Apple released new major updates of its operating systems – macOS for Macs, iOS for iPhones and iPads, watchOS for Apple’s smart watches and tvOS for Apple TVs 4th generation (and higher). Systems were announced at WWDC 2018 Keynote at 4th June 2018. After long betatest, both for developers and public users, final versions are here to download. All updates are free for all Apple users.
The most notable feature of macOS Mojave is systemwide Dark Mode. Whole macOS was redesigned for dark theme while keeping light theme, so switching between themes is just few clicks away. Some apps can change layout between dark and light theme based on Mac settings automatically, some apps will need to change theme manually in apps’ settings panel and some apps are still not updated for dark theme. As bonus, macOS Mojave received Dynamics Desktops with one demo dynamic wallpapper of Mojave Desert, which changes brightness and colours based on time in your location.
Next feature is Stacks. If you have a mess on your desktop, Apple created a great solution. This feature will group files based on type of files, like pictures or PDFs into “folders” called Stacks.
Finder was updated with new Gallery View, which replaces Cover Flow from Mac OS X Leopard. As former Cover Flow, it shows bigger preview for files like pictures and PDF files. Another feature is right-side Sidebar. It not only shows thumbnail, but also detailed file infos, EXIF datas for photos, etc. Notable improvement is Quick Actions, which allows deeper interaction between Finder and files themselves. For example, you can rotate pictures directly in Finder. Additional Quick Actions can be created in built-in Automator app by user or to be added by 3rd party apps. Quick Look was updated with many new tools, so, for example, you can do some basic edits directly in Quick Look view. It’s similar like screenshot features introduced with iOS 11 on iPads, which shines especially with Apple Pencil (Apple’s stylus works on any iPad Pro and 2018 classic iPad).
Screenshots were improved in style of iOS 11 on iPads. After taking screenshot, a thumbnail is showed in bottom right side. After clicking on it, additional features are available, like quick markup or ability to share screenshot via Share Menu. Content of macOS Share Menu (like “Open with…” menu on iOS) depends on installed apps. Personally, I miss Share Menu extension for Telegram, but most of apps I need to be used by Share Menu are supported. Also, new useful addition is ability to record screen, both full and selected area, and Continuity Camera to insert photos and scans directly from iPhone and iPad.
Apple is creating its public image as privacy protector. Anti-tracking features from Safari on macOS High Sierra (and iOS 11) are improved. Say goodbye to digital fingerprints and stalking web extensions, like share buttons from Facebook and other social network. These new features are also present in Safari for iOS 12.
Mac App Store, as its iOS counterpart in the past, got big redesign. Virtual store for Mac will be no longer a Ghost town. Apps from some big companies, like Microsoft, are coming to Mac App Store later this year. App itself makes easier to discover new apps and games, including featured section and specific categories.
Apple announced ported apps from iOS to Macs: Apple News, Stocks, Home and Voice Memos. It’s a part of a multiyear project for easier porting iOS apps to macOS. Many software layers and packages are the same on macOS and iOS apps and it is raising a question:
“Is Apple going to merge macOS and iOS?”
Answer from Apple is: “No.”
Also, macOS Mojave got new security features, like protected access on API level for webcamera and microphone.
Unfortunately, FaceTime group calls were dropped during macOS Mojave beta and it’s unclear when will be this feature released. Apple said that group calls will come as update later.
Apple dropped support for many older Macs. Basically, you will need Metal-capable Mac. Supported Macs are:
- MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or later)
- Retina MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
- MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or later)
- Mac mini (Late 2012 or later)
- iMac (Late 2012 or later)
- iMac Pro (Late 2017 or later)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013 or later)
Note: if you have recommended Metal-capable GPU in your modular Mac Pro from mid 2010 or mid 2012, you can upgrade to macOS Mojave.
iOS 12 is a significant update. It was not only focusing on stability, performance and bug fixes, but many features were added. This year’s iOS was focused more on iPhone, but iPad got some cool features too and was not ignored like it was at WWDC 2016 (iOS 10).
Let’s start with Memoji. Memoji are reality thanks to a TrueDepth Camera in last year’s iPhones X and iPhones from 2018 (except Xr model). Memoji are basically personalized Animoji with Tongue Detection and many customizing options, so your chats in Messages and calls via FaceTime app are more personal than ever. As for FaceTime group feature, it was delayed, like in its macOS counterpart and it will be available later as software update.
Siri is much more smarter. You can launch by voice commands often done tasks offered at Settings -> Siri & Search or to create your own shortcuts created in dedicated Shortcuts app. This brand-new Shortcuts app is based on Workflow app, which was acquired by Apple and integrated deeply into iOS with native Siri support. I personally think, that Shortcuts is first real, built-in, app for power users on iOS platform.
If you think that you are using your iPhone or iPad too long or too often, Screen Time is here. You can track your iPhone’s and iPad’s usage and also set a time limit and optionally protect it by passcode, so your little kids won’t spend too many time by playing games or using social networks. Also, robust parental controls in families will almost perfectly track usage of your kid’s iPhone.
Activating Do Not Disturb feature was improved and you can set a bedtime time, which cuts down on nighttime distractions, so you can sleep without interruptions from notifications.
Notifications from same app are now grouped with new Instant Tuning feature right on your lock screen.
Built-in apps were updated too. Apple News got a Browse feature, Stocks app was redesigned, (former) iBooks got new design and new name – Apple Books. Voice Memos was revamped with iCloud support. Stocks and Voice Memos were brought to iPad. Calculator is still not available for iPad.
ARKit reached version 2.0 with new open file format – USDZ. New features include shared experiences to see the same environment on multiple devices and brand-new demo app called Measure, which allows you to measure objects in space directly by your well-calibrated camera sensor in iOS device.
All devices with iOS 11 are capable to power iOS 12. If you are still not sure, here is list of supported devices:
- iPhone Xs
- iPhone Xs Max
- iPhone Xr
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 6 Plus
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 5s
- iPad Pro 2017 (12.9-inch)
- iPad Pro 2017 (10.5-inch)
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch)
- iPad Pro (9.7-inch)
- iPad 6th generation
- iPad 5th generation
- iPad Air 2
- iPad Air
- iPad mini 4th generation
- iPad mini 3rd generation
- iPad mini 2nd generation
- iPod touch 6th generation
With new watchOS 5, you can compete with your friends owning Apple Watch thanks to Activity Competitions feature to earn points, reach fitness goals and to win awards. And your smart watches can warn you when your heart rate drops too low or to call emergency link if you have fallen from highs and stopped moving. Just to say, I like Apple Watches because of health capabilities – both hardware (heart rate sensor, etc.) and software. Unfortunately, nobody around me uses Apple Watch.
watchOS 5 adds support for Siri Shortcuts from iOS 12 via improved an improved Siri watch face that shows a lot of useful infos, more than ever.
On newer Apple Watch models, new feature called “Raise to Speak” allows you to activate Siri without needs of holding down the Digital Crown. Also, there is a dedicated Podcasts app for listening to Podcasts right on your wrist.
Apple added new watch faces, including Breathe face, another motion faces that animate when you raise the wrist (Fire & Water, Vapor and Liquid Metal) and capability to display curated moments from your photo library on the Photos watch face.
Some features from iOS 12 – Grouped notifications, Deliver Quietly, Instant Tuning and Do Not Disturb – were ported to watchOS 5. It makes great continuity with your Apple devices, as it is typical for Apple.
Other new features include new workout types, like Yoga and Hiking, more features for runners and if you dare to get some data from the Internet on little watches, WebKit support is here. Weather app now shows UV index, wind speed and air quality. FaceTime video calls can be answered as a pure audio, without video. Emoji got updated interface for chosing emoji in Mail and Messages apps.
watchOS 5 is not available for first-generation Apple Watches. watchOS 5 can be downloaded for free through the dedicated Apple Watch app on the iPhone by going to General -> Software Update. To install the new software, the Apple Watch needs to have at least 50 percent battery, it needs to be placed on a charger, and it needs to be in range of the iPhone.
tvOS 12 is just minor update, but some significant features were added, like long-waited support for higher-quality Dolby Atmos sound, following adding Dolby Atmos support for some content on Apple’s iTunes store.
Single sign-on is now even smarter. New zero sign-on makes cable authentification process much easier. Apple TV now can detect a user’s broadband network and sign into they receive through an accompanying cable subscription. Zero sign-on will be available for Charter Communications customers this fall and will expand to additional cable providers in the future.
As for screensavers, Aerial screensavers now include location datas. If our planet Earth is too small for you, the new space screensavers are for you. Our Earth from space was recorded in collaboration with ISS – International Space Station.
Other improvements include AutoFill passwords from iPhone, an Apple TV Remote can be found in iPhones’ and iPads’ Control Center and support for some Home control systems like Control4, Crestron and Savant.
tvOS 12 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System -> Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to tvOS 12 automatically.