iOS 12

Apple iOS 12.1 brings Group FaceTime, dual-SIM compatibility and more

Apple has released iOS 12.1 for iPhone and iPad bringing Group FaceTime, dual-SIM compatibility and more.

Group FaceTime

Group FaceTime supports up to 32 people, making the feature more useful for families and businesses.  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.

Dual-SIM Support

With iOS 12.1, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR gain Dual SIM support, featuring a nano-SIM and digital eSIM. Users can now activate an additional cellular plan from a carrier without having to use a physical nano-SIM.

In most regions the second SIM is actually an eSIM, though with Chinese iPhones, people must use a second physical card.

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.

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.

Depth Control in Camera

Advanced depth segmentation in Portrait mode enables more sophisticated portraits with professional-level bokeh. With iOS 12.1, users can now dynamically adjust the depth of field in real-time preview in addition to post-capture, enabling more control to create portraits with a beautiful background blur.

Portrait mode with Depth Control is also available on the TrueDepth camera for selfies, which includes Memoji and faster face tracking support for third-party ARKit apps.

Battery Management

Apple’s latest iOS update brings battery management routines including throttling phones that have chemically depleted batteries to the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X.

Apple state,

Your iPhone is designed to deliver an experience that is simple and easy to use. This is only possible through a combination of advanced technologies and sophisticated engineering. One important technology area is battery and performance. Batteries are a complex technology, and a number of variables contribute to battery performance and related iPhone performance. All rechargeable batteries are consumables and have a limited lifespan—eventually their capacity and performance decline so that they need to be replaced. As batteries age, it can contribute to changes in iPhone performance. We created this information for those who would like to learn more.

Preventing unexpected shutdowns

With a low battery state of charge, a higher chemical age, or colder temperatures, users are more likely to experience unexpected shutdowns. In extreme cases, shutdowns can occur more frequently, thereby rendering the device unreliable or unusable. For iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus, iOS dynamically manages performance peaks to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down so that the iPhone can still be used. This performance management feature is specific to iPhone and does not apply to any other Apple products. Starting with iOS 12.1, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X include this feature, but performance management may be less noticeable due to their more advanced hardware and software design.

This performance management works by looking at a combination of the device temperature, battery state of charge, and battery impedance. Only if these variables require it, iOS will dynamically manage the maximum performance of some system components, such as the CPU and GPU, in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns. As a result, the device workloads will self-balance, allowing a smoother distribution of system tasks, rather than larger, quick spikes of performance all at once. In some cases, a user may not notice any differences in daily device performance. The level of perceived change depends on how much performance management is required for a particular device.

Any throttling “may be less noticeable” as a result of “more advanced hardware and software design,” the company said in an updated support document. The company didn’t specify what improvements it meant, but as iPhones have evolved they have gained faster processors with more cores and coprocessors.

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