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.

Showdown! iOS 12 vs. Android 9 Pie

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Which wins the features arms race, Android 9 Pie vs. iOS 12? Here's how they compare.
Which wins the features arms race, Android 9 Pie or iOS 12? Here's how they compare.
Illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Android 9 Pie has landed on Google Pixel devices just a month before Apple rolls out iOS 12. Both come with a long list of new features and improvements, but is one better than the other?

Here’s how Android 9 and iOS 12 compare.

WhatsApp is bringing media previews to iOS notifications

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WhatsApp on iOS
WhatsApp users have been waiting for better notifications.
Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

WhatsApp notifications on iOS are about to get a lot more useful.

The popular messaging service is now testing media previews that let users view images and even animated GIFs before opening a message. Today’s update has also added the ability to use Siri to send messages to groups.

WhatsApp’s newest feature fixes group chat notification chaos

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WhatsApp group notifications
No more notifications you don’t need to see.
Photo: WhatsApp

WhatsApp’s group chat function can be incredibly useful for all kinds of things. But when a bunch of people are talking, your phone gets bombarded with notifications and they suddenly become unbearable.

WhatsApp’s newest feature hopes to fix that by allowing only selected people to send messages.

Gmail for iOS just got a big notifications upgrade

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Gmail iOS
View all your messages individually if you prefer.
Photo: Google

Some of us need to have email notifications enabled, but we don’t want our iPhone to ping every time a spam message hits out inbox. Gmail just got a big notifications upgrade that solves this problem.

Its official iOS app now uses artificial intelligence to provide notifications for your most important emails only.

How iOS 12’s smartest features put users firmly back in control

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Time for bed screen time downtime
Time for bed. iOS 12 lets you choose who can disturb you.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2018 bug Cult of Mac Maybe the most important new feature of iOS 12 is something that helps you to do less with your iPhone, not more.

If any other company had introduced Screen Time, the new system-wide toolset for limiting phone distractions, then it would (rightly) be dismissed as a gimmick, a sop to the increasing worries about phone addiction. But as is typical of Apple, Screen Time looks like it took a lot of work to get just right.

Screen Time may seem to be about combatting app addiction, and reducing the amount of time “wasted” on your iPhone. However, taken together with the new Do Not Disturb settings in iOS 12, it’s more about putting users back in control of their iPhones.

Sketchy photo purports to show iOS 12’s new features

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ipad ios 11
iOS 12 could pack a ton of big surprises.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

We’ve seen some incredibly sketchy Apple “leaks” over the years. This one, a photo that purportedly shows an iOS 12 upgrade ready to be installed on an iPhone, is up there with the most ludicrous.

Here’s what the image claims we’ll get when Apple’s big update rolls out this fall.

iOS 12 concept dreams of grouped notifications and more

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iOS 12
It's time for Apple to bundle notifications.
Photo: Matt Birchler

The grand unveiling of iOS 12 is just a few weeks away and there’s one feature on everybody’s wishlist: grouped notifications.

iOS 11’s notification screen is a mess when you get multiple notifications from the same app, but developer Matt Birchler has created a simple concept that shows how Apple could make the lock screen notifications so much better.

Here’s how they would look:

How to get alerts when iOS games and apps go free

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Free game alerts
Who wouldn't want to play UNICORN 3D - Colour by Number?
Photo: Cult of Mac

Are you an iOS gamer? Do you love games so much that your iPhone may as well be a pocket games console? And do you also hate paying developers to make those amazing games for you? Then good news! because today’s how-to shows you how to get alerts whenever a top game gets its price reduced to free.

Quick Tip: How to force Face ID to pay attention to you

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iPhone x notifications face id
iPhone X hides notification previews until you look at them.
Photo: Apple

Face ID is almost perfect, but that only makes it even more annoying when Apple’s facial-recognition tech doesn’t work like you’d expect. For instance, if you’re sitting at your desk and you glance at a notification on your propped-up iPhone X, the screen unlocks and lets you read the notification’s full content. But sometimes it doesn’t notice you looking, and the notifications stay locked.

What do you do in this case? Do you grab the phone and give it a shake, the same way you do to trigger raise-to-wake on other iPhones? No. There’s a shortcut, although you will need to lift at least one finger to use it.