If you don’t have enough cash to buy a new iPhone with X in its name, you can freshen up your existing device with Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 12.
Available on Monday, the free update is packed with features that entice you to use it more — and tools to make you use it less.
This version is compatible will all the same devices as iOS 11, going back to the iPhone 5S. It will also ship on the new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. It’s expected to roll out starting at 10 a.m. PT.
The usual operating system update advice applies. If you can, wait a week or more to install it on your phone to avoid any undiscovered bugs. Back up your phone before upgrading. And don’t bombard your loved ones with animated Koala emojis.
Here are the best new features:
1. Screen Time tool
You spend too much time on your phone, are overwhelmed by email and social notifications, and your kids haven’t looked up from Instagram since they came home from school. As the creator of the modern smartphone, Apple is somewhat responsible for these problems. But it also wants to help.
A new feature called Screen Time, located in Settings, tallies up how much you’re on your phone. You can see detailed breakdowns, including how often you pick up your device, and set limitations for certain types of apps. There’s a similar set of tools for parents to control their kids’ devices.
I’ve been testing beta versions of iOS 12 since it was announced in June. Since the initial shock of learning I have iPhone addiction issues, I’ve returned to my old habits and don’t dwell much on the weekly updates on my excessive screen time.
iOS 12 also adds new notification tools to give you more control over the pop-ups and pings that fill the lock screen. You can change notifications settings from the lock screen, such as setting an app to deliver notifications silently. When Do Not Disturb is on, you won’t see any notifications on the screen.