From four new Animoji, tongue detection, and personalized Memoji to group Facetime, new Siri shortcuts, Screen Time limits, the Measure app, Photos improvements, refreshed News, Stocks, Voice Memos, and Books apps, a Do Not Disturb mode, a faster CPU, and improved performance on older devices, Apple's iOS 12 will bring a wealth of long-needed updates and optimizations to your iPhone and iPad's operating system when it ships.
So if you're chomping at the byte to update to Apple's latest mobile OS, you're not alone. But since it won't officially be available until Fall of 2018, you'll have to wait at least a few months. If you can't, you can always sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program, which enables you to test out public beta versions of new OSes, and let Apple know what you think of them. Who knows? Your feedback may even shape iOS 12.
Enroll in the Apple Beta Software Program
To sign up, sign in with your Apple ID and password. If you don't have an Apple ID, you can create one here. After verifying your account using two-factor authentication, you'll read and accept the Apple Beta Software Program Agreement.
First, you'll want to ensure that your iOS device supports iOS 12. Know that only phones and tablets from 2013 and later can run iOS 12.
Then you'll enroll the iOS device (iPhone 5s and iPad Air and later) that you want to test the public beta on. After enrollment, you'll be notified when a new public beta is released and then can choose to install it from a Software Update. Apple recommends never installing beta software "on production or business-critical systems," but instead on "a secondary system or device." In other words, unless you're a tech blogger or developer, don't test out the iOS 12 beta on your work phone.
Also remember that the iOS 12 public beta is still in development, which means apps and services may not operate as expected and their data may not be "backwards compatible." So before you install it or any beta, for that matter, you should always back up your device to iTunes, then archive or copy your backup. If you ever return to your current iOS version, only an archived or copied iTunes backup will work.
Back up your phone
First, ensure you have the latest version of iTunes. Then, connect your device to your computer via USB cable, and launch the app.
If you have Health and Activity data to save, you'll need to encrypt your backup: Select the box entitled "Encrypt [device] backup" and create an unforgettable password. Note: You can't recover your iTunes backups without this password. Otherwise, create a backup that isn't encrypted by clicking Back Up Now.
Once the backup is finished, head to iTunes > Preferences > Devices on your computer and archive or copy your backup. On Mac, control-click the backup that you just made, then select Archive. On Windows, locate your backup, copy it, and save the copy to another location. You'll need this archived or copied backup if you ever want to return to your current iOS version.
Install iOS 12 beta
Now you can install the iOS 12 beta. From your iOS device, go to beta.apple.com/profile to download the configuration profile. Follow the onscreen prompts for installation.
But keep your iOS beta up to date by updating every time an alert appears on your screen saying that a new iOS update is available. Tap Settings > General > Software Update to install.
In return, Apple asks that you provide feedback via the built-in Feedback Assistant app, which you can launch from your Home screen's second page. Should you experience any issues, send your feedback via Feedback Assistant.
Restore your software
Finally, when the official version of iOS 12 is released in the fall, you'll want to uninstall your iOS 12 beta before installing iOS 12. To do that, you'll have to erase and restore your device and set up your phone again from an archived backup. First, check that you have the latest version of iTunes. Then connect your device to your computer and put it in recovery mode. Click the Restore option when it appears and your device will be wiped before Apple installs the latest non-beta version of iOS. Once the restore is complete, you can set up your device from your archived backup.
- Apple's WWDC 2018 highlights little things adding up, especially in iOS 12 (CNET)
- Apple WWDC 2018: iOS overhaul? Don't hold your breath. (ZDNet)
- Apple iOS 12: Cheat sheet (Tech Republic)
- We tried out Apple Memoji on iOS 12. They're already pretty great (CNET)
- Older iPhones, iPads will perform better on iOS 12, says Apple (ZDNet)
- iOS apps on Mac: What business pros need to know (TechRepublic)
- Apple's Siri: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Apple ResearchKit update helps medical pros annotate PDFs, understand speech, and more (TechRepublic)