Handy Shortcuts app launches alongside iOS 12

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Shortcuts app from iOS 12
Apple's new Shortcuts automation app has to be downloaded separately from iOS 12.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The full version of iOS 12 is now available for everyone. One of its cool new features is Siri Shortcuts, but those who want to automate functions on their iPhone also need to download a separate application from the App Store.

The new utility lets people create scripts that collect several actions together, then launch them with a voice command. The idea is to let you automate actions that you perform regularly.

Everything you need to know about iOS 12

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The official iOS 12 release date is next week, but you can download it now.
You've got iOS 12. Here's how to make the most of it.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 is out now, and you probably already downloaded it and installed it on your device. But what does the new version of iOS actually do? Apple introduced Screen Time, the great new Do Not Disturb, and the powerful Siri Shortcuts at the WWDC 2018 keynote in June. But until you dig into them, you won’t have an idea how great these new features are, along with many more.

There are also plenty of tweaks to Safari, some great new security features, Bedtime and even a couple of new Apple apps (on the iPad at least).

Here’s everything you need to know about iOS 12 and how to take advantage of all its new features.

iOS 12 GM is out ahead of official launch next week

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The official iOS 12 release date is next week, but you can download it now.
The official iOS 12 release date is next week, but you can download it now.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple just revealed that the iOS 12 release date is September 17. Any iPhone or iPad that’s capable of running iOS 11 can upgrade then.

But you don’t have to wait. Anyone who’s part of Apple’s beta program can get the Golden Master right now.

How to use iOS 12’s new Measure app to measure virtually anything

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Apple's Measure app rules
Apple's Measure app totally rules.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 adds a brand-new Apple app to your iPhone and iPad. It’s called Measure, and that’s exactly what it does. With it, you can use your iPhone’s camera to measure distances instead of breaking out a tape measure or ruler. Also, the level tool has moved from its old home in the Compass app, and now lives in Measure. Let’s see how the new app works.

How to use iOS 12’s cool new selfie filters and AR stickers

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The new iMessage photo filters are so good, you'll want them in the regular camera app.
The new iMessage photo filters are so good, you'll want them in the regular camera app.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’ve long been able to take photos inside the Messages app on your iPhone, sending pictures directly into a conversations without saving them to your camera roll first. And you’ve also been able to grab photos from your library. But in iOS 12, both of these features are way better. Especially the camera. Not only does it ditch the stupid thumbnail-sized camera view, but you get access to some awesome new filters, and even AR stickers. Let’s take a look.

iOS 12 brings big improvements to iPhone’s Portrait mode

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truedepth iphone x camera portrait lighting
Portrait mode never looked so good on iPhone.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

iOS 12 packs a whole host of significant improvements that Apple didn’t get a chance to showcase during its WWDC preview. One of those, according to one developer, is a greatly-enhanced Portrait mode for compatible iPhone models.

The image below highlights the impressive difference between a Portrait photo taken with iOS 11 and another taken with iOS 12.

iOS 12 automatically shares your location when you call 911

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iOS 12 911 calls
iOS 12 will help you get faster emergency services.
Photo: Apple

Apple is making it easier for iPhone users in the United States to be located by the emergency services with iOS 12.

When the update rolls out to everyone this fall, users will be able to automatically and securely share their location data with 911 first responders to help reduce emergency response times, Apple confirmed today.

iOS 12 UI tweaks let you interact with apps as they’re opening

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iOS 12
This iOS 12 tweak will save you so much time over time.
Photo: Apple

Apple is giving the iPhone a more fluid UI with some tiny tweaks in iOS 12 designed to shave tenths of seconds off each interaction.

You may not even notice the changes once iOS 12 launches to the public, but in a session at WWDC last week, Apple revealed how you can now perform actions without waiting for UI animations to finish. It sounds like an insignificant update, but once you see it in action you’ll be swooning for iOS 12’s release.

Prepare to be wowed: