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iOS 12 update REVEALED – all the new features and release date info announced today

APPLE has finally announced the next major iPhone update: iOS 12.

Apple boss Tim Cook took to the stage at the company's annual WWDC event to reveal all the new iPhone features coming in 2018. Here's a complete guide to what's new.

Every year, Apple uses WWDC to talk about software – the system and programs that make your Apple gadgets so great.

There were a few big themes, including improving your digital health (by getting you to use your iPhone less) and boosting performance on older iPhones.

Apple also showed off some amazing new augmented reality features, which we'll describe in detail below.

Apple has already sent the iOS Developer Preview live for app makers, although you'll need to pay $99 to access this.

Instead, we recommend waiting for the public beta program, which will be available to all iOS users later in June.

Bear in mind that beta versions of software are offered up for testing purposes, so expect lots of bugs.

For the general public, Apple confirmed that you won't get iOS 12 until autumn.

That'll be so the release can coincide with the rumoured iPhone 9 launch, expected in early September.

Once the new phone(s) is available to buy, we'll likely see the iOS 12 update made available to all iPhone owners.

Anyone with an iPhone 5S / iPhone SE or later will be able to download iOS 12.

So what can we expect from iOS 12? Here are the new features in full:

Performance boost – Apple has made some significant performance improvements with iOS 12.

On certain older iPhones, the camera will launch up to 70% faster, the keyboard will appear 50% faster and typing will be more responsive. Some apps will also launch twice as fast.

Shared AR experiences – A new update to Apple's AR (augmented reality) tech means developers will be able to make cooler AR apps and games.

AR is when your phone camera places virtual objects in the real-world view – just like Snapchat filters or the popular Pokémon Go game.

With the new version of Apple's ARKit 2.0 (which lets developers make AR apps), there's now multiplayer support for AR games.

That means two players could see the same virtual objects in the same place – but on different phones.

So two Pokémon Go players could potentially look at the same Pokémon in one spot, as if it was really there.

The new ARKit 2.0 also supports persistent objects i.e. virtual objects that stay in the same place.

For instance, if you hung a virtual painting on the wall and then closed your app, it would still be there in the same spot the next time you opened the app – like magic!

Memoji and camera effects – There are now Memoji, which are Animoji-style animated characters that look like you.

Just like Snapchat's Bitmoji, you design your own custom avatar and can then send messages or make video calls using your Memoji.

Group FaceTime – FaceTime's update is simple enough: you can now make group video calls with iOS 12.

Siri Shortcuts – Siri will soon let you use voice commands to get things done in third-party, non-Apple apps. That means ordering coffees or starting workouts just by asking Siri.

Photos – The Photos app now includes a new For You tab that surfaces favourite moments in one place, combining your Memories and iCloud Shared Albums. You'll also get sharing suggestions that make it easier to share photos with friends.

Using your phone less – Apple unveiled three features to get you to use your phone less. The first is improved Do Not Disturb, which now lets you shut off notifications all night (and into the morning) until you decide you want to see them. There's also Grouped Notifications, which will pull similar lock-screen pop-ups together, and let you swipe them away in big groups. And finally there's Screen Time, which lets you track the amount of time you spend on your iPhone, and set usage limits on specific apps.

Privacy and security – Safari now has a new Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature that blocks social media 'Like' or 'Share' buttons and comment widgets from tracking users without their permission. Safari will also prevent you from being tracked based on your system configuration, and flag if you're re-using passwords to keep your accounts safe.

What else? Here are some other minor updates:

Are you excited for the next big iPhone update? Let us know in the comments!

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