Review: Apple iOS 12

Last year’s iOS 11 was far from Apple’s best effort to say the least. It also had multiple security issues. It wasn’t Apple’s best moment. Thus you’d think that iOS 12 would have to be substantially better. At best, it is only marginally better.

Here’s the good first before I get to the bad. The big news is that Apple promised that this update would make your iPhone feel faster. For the most part they’ve delivered on that as this is the first iOS update that didn’t feel slower than the last update. And so far, I am only noticing a slight hit on battery life. By that I mean that the battery drain that this enhanced performance causes is so slight that it’s almost not worth mentioning.

Notifications are now grouped together and easier to manage. That way they are far less overwhelming. This is another welcome change that users will appreciate. Users will also appreciate  the new features in the Do Not Disturb functionality. Specifically the ability to set a specific hour for bedtime and calls, texts, and notifications will be silenced until whatever time you set to wake up. While I still wish for a option to program weekday and weekend Do Not Disturb times, this is a welcome addition. Screen Time is an option that is meant to curb smartphone addition by tracking and even limiting your smartphone usage. I won’t be using this feature personally, but there are many who will.

Siri got some love in this update via Siri Shortcuts which will allow you to create complex actions and trigger them using Siri. For example turning on your HomeKit enabled security system when you leave the house via a Siri command. And the love continues in Siri Suggestions which can tell you to call someone back if you have missed a call for example. The built in apps have been nipped and tucked, and there’s a new one called Measure. This app not only acts as a tape measure and a level, it also shows off Apple’s ARKit 2.0 functionality. Photos is another app that is worth mentioning as the tweaks that it got makes finding and organizing photos easier. Finally, CarPlay will finally allow you to use Waze or Google Maps instead of Apple Maps. At least you’ll be able to use them once updated versions of those apps ship.

So now to the bad. It’s like iOS 11 still shockingly buggy. Let’s start with CarPlay where the Mail notification sound is no longer suppressed in CarPlay. That in my business is called a regression which is a situation where something worked and then broke. It’s also a sign that Apple’s QA didn’t do their job. I’ve also noted user interface bugs in Mail which have been present since iOS 11 where you can go through a list of messages until there’s nothing that is marked as being unread, but you will still see that a message is unread. And browsing the Internet indicates that others have tripped over other iOS 12 bugs as well. Now based on past history, Apple is likely to come out with a quick update to squash bugs in the original release of iOS 12 in the next week or two. But frankly, stuff like this should have never made it out the door and it highlights how far Apple has slipped when it comes to their software quality.

So, should you update to iOS 12? Maybe after the first bug fix comes out you should because even with all the enhancements that Apple has done, I’m finding it difficult to say that you should dive right in given the negatives that I have outlined above. Once they are (hopefully) addressed, then give it a shot.

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