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Apple’s twelfth major update to its iOS mobile operating system became generally available Sept. 17, and what it lacks in flashy new features, it more than makes up for in security and performance upgrades.
Unlike previous releases where older iPhones and iPads got bogged down and instability rose, iOS 12 makes things work faster, improves stability and improves security.
The performance improvements that come with iOS 12 are significant—especially for older devices, which have traditionally slowed down after iOS updates. Because of the performance improvements, managers won’t be under as much pressure to replace devices while they’re still usable, saving money over time and making management simpler.
The security improvements—which include a series of password management features and improvements to two-factor authentication—will also help the longevity of iOS devices. The new password manager can draw on passwords stored in the Apple Keychain or in some third-party password managers such as LastPass, and will perform password audits to flag password reuse and to help create passwords that are hard to guess. Once the password manager has its store of passwords, it can autofill passwords requests in apps or on web pages. It will also share network passwords with nearby iOS devices, and password autofill can be authenticated by FaceID or TouchID.
In terms of two-factor authentication, iOS 12 will now detect an authentication code sent via SMS text message or via an app, and automatically fill it in. This will make two-factor authentication significantly less onerous, and probably improve adoption.
Meanwhile, USB Restricted Mode is continuing in iOS 12 after having been added at the end of the iOS 11 upgrade cycle. This prevents USB accessories from accessing your device after a set period of time.
Apple has also released a new version of its iOS Security Guide, which covers the security capabilities of iOS 12 in detail. In addition, Apple has added automatic iOS updates, which will perform the download and update process overnight while the device is locked, plugged in and has WiFi connected.
Of course, there are some nice features that you may find useful, such as Apple’s new Measure app, which uses augmented reality to approximate the size of an object. However, the real focus of iOS 12 is definitely in making the OS much more useful and in improving the functionality and stability of your existing hardware. So while it may just look like any boring update, iOS 12 is really a must-have.