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After several months of beta testing since its announcement back in June, iOS 12 is now available to the public as a free update for iPhone and iPad.

iOS 12 is a big update, the kind that only comes once a year, and offers several key benefits no matter which device(s) you own. We recommend updating as soon as possible, but first, let’s take a quick look at what you’ll get with the new software.

New features

Though iOS 12’s focus is on improved performance rather than flashy new tricks, there are still a handful of new features to get your hands on.

Screen Time will give users a full breakdown of their device usage, empowering them to change their habits with a series of customizable limits and downtime restrictions.

Siri Suggestions offer the chance for users to create custom trigger phrases for Siri based on their some of their most-used tasks workflows. This feature is also open to third-party developers to integrate new Siri actions within their apps.

Camera Effects have been added to the Messages app for the iPhone 6s and above and the most recent iPads, giving users the chance to add some fun visual flair to photos before sending to a contact.

Memoji might only work on the iPhone X and above, but it’s a really cool feature based on last year’s Animoji, allowing users to design a 3D avatar based on their likeness and animate it just by moving their head and talking.

If you’ve ordered an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, iOS 12 will also add new depth control functions for photos taken in Portrait mode on those devices.

Of course, we’ve written new tips for all of the above which will be posted very shortly.

Faster performance

Even if the above features don’t appeal to you, it’s still worth an upgrade. Apple’s software team has prioritized stability for this release, meaning fewer crashes and faster processes than ever before. Add to that the regular bug fixes and security improvements that come with every iOS update and we consider that a pretty good reason to make the change.

Beyond that, Apple says that its older devices will actually get a performance boost from this update. This isn’t just empty sales talk – many beta testers have corroborated the claim over the Summer, seeing noticeable speed improvements even in old devices like the iPhone 5s.

How to update

To install iOS 12 for free, simply open the Settings app and tap General followed by Software Update.

(If you spent the summer testing the beta release of iOS 12, you’ll first want to delete your testing profile from SettingsGeneralProfiles to hop back onto the public release cycle.)

This year, Apple hasn’t given a single device the chop; iOS 12 is compatible with every single model that iOS 11 worked with last year.

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