Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming iOS 12 update to developers for testing purposes, two weeks after seeding the third beta and more than a month after introducing the new software at the Worldwide Developers Conference.
Registered developers can download the new iOS 12 beta from Apple’s Developer Center or over-the-air after installing the proper certificate.
iOS 12 introduces major updates to the iOS operating system, with Apple revamping the system from top to bottom to make iPhones and iPads, especially older models, faster and more responsive.
On the iPhone X, there are new Animoji characters along with “Memoji,” which are customizable, personalized Animoji that can be used both in Messages and in FaceTime. Messages and FaceTime have also gained fun new camera effects, and Group FaceTime support allows for calls with up to 32 people.
Siri is smarter in iOS 12 with a new Shortcuts feature that lets you create custom automations using first and third-party apps that can be activated with Siri, with Shortcuts able to be created with the beta version of the Shortcuts app that was introduced earlier in July.
Apple also built a comprehensive set of time management and monitoring tools into iOS 12 with Screen Time, allowing you to keep track of just how much time you’re spending on your iPhone and iPad. App limits can help you cut back on iOS device usage, and robust parental controls are included for families.
Updated Do Not Disturb options make turning off notifications and distractions easier than ever, and a new Do Not Disturb at Bedtime feature cuts down on nighttime interruptions.
Group Notifications make incoming notifications easier to view and manage, while a new Instant Tuning feature lets you tweak your notification settings right on the Lock screeen on a notification-by-notification basis.
Apple News has a new Browse feature, the Stocks app has been redesigned, iBooks has been overhauled with a new look and a new name – Apple Books – and Voice Memos has been revamped with iCloud support and an iPad app.
ARKit 2.0 introduces new capabilities like shared experiences that let two people see the same AR environment on separate devices, and persistence, which allows AR experiences to be saved across multiple sessions. There’s also a new Measure app for measuring objects using AR capabilities.
iOS 12 includes a revamped and rebuilt Maps app that uses a new Apple-designed Maps engine that will display foliage, pools, buildings, pedestrian pathways, and other map elements more accurately. The new Maps also includes significant improvements to traffic, real-time road conditions, construction, and more, plus it will enable Apple to push out changes and fixes more quickly.
The revamped Maps app is available in the San Francisco Bay Area during the beta testing period, and when iOS 12 launches in the fall, it will expand to all of Northern California. From there, Apple will continue rolling it out to additional U.S. locations across late 2018 and 2019.
Tons of other small tweaks and features have been added to iOS 12, so make sure to check out our dedicated roundup for additional detail on what’s new in iOS 12.
Early betas of new operating system updates always introduce tweaked features and new functionality, and we’ll be outlining what’s new in the fourth beta below. We also rounded up all of the changes that were introduced in the previous betas, beta 2 and beta 3.
iOS 12 is available for developers and public beta testers, with a public launch planned for the fall alongside new iPhones.
Update: According to Apple’s release notes for beta 4, there are several new issues with features like Screen Time, the App Store, and Siri Shortcuts. Apps in the App Store might fail to download properly the first time, and the cellular signal status bar on the iPhone X could be inaccurate while on the Lock Screen or Home Screen.
Screen Time usage data and settings may not sync between devices, with Apple recommending a restart to fix the issue.
Siri Shortcuts may not work while using CarPlay, could result in an error message on HomePod, may not be restored from iCloud backup, may not work if a device is locked, and SiriKit queries could be delayed or result in an error message.