iOS 12 Release Date & Features: 6 Things to Know

iOS 12 rumors are starting to swirl and one exciting iOS 12 feature has already been confirmed well ahead of the beta and final release date.

Apple’s next major iOS release isn’t iOS 12. Rather, it’ll be the iOS 11.3 update the company is currently testing ahead of an official launch this spring.

The iOS 11.3 update will deliver significant changes to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and it very well could be the last major iOS 11 update in 2018.

According to recent reports, Apple’s starting to work on iOS 11’s successor. And if everything goes according to plan, iOS 12 might be more stable than iOS 11.

In an effort to push out a more polish product, the company’s reportedly pushing back some iOS 12 features to focus on improving performance. That’s music to the ears of those struggling on iOS 11.2.5 and earlier versions of iOS 11.

As rumors pickup speed and as we push closer to the mid-year and WWDC, we’re starting to get iOS 12 questions from iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users:

  • “What features will iOS 12 have?”
  • “When is the iOS 12 release date?”
  • “Will my phone get the iOS 12 update?”

While many loyal Apple customers read rumors and have Apple’s iOS patterns figured out, there are many casual users who don’t have a firm grasp on what’s to come in 2018. If you fall into the latter group, allow us to help set your expectations with this unofficial iOS 12 roadmap.

Apple isn’t talking about iOS 12 yet and we’re several months away from the first official details. That said, we can help guide you through the iOS 12 release date, the iOS 12 beta, and the iOS 12 update itself.

iOS 12 Release Date

The iOS 12 rumor mill is starting to churn, but that doesn’t mean the iOS 12 release date is close. Far from it.

Apple is currently hard at work on a huge milestone iOS 11 update. iOS 11.3 is the company’s third milestone upgrade for its iOS 11 operating system.

Milestone upgrades are important because they bring more than just a list of bug fixes and patches. They also bring new features and the iOS 11.3 update has a long list of them.

iOS 11.3 will most likely be (like iOS 10.3 and iOS 9.3 before it) the last major iOS 11 release. And once it rolls out, probably in late February or March, you can expect Apple to shift its attention to iOS 12.

That doesn’t mean Apple will stop supporting iOS 11.

Last year, Apple released iOS 10.3.1, iOS 10.3.2, and iOS 10.3.3 ahead of the iOS 11 release in September and we could see the company push incremental iOS 11 updates throughout the spring and summer.

At this point, there’s no reason to believe Apple will veer off its usual iOS release path. Apple typically releases a new iOS operating system every year in September and that’s when you can expect the iOS 12 release date to land for your device.

iOS 12 Beta

Of course, you probably won’t have to wait until September to try out the iOS 12 update and its changes.

Apple typically confirms new iOS software at its annual developer conference in June (WWDC) and pushes an early version of the software to developers and those in the Beta Software Program.

The company hasn’t confirmed dates for WWDC 2018, but that typically happens several months before the event starts. Last year, Apple confirmed WWDC 2017 in mid-February.

If you’re interested in iOS 12, you’ll want to circle the WWDC 2018 start date on your calendar. We expect Apple to release the iOS 12 beta shortly after the conclusion of its keynote.

iOS 12 Features & Rumors

According to a report from Axios, iOS 12 might’ve delayed some planned features in order to address performance and quality issues.

iOS 11’s been plagued with a number of frustrating bugs and performance issues. The latest version, iOS 11.2.5, fixes lingering problems, but it’s also causing problems for many iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users.

Apple’s taken a ton of criticism for quality issues and security problems, and it appears that it will attempt to repair its image with iOS 12.

According to the report, Apple’s delayed “a refresh of the home screen and in-car user interfaces, improvements to core apps like mail and updates to the picture-taking, photo editing and sharing experiences.” It’s unclear if these will get pushed to iOS 13 or a later version of iOS 12 coming in 2019.

Other potential iOS 12 features include:

  • Improvements to Augmented Reality (A new multiplayer mode for AR games).
  • Improvements to digital health.
  • Improved parental controls.
  • Improved Overall iPhone performance.
  • Deeper Siri integration in the search view.
  • Improvements to Do Not Disturb including additional options to automatically reject phone calls or silence notifications.
  • Redesigned Stocks app.

According to Bloomberg, iOS 12 could also include Animoji in FaceTime, something that will allow iOS users to place virtual faces over themselves during video calls.

It’ll also deliver new emojis to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Emoji 11.0 is out of beta and the Unicode Consortium says it will deliver 157 brand new emoji characters to iOS devices in the second half of 2018.

The final list of 2018 emoji characters is extensive and includes super heroes, a flying disc, a mosquito, a moon cake, a bagel, a raccoon, a llama, and a hippopotamus.

The Consortium is also proposing support for reversible emoji which would allow iOS and Android users will be able flip an emoji in the opposite direction.

Reversible emojis are currently listed in the latest version, but the feature isn’t expected to arrive this year.

Will My Device Get iOS 12?

We won’t get an official device list until Apple pushes the beta, but you can count on some devices to stick around on the final version of iOS 11.

Last year, the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5c and the iPad 4 missed the cut for iOS 11. Those devices remain on the company’s iOS 10 software.

This year, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple cut the popular iPhone 5s and iPad mini 2. We could see a few others join this list, but if you own an iPhone 5s or an iPad mini 2, start preparing for life on iOS 11.

Here’s our preliminary list of devices that should ultimately get upgraded to iOS 12 later this year:

  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone 6
  • iPhone 6 Plus
  • iPhone SE
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2nd generation)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad Air
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad mini 3

Apple generally cuts off support at the four-year mark so for some of you, iOS 12 will likely be your last major upgrade. Devices like the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and iPad mini 3.

New iPhones

And finally, it’s important to mention the new hardware that will likely arrive alongside the iOS 12 update.

Apple’s rumored to be working on at least three new iPhones, four if you count the rumored iPhone SE 2.

According to respected KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the company’s developing a new 5.8-inch replacement for the iPhone X (we’re calling it iPhone 11), a larger iPhone X Plus, and a cheaper 6.1-inch iPhone with an LCD display. He’s unsure about the iPhone SE 2.

iPhone SE 2 rumors have pointed to a launch in the spring or summer which means it would likely launch with a version of iOS 11 on board.

New iPhones always come with new iOS software so you can expect Apple’s batch of 2018 iPhones to run iOS 12 out of the box. And if Apple sticks to the usual release protocol, you can expect them to arrive a few days after the iOS 12 release date.

New iPad(s)

The company’s also reportedly working on a brand new iPad Pro 2018 with Face ID, a new design with thinner bezels, and new internals.

Like the iPhones, the iPad Pro 2018 is rumored for late 2018.

4 Reasons Not to Install iOS 11.2.6 & 11 Reasons You Should

Install iOS 11.2.6 for Better Security

Install iOS 11.2.6 for Better Security

If you're running iOS 11.2.5 or older, you're exposed to an issue that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iOS-powered device and block access to the Messages app. It can also block apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Outlook, and WhatsApp.

The iOS 11.2.6 update's main purpose is to patch up this issue.

If you skipped iOS 11.2.5, you'll get 10 additional security patches including one for the malicious chaiOS link exploit.

If you're running iOS 11.2.2 or below and receive a certain GitHub link through your Messages app, your iPhone or iPad can lockup or respring. The Messages app will also become unusable.

If you're on iOS 11.2.1, your iOS 11.2.6 update includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre. If you're running an older version of iOS, your iOS 11.2.6 update will come with a lot more.

Apple's iOS 11.2 update fixed several problems, but it also brought problems of its own including a potentially nasty zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability.

The vulnerability, discovered by Tian Zhang, allowed for unauthorized control of HomeKit accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.

Apple quickly rolled out a server-side fix, but the company restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1. If you skipped iOS 11.2.1 and use HomeKit, you should download iOS 11.2.6.

If you skipped iOS 11.2, you'll get a few more patches with your iOS 11.2.6 update. Apple's iOS 11.2 update delivered 11 patches including one for Mail and one for Wi-Fi.

The iOS 11.2 and iOS 11.2.1 updates also patched up a widespread security issue called "Meltdown." Apple says its analysis suggests it "has the most potential to be exploited."

Meltdown affects all iOS 11 powered devices so we highly recommend downloading iOS 11.2.6 if you skipped iOS 11.2. 

If you skipped iOS 11.1.2, iOS 11.1.1, and iOS 11.1, you'll get additional patches with your iOS 11.2.6 update. 

The iOS 11.1 update delivered eight security patches including a fix for a serious Wi-Fi vulnerability called KRACK or Key Reinstallation Attack. KRACK is an exploit that targets the common WPA2 encryption protocol.

If you're just now making to move from iOS 10 (or whatever you're on) to iOS 11, your iOS 11.2.6 update will come with additional security features.

Apple's first iOS 11 update delivered several patches for potential exploits. iOS 11 also comes with new security features aimed at keeping your data safe

In iOS 11 you can't establish trust with a PC using fingerprints alone. You'll also need to put in a full passcode in order to gain that trust.

If you skipped older versions of iOS, your iOS 11.2.6 update will come with an even longer list of security patches.

Apple's iOS 10.3.3 update delivered 24 security patches addressing potential issues with Contacts, Messages, Notifications, and Safari. It also included a patch for a potentially dangerous Wi-Fi exploit called "Broadpwn."

If you skipped iOS 10.3.2 you'll get 23 additional patches with iOS 11.2.6. And if for some reason you missed iOS 10.3, you'll get 60 security patches with your version of iOS 11.2.6.

If you want to protect the data you store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you should make your move to iOS 11 and iOS 11.2.6 soon.

This is particularly important for those of you running older versions of iOS.

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