significant new thing in iOS 12.2 is Apple’s updated News app, anyone even remotely concerned about security will want to download the latest version of iOS ASAP as it contains 51 different security fixes.

Covering a range of devices from the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air in addition to more recent products, the iOS 12.2 update includes patches for vulnerabilities in core apps such as Contacts, FaceTime, Mail, Messages, and more. On top of that, iOS 12.2 also includes security updates to deep parts of the operating system itself including its kernel and power management, not to mention a whole host of WebKit fixes that should have a big impact on the safety and privacy of your data when using Safari. For example, one of the security vulnerabilities fixed in the update allowed sites to access your phone’s microphone without any indication to you. Yikes.

Security updates aside, the update to iOS 12.2 also brings with it four new Animoji (owl, boar, giraffe, and shark) for recent iPhones and iPads (iPhone X and newer), new dedicated TV controls in Control Center and on the lock screen when using AirPlay, and support for the recently released 2nd-gen AirPods.

On the entertainment front, while we’ll still have to wait until later this spring to get the next batch of Apple TV updates, iOS 12.2 will now give you the ability to play any video, show, movie or sports game in Apple TV just by asking Siri. Meanwhile, in Apple Music, the new Browse tab features more highlights on a single page, which should make it easier to find new music and playlists.

iOS 12.1.4

iOS 12.1.4 is an urgent release for all iOS 12 compatible devices: iPhone 5S or later, iPad mini 2 or later and 6th generation iPod touch or later.
Weighing in at approximately 500MB, this is a surprisingly large upgrade for a dedicated bug fix. That said, it’s the most essential fix in iPhone history.

IOS 12.1.3

● Fixes an issue in Messages that could impact scrolling through photos in the Details view.
● Address an issue where photos could have striped artifacts after being sent from the Share Sheet
● Fixes an issue that may cause audio distortion when using external audio input devices on iPad Pro (2018)
● Resolves an issue that could cause certain CarPlay systems to disconnect from iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.

iOS 12.1.2

Small update

● Fixes bugs with eSIM activation for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.
● Addresses an issue that could affect cellular connectivity in Turkey for iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max.

IOS 12.1.1

Features and improvements include:

● Notification preview using haptic touch on iPhone XR
● Dual SIM with eSIM for additional carriers on iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
● One tap to flip between the rear and front-facing camera during a FaceTime call
● Live Photo capture during one-to-one FaceTime calls
● The option to hide the sidebar in News on iPad in landscape orientation
● Real-time text (RTT) when using Wi-Fi calling on iPad and iPod touch
● Stability improvements for dictation along with VoiceOver

Bug fixes include:

● Fixes an issue where Face ID may temporarily become unavailable
● Addresses an issue that prevented visual voicemail from downloading for some customers
● Fixes an issue in Messages that could prevent predictive text suggestions when typing on the Chinese or Japanese keyboards
● Addresses an issue that could prevent Voice Memos recordings from uploading to iCloud
● Fixes an issue where time zones may not have updated automatically

This release also adds features and fixes bugs for HomePod including:

● Support in Mainland China and Hong Kong
● HomePod LEDs illuminate during Group FaceTime calls

iOS 12.1

iPhone X

Here's a look at what's new...

Group FaceTime
With iOS 12.1, FaceTime is more fun and flexible, with simple ways to add another person, join an active FaceTime call, or use the same camera effects available in Messages to add stickers, filters or appear to friends and family as an Animoji or Memoji. When an invitation is received, people can choose to join using audio or video from iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Additional features coming to FaceTime include:

● Automatic detection of active speakers: FaceTime uses on-device intelligence to display the most prominent speakers on the call, automatically highlighting the current speaker by bringing them to the forefront. It automatically sizes each person’s image depending upon how active they are in the conversation, based on duration of speech, volume and even motion. Participants who are not active will appear at the bottom of the screen until they speak. A simple tap also brings a participant front and center.

● Ringless notification: When calling more than one person, FaceTime displays a notification that lets you instantly join a call without being disruptive.

● Messages integration: Group FaceTime is integrated into the Messages app, making it easy to start a Group FaceTime right from a group iMessage chat. If people in a conversation have already started a FaceTime session, Messages shows the active call in the conversation list and inside your conversations.

● Private: All FaceTime conversations, both one-to-one and multi-person, are encrypted end to end so they remain private and viewable only by the participants. 

New Emoji
More than 70 new emoji come to iPhone and iPad with iOS 12.1, including new characters with red hair, gray hair and curly hair, a new emoji for bald people, more emotive smiley faces and additional emoji representing animals, sports and food. New emoji will also be available on Apple Watch and Mac with a free software update.

Emoji are used by people all over the world to communicate and iOS 12.1 brings even more characters to the keyboard that better represent global users, including new emoji for moon cake, red gift envelope and nazar amulet. Sports fans will celebrate the addition of new emoji for softball and lacrosse, while outdoor adventurers will enjoy new characters for luggage, compass and a hiking boot. Beautifully designed characters for the llama, mosquito, kangaroo and lobster, and new food emoji, including a bagel, salt, cupcake, leafy greens and mango, are now available.

iOS 12.0.1

iPhone XS

This update

● Fixes an issue where some iPhone XS devices did not immediately charge when connected to a Lightning cable
● Resolves an issue that could cause iPhone XS devices to rejoin a Wi-Fi network at 2.4GHz instead of 5GHz
● Restores the original position of the “.?123" key on the iPad keyboard
● Fixes an issue where subtitles may not appear in some video apps
● Addresses an issue where Bluetooth could become unavailable