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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

The small details of iOS 12, macOS Mojave, and more

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

While it may have seemed like Apple went deep into its upcoming platform updates, there’s only so much time the company can spend onstage, so by necessity, not everything makes the cut.

So I always like to comb through Apple’s product web pages to turn up interesting tidbits and features that the company didn’t talk about during its keynote presentation. So here’s my pretty thorough list of features Apple mentions on its website for these platform updates. Did I miss anything? Let me know!

iOS 12

Automatic strong passwords. Apple says that Safari will now automatically create and save strong passwords in apps and websites, as well as flagging passwords that are reused. I’m curious how this differs from the current situation, where you can specifically tell iOS to generate a password. I’m also wondering if the company has changed its password-generation algorithms, based on the latest data about creating strong passwords. But frankly, I welcome any opportunity to encourage people to use better passwords.

Security code AutoFill. A feature I was just thinking about the other day, when my mother complained that sometimes those one-time security codes go by too fast. Now those codes will pop up as an AutoFill option, making filling them in that much faster.

More Siri features. Siri Shortcuts dominated the attention at the keynote, but it looks like the virtual assistant has learned a few new tricks, including food-related questions like how many calories or how much fat something has, and even the ability to look up a password. (Hopefully only when you’ve authenticated yourself.) Translation now supports more than 40 language pairs.

Battery info. Apple says you can now get battery info for the last 10 days in addition to the last 24 hours, which should help people get a better handle on what might be eating up their battery life.

Device support. Since the company specifically planted a flag about improving performance on older devices, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that iOS 12 will run on the same devices as iOS 11, all the way back to the iPhone 5s, iPad mini 2, and sixth-generation iPod touch.

Wink detection. In addition to being able to detect when you stick out your tongue, Animoji can now tell when you wink. (Before it generally just registered them as a blink.)

Animoji length. Recording clips with Animoji now has a 30-second limit, as opposed to the current 10 second limit.

App strip redesigned. The company’s tweaked the design on the App Strip in Messages, to take up less space.

AR linked to a location. Not only can you create an AR object that can be viewed by multiple people, but you can anchor it to a location, so it can be seen by anybody who goes to that place. Augmented reality geocaching anybody?

Photo places search. Anybody who’s tried to find photos from a specific location have probably run into issues with it not being quite granular enough. Now Apple says you can search generic terms, like “Japanese restaurant” as well as specific location names and events, like WWDC 2018.

RAW photo editing. The iPad Pro can edit RAW photos; iPads and iPhones can import and manage them.

Better portrait mode. Apple says it’s tweaked portrait mode’s algorithm to help better differentiate between the subject and the background.

Password sharing. Apple says it’s made it easier to share passwords between nearby devices. I imagine this works much like the current iOS feature that lets you share Wi-Fi passwords with known devices, but hopefully this will save a lot of time inputting passwords on Apple TVs.

Password management API. Fascinating: Third-party password management apps (think 1Password) can now let you access their vaults for filling in passwords in Safari, right from the QuickType bar.

iPad gestures. Apple says you can now swipe up on the Dock to get to the home screen, and swipe down from the top right corner to summon Control Center.

New dictionaries & thesaurus. New dictionaries for Arabic and English, Hindi and English, and Hebrew, plus—at long last!—an English language thesaurus.

watchOS 5

Hiking support. Just doing a walk is a little bit different from a hike, so good to see Workouts now supports the later, including tracking your elevation in real time.

Cadence tracking. Your running work can now track steps per minute, to help you figure out your optimal cadence.

Device compatibility. Sorry, Series 0 Apple Watch owners: no watchOS 5 for you—you’ll need at least a Series 1 or better. looks mournfully at his original Apple Watch

macOS Mojave

Time-shifting desktop. You can set your desktop to change throughout the day, shifting to Dark Mode at night, and even changing your desktop picture to match.

Customizable metadata. In addition to exposing way more of the metadata for a file, you can also choose which info you want to see, customizing the view for your needs.

QuickLook supports audio/video trimming. The new Quick Actions are for more than just photos and PDFs.

Custom save location for screenshots. Screenshots is one of those features that’s gotten almost no attention in the history of macOS/OS X/Mac OS X, so it’s nice to see it get some love here. Among the other improvements to Apple’s screenshots is the ability to set a custom save location.

Strong passwords/auditing. The same password-related features as iOS 12.

Favicons in tabs. Several eagle-eyed folks picked this up during the presentation, but yes, it’s official: favicons have arrived for tabs in Safari!

Mail improvements. Mail now has better support for entering emoji, including an emoji button. And Mail also suggests what folder you might want to file a selected message in.

Siri support for HomeKit. In addition to the Home app coming to the Mac, you can now control your HomeKit accessories via Siri on your Mac.

New language options. Including UK English, Australian English, Canadian French, and Traditional Chinese for Hong Kong. There are also better maps for China, a romanized keyboard input for Japanese, and an Indian English voice for Siri.

tvOS 12

Automatic TV remote in Control Center. As soon as you connect an iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV, the Apple TV Remote icon shows up in Control Center. (Instead of you having to manually turn it on.)

Shared passwords. As mentioned, you can autofill your passwords from your iOS devices.

Annnnd that’s about it for the Apple TV, which definitely got the short end of the stick this time around.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]

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