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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Six Colors coverage of ios12

By Jason Snell

iOS 12 adds powerful search to Photos

In iOS 12, searching in the Photos takes a big step forward—while leaving macOS Mojave trailing, alas. Search results in Photos on iOS are incredibly rich. When you search for something, you won’t just find the photos that match, but you’ll also see all the Moments and Albums that contain matching photos.

The real power, though—and the place where iOS 12 really has it over macOS—is the ability to combine search terms.

If you want to search for a dog, you can type in dog and tap on the Dog category (this is important—you must tokenize each query, as Photos is not smart enough to figure out what you mean otherwise), and you’ll see all the photos that Apple’s machine-learning technology has identified as containing dogs. On that search-results screen you’ll also see a bunch of suggestions for related items that are often found with dogs—people, locations, even years or seasons.

If you tap on one of these items, they’ll be added to your search query, so now you’ll see all instances of, for example, a particular person and a dog.

Searching for dog and then adding my daughter as a suggested query.

When I searched my photo library for dog, I found 729 items. Adding the category snow dropped the total number of items to just three—and all them were my dog in the snow.

Searching for my dog in the snow.

This is incredibly powerful. If you want to find photos with specific combinations of people, places, or actions, you can do it in seconds. I searched for my son by name and then added the second search term swimming and instantly found 57 photos. Ten years of pool parties, found in just moments.

A decade of pool parties!.

It’s a pretty big upgrade, especially if you have a large library. And it makes Apple’s automatically generated machine-learning categories much more useful by letting you connect them to people, places, or other categories.

Now if only it also worked on the Mac….

iOS 12: The MacStories Review

Federico Viticci’s exhaustive review of iOS 12 is live. Every year, it is the definitive review of iOS. This year we get Siri Shortcuts, which is a huge step forward for iOS productivity.

You should read it. It’s delightful. Or listen to the audio version, narrated by Myke Hurley.

By Jason Snell for Tom's Guide

Is Buggy iOS 12 Beta a Sign of Trouble? (It’s not.)

Using prerelease software is exciting. It puts you ahead of the curve, giving you access today to what everyone else will be downloading next week or next month. But it can be frustrating, too. After all, if the software was finished, it would already be released. Using beta software means dealing with bugs, slowdowns, and incompatibilities—all in the name of getting to live slightly in the future.

After years of using beta software, one of the lessons I’ve learned is that it’s a mistake to jump to any conclusions about the speed or stability of the final release based on the betas. I want to liken using beta software to going to see a preview of a Broadway musical, in that things will be tweaked and altered before the wider public sees the show. But it’s probably more accurate to say that it’s like working in a building that’s still under construction. There are great new views and lots of space, but sometimes the elevator may stop working and the water in the kitchen might be a little brown.

It’s worth keeping all of this in mind when we see reports of weird things going on with beta versions of upcoming software releases. I’m struck by the recent reports that Apple pulled a version of its iOS 12 beta due to performance issues, but this has hit me directly, too: for the last few days my beta-running iPad was unable to launch any apps via the search bar, which forced me to hunt through folders to find my apps.

Continue reading on Tom's Guide ↦

By Dan Moren

iOS 12 public beta is out for all

iPad iOS 12

That’s my iPad running the iOS 12 public beta. You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that it doesn’t look too different from iOS 11; about the only obvious cosmetic change I can see there is that the date is now featured in the top left, alongside the time. (A welcome change, if you ask me.) A handful of new apps got added to my home screen—Stocks, Voice Memos, and Measure—but they’ve been filed away where they belong.

I’ve only dipped my toes into iOS 12 so far, and since I’m installing it on my iPad, not my iPhone1, I don’t have access to a number of the new features, like Memoji, Portrait Mode improvements, or other enhancements to Messages. Certain features, like the Siri Shortcuts app, aren’t yet available either.

In my brief time with iOS 12, I will note that it feels zippier in some respects—granted, however, that this is on a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which isn’t exactly a slouch in the performance department. But bringing up the multitasking interface on the iPad seems much more responsive and fast—I’m curious to know how it’s improved older devices.

There will be plenty more iterations of the beta to come, and we’ll be playing around with the features and talking about our impressions throughout the summer. If you’ve got questions, you know where to find us.

  1. The former being not nearly as critical to my day-to-day life. 

[Dan Moren is the official Dan of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at His latest novel, The Aleph Extraction, is out now and available in fine book stores everywhere, so be sure to pick up a copy.]

By Jason Snell for Tom's Guide

iOS 12 Beta: Why You Should (and Shouldn’t) Download It

It’s just about time for Apple to release its public beta version of iOS 12, the operating system that runs iPhones and iPads. In the old days, only registered Apple software developers had the privilege of running Apple’s next-generation operating system early, but now anyone who registers with Apple’s beta program can do it.

But you may not want to install iOS 12 the moment it arrives, though. While there are reasons to to install iOS 12 this summer, there are also plenty of reasons to let patience win the day. Here’s a look at the reasons why you should and shouldn’t jump on the iOS 12 Public Beta train.

Continue reading on Tom's Guide ↦

By Jason Snell for Tom's Guide

5 Reasons Why iOS 12 Is the Biggest Upgrade in Years

All the rumors said that Apple was going to take it easy this year, scaling back on the ambition of its software updates in order to focus on improved performance, stability and security. Those three items are definitely at the top of the feature list for iOS 12, due this fall, but this is anything but a snooze of an update for iPhone users.

In fact, iOS 12 may change the way we interact with our iPhones more than any previous iOS release since the App Store arrived ten years ago.

Continue reading on Tom's Guide ↦

By Jason Snell for Macworld

iOS 12: Geeky features iOS needs

If June is for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), then May is for stories speculating about what will be announced at WWDC. My favorite genre of these stories is the iOS feature wish list, which Macworld has been publishing since… well, since before it was even called iOS.

Yes, this is going to be one of those stories, but with a twist. Rather than providing feature requests of the crowd-pleasing variety, instead I’m going to advocate for some nerdy features that won’t be used by more than a fraction of iPhone and iPad users. Despite that, they’re still important—at least to me.

Continue reading on Macworld ↦

By Jason Snell for Tom's Guide

7 iPhone Features I’d Like to See in iOS 12

Rumor has it that iOS 12, due to be announced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 4, will have a reduced scope as Apple tries to focus on improved security and reliability. Still, hope springs eternal — and for those of us who are dreaming of new iPhone features, this is prime hoping season. So, before my hopes get dashed, here’s a wish list of items I’d like to see when Apple announces the next version of iOS in a few weeks.

Continue reading on Tom's Guide ↦

Here are the new emojis you’ll see this fall

A mock-up of new emoji designs, courtesy Emojipedia.

It’s official: The new emoji list for 2018 is out. Jeremy Burge (the emoji subcommittee of the Unicode Consortium) writes at Emojipedia:

Emoji 11.0 today reached its final form and includes emojis for redheads, curly hair, superheroes, softball, infinity, kangaroo and more. Emoji 11.0 marks the first time new components are available for hair color. Options are provided for red hair, curly hair, white hair, and baldness and these are available for use in sequences for men and women of any skin tone. Other notable inclusions include emojis for popular activities such as sewing, knitting, lacrosse, and skateboarding.

If tradition holds, iOS users will probably see these new emojis in a post-iOS 12 update later in the fall. Hooray for Hippos and Heroes and, yes, Pirates too.