Apple’s iOS operating system (OS) for smartphones and tablets is always evolving. We’re currently on iOS 12.3 (and looking ahead to the arrival of iOS 13 this fall). The latest update came stocked with some new features and tweaks.
While iOS is pretty straightforward to navigate, it has a lot of hidden depths. By learning some of its tips and tricks, you can become an iOS ninja and make time with your iPad or iPhone more fun and more productive.
The most noticeable change in iOS 12.3 came in the form of an updated TV app that’s a big overhaul from the previous version. You can check out the app’s new design and spend some time trying out a few more of our favorite features in iOS 12.
1. Dive into the new Apple TV app
Apple’s big move for iOS 12.3 is the redesigned TV app. You’ll experience a new layout, which is now powered by curated suggestions and personalized recommendations based on your viewing history.
Of note is a prominent selection of free episodes from Apple TV channels. These don’t require a subscription and give you a chance to check out some new shows. There’s also a dedicated kids section with child-friendly options for shows and movies.
Apple is preparing for the end of iTunes, so it’s a good idea to start getting used to finding and renting movies and shows through the TV app. You can now subscribe to channels like HBO, Showtime and Starz through here as well.
2. Make Control Center uniquely yours
If you don’t use your Control Center very often, you’re missing out. It puts all sorts of shortcuts right at your fingertips, but it works best when it contains exactly the features you need.
To customize Control Center, head into Settings, tap on Control Center and then on Customize Controls. Here, you can add and remove controls ranging from the Magnifier to Screen Recording to Voice Memos.
Remember, to access Control Center, you swipe up from the bottom of the screen on many devices. For iPhone X or later or iPads running iOS 12, just swipe down from the upper right-hand corner.
3. Strategically hide your photos
This iOS 12 feature offers a nifty privacy option for your images. When you hide a picture or video in the Photos app, it will move into a folder called Hidden and it won’t appear in your Moments, Years and Collections view.
Select the photo or video you want to hide and tap on the sharing option icon (it looks like a rectangle with an arrow pointing up). Choose “Hide” from the options and then confirm when it asks. You can then find your Hidden photos collected together under Albums.
4. Transform the space bar into a trackpad
Here’s an under-the-radar favorite trick. If you’re typing on your iPhone or iPad and need to move the cursor, just hold down on the space bar.
The keyboard will go blank and you can then use your finger to move the cursor to where you want it. This is a lot more precise and intuitive than trying to tap on the exact right spot in your text. This feature used to be available only on 3D Touch devices, but iOS 12 brings it to everyone.
5. Check the air quality
Apple Maps introduced a new way to keep tabs on your environment with the addition of AQI (air quality index) information. When you zoom in on a location, look in the lower right-hand corner of the map. You should see the current temperature and an AQI number. The AQI clues you into current conditions.
According to the EPA, zero to 50 is good, 51 to 100 is moderate and 101 and higher takes you into increasingly unhealthy air quality conditions. This can help you decide if it’s a good idea to go out for a hike or a run, or if it’s better to stay in.
These iOS 12 tips will likely still be good when iOS 13 comes out later this year, so go ahead and try them out, especially the trackpad trick. That one is gold.