iOS 12 photo imports are way, way better

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Somehow this happened…
Somehow this happened…
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In iOS 11 and earlier, importing photos from a camera to your iPad photo library was always a bit clunky. You plugged the SD card in using the Lightning SD card reader, or hooked up the camera to a USB adapter, and then the Photos import took over your entire screen.

Also, all the images you imported wound up dumped right into your main photo library, leaving you to manually select them later if you wanted to add them to albums.

In iOS 12, Apple improved all of this. Let’s take a look at the great new photo import features in iOS 12.

Why you should use iOS 12’s Do Not Disturb at Bedtime all day long

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Do Not Disturb at Bedtime all day
You could enjoy this peaceful situation all day long.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12’s best new feature may be Do Not Disturb at Bedtime. That sounds boring, but ask anyone who has been using it and they’ll tell you that it rocks. Apart from being active overnight, the main difference between regular Do Not Disturb and the new “at Bedtime” flavor is that all notifications are hidden from the lock screen until you deliberately swipe up on the screen to reveal them.

Regular Do Not Disturb suppresses audio and vibrating alerts, but the notifications still appear on the lock screen. You’ll see them any time you pick up your iPhone or unlock your iPad. This can make the difference between enjoying your hooky afternoon at the beach in peace or worrying the whole time because you accidentally saw that Slack message from your boss.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could take the regular Do Not Disturb and make it hide your alerts all day long? The good news is that you totally can.

Tame your notifications with iOS 12’s Instant Tuning

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Instant Tuning lets you tweak alert settings as you get them.
Instant Tuning lets you tweak alert settings as you get them.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

“Instant Tuning” is the rather odd name that Apple gave an excellent new iOS 12 feature. You know how some apps on your iPhone keep popping up notifications you never want or need? And you keep telling yourself that you will dig into the Settings app and switch them off? Only you never, ever get around to this annoying busywork? Instant Tuning is for you.

Now, when a notification comes in, you can access the notifications settings for that app right there in the notification itself. This is huge, and makes culling your notifications way easier. Which in turn makes your most important notifications, like text messages or that sweet eBay auction you’re following, stand out more.

5 essential apps that work beautifully with iOS 12

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Halide can now add custom background blurs in iOS 12.
Halide can now add custom background blurs in iOS 12.
Photo: Halide

iOS 12 gives your favorite apps access to some amazing new abilities. One is integration with the brand-new Siri Shortcuts, which lets you automate your apps, or to interact with them by talking to Siri. But that’s not all. Camera apps now have access to the the depth information from Portrait Mode, so they can do some pretty special effects.

Safari’s password autofill has also been opened up, so apps like Dashlane and 1Password are now available with a single tap. Let’s take a look at the best new iOS 12-ready apps already available.

How to understand the amazing new battery info in iOS 12

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Slice and dice the battery info however you like.
Slice and dice the battery info however you like.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The new iOS 12 Battery information section brings a massive improvement over the previous version. Whereas before you could see which apps used how much battery, and for how long, now you can see the charts that look like the Tim Cook section of an Apple Keynote. You can see your battery use in incredible detail, broken down by such categories as Screen On Usage and Screen Off Usage.

But that’s not all. You can see how fast the battery ran down, how the levels were at any time during the last 24 hours, and also a longer-term overview that shows your usage over time.

It’s so detailed that it can be a bit intimidating, so today we’ll take a look at how to read those charts, and how to get the best out of them.

How to use the new iPad gestures in iOS 12

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Is this Apple's secret iOS gesture-making machine?
Is this Apple's secret iOS gesture-making machine?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 was clearly designed for an iPad where Face ID replaces the Home button. Apple has revamped the tablet’s gestures for iOS 12, bringing us an easy way to return to the Home screen, and an iPhone X-style gesture to access the Control Center.

If you’re a long-time iPad users, these changes will seem a little jarring at first. You’ll soon get used to them, though, and even learn to love them. The new Control Center gesture, in fact, is a lot better than the old one.

How to use Apple’s new Shortcuts app

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A shortcut.
A shortcut.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Shortcuts is Apple’s new automation app for iOS 12. It integrates with Siri and lets you build all kinds of amazing automated workflows, from shutting your house down when you go to sleep, to downloading videos from YouTube and saving the them to iCloud.

Shortcuts is really just the new name for Workflow, an iOS automation app that Apple bought a year or so back. Let’s take a look at what Apple has put in Shortcuts.

How to share Dropbox-style links in iOS 12 Photos app

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You can now share links to your photos, including photos of grapefruits.
You can now share links to your photos, including photos of grapefruits.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 adds a great new feature in the Photos app. Now, when you share a photo, you can choose to copy a link to that photo, and share that instead. This is a lot like sharing a file from Dropbox. You can even copy a link to a whole slew of files and share them by sending a single URL.

Shared photos are stored in iCloud, and the link is accessible to anyone that has it, for up to a month. Let’s see how it works.

How to use Photos’ amazing new search in iOS 12

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iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
iOS 12 Photos thinks that cabbages are melons.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Photos already has a pretty decent search function on iOS 11. Thanks to Apple’s machine-learning tech, and AI categorization, you can search for thousands of “scenes.” These include the places you took the photo, but also anything from abacus to zucchini, people in the images, and times the images were taken.

This has gotten even better in iOS 12. You can still search on many thousands of categories and keywords, but now you can combine searches. For instance, you could search for several different people, and see photos only containing them all. OR you can combine search terms like Christmas, Food, and 2015, for instance. Let’s take a look.

These apps just got an iOS 12 and Siri Shortcuts overhaul

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Not every shortcut is worth taking.
Not every shortcut is worth taking.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 launches today, and there are a whole bunch of updates to apps that take advantage of the new features available in iOS 12. If you visit the App Store’s updates page, you’ll see that many apps are adding support for Siri Shortcuts. Shortcuts in iOS 12 can refer to several related new things, but in this case, Siri Shortcuts lets you interact with, and control apps just by talking.

For instance, say “Hey Siri, check my commute” to get a report of the disruptions, departures, and your ETA at work from Citymapper, or say “Show today,” and see a list of today’s tasks in Things app.