Apple officially released iOS 12 to everyone on Sept. 17, and while the new iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max will come with the software by default, you have a choice on whether or not to update your current iPhone model from iOS 11. There are a lot of tempting features to want to update right away, but there are also some compelling reasons to wait it out and install at a later time.
Over the course of the iOS 12 beta, we counted over 50 serious bugs at first, and Apple eventually solved the majority of those issues. However, when the last beta before the golden master came out, there were still over 20 good reasons to avoid iOS 12 on your iPhone. In both the GM build — the last of the betas — and the first iOS 12 stable release, Apple has cut these amount of bugs and issues down considerably, but there are still reasons to hold off.
If you're the adventurous type, you can dive right in and install iOS 12 on your iPhone right now. But if you're the least bit cautious, check out the points below to see if you should wait it out until a 12.0.1. or 12.1 release.
Throughout the beta period of iOS 12, the new Shortcuts app has been unavailable to all but an approved list of developers. This was still the case with the iOS 12 GM, essentially the same thing as the iOS 12 stable release.
The feature did show up on Monday, Sept. 17, however, it was not a stock app like we'd hoped. A representative told us that Shortcuts would be installed automatically for those who had Workflow installed, replacing it. But for everyone else — you need to download from the App Store.
Why does this matter? Because it's still not fully fleshed out yet. If it were working 100% as Apple intended, it would be preinstalled in iOS, not available as a download a lot of people might not even see. You may want to hold off just for this, waiting until it becomes a stock app, when you know it's working as intended.
While the Shortcuts app is not widely released yet, Siri Shortcuts still exists. You can add shortcuts that Siri suggests for you, based on your activity in iOS 12, or from preset ones in the Settings app. However, this feature has issues as well, as you might not see it work while your iPhone is locked.
Speaking of delayed features, let's talk about Group FaceTime. Apple promised we'd get group video and audio chat with up to 31 other users, complete with effects and a system for keeping all 32 group members available on-screen. However, the company sneakily announced that Group FaceTime will be a part of an update later this fall, but Apple has given no specific date as of yet.
If you're making the jump from iOS 11 for native group chat, you might want to wait until iOS 12.1 when the feature will supposedly drop.
One of the more useful features in Maps — other than turn-by-turn directions, of course — is traffic data. It's handy to see traffic conditions on your route so you can plan accordingly. However, iOS 12 might not display traffic data in Maps in iOS 12, leaving you blind to possible gridlock conditions.
Apple does include a workaround to the issue, should you encounter it; Tap the "i" button to see the Maps settings, then make sure to turn on "Traffic."
If you're rocking an iPhone 5S, iOS 12 is quite the unexpected upgrade, all things considered. However, that iPhone's age is showing, as iOS 12's new Camera Effects in Messages aren't available on the device, nor on iPad. At least, not yet.
Worse news yet, Camera Effects for FaceTime is only currently available on iPhone 7 and later. Those of you with any iPhone older than that, or any model of iPad at all, won't be able to use Camera Effects when video chatting with your friends.
If you're on T-Mobile, you'll want to watch out since Wi-Fi calls might drop when switching from Wi-Fi to Cellular in iOS 12. This only applies to iPhones with T-Mobile, however, so if on any other carrier, this issue won't apply to you.
This one is for previous iOS 12 beta users only; If you set up your Downtime settings prior to iOS 12 dev beta 9 (public beta 7), your start and stop times might change unexpectedly if all of your iOS devices aren't running the latest version of iOS 12. Afterward, reset the start and stop times for Downtime to get things working correctly again.
If you're a parent, you'll know how useful Screen Time is — you can actively monitor your children's iPhone usage and set your own rules for when they can and cannot use certain apps.
Apple's been issuing this warning ever since iOS 12 dev beta 7 (public beta 6); Your kids can potentially sign you out of Screen Time, leaving you out of the loop with their iPhone habits. You'll need to change your Screen Time passcode if you want the upper hand here.
Apple isn't clear as to why or how kids can change the Screen Time passcode. Regardless, it's just another issue facing iOS 12.
The 'Picked Up Phone' stat in Screen Time is awesome for keeping track of how often you, well, pick up your iPhone. However, if you have other devices signed into the same iCloud account, your stats might be all thrown off, as data from all connected devices might merge without your knowledge.
For the time being, you won't be able to rely on these numbers.
Don't download iOS 12 if you want HomeKit to remain bug-free; If you try to invite iOS 11 users who have multiple email addresses associated with their Apple ID to your home via HomeKit, it might not work. However, there is a workaround: Send the invitation to a different email address or phone number associated with the Apple ID of the friend running iOS 11.
While third-party developers have had access to beta versions of iOS 12 since June, that doesn't mean that their apps are totally optimized for the new software yet. There are a lot of apps out there, and many won't be updated to work with iOS 12 for some time, if ever. If you have any apps that have not explicitly confirmed their optimization for iOS 12, you might want to hold out until they do.
The average user won't experience some of iOS 12's most annoying bugs since a chunk of them only apply to iOS developers. Here's the laundry list of problems that devs might want to pay attention to, though these may be non-issues in the stable iOS release or only apply to those actually developing apps.
- While signed into the App Store with a production account and testing with a sandbox account, attempting to fetch a new valid receipt displays a sign-in prompt for the production account with no option for switching to the sandbox account. (42862150) — Workaround: For testing purposes, StoreKit calls such as making a purchase and restoring transactions will fetch a new receipt. Alternatively, sign out of the production account.
- Various CoreGraphics calls have been hardened against continuing with invalid parameters. In iOS 12 GM Seed, these calls may now return NULL or return early. (38344690)
- When a queueTransaction is performed on applicationQueuePlayer to modify the position of a song, the queue returns unchanged. (39401344)
- When using INUIAddVoiceShortcutButton, the "Add to Siri" and "Added to Siri" button text isn't localized. (43251696) — Workaround: To localize "Add to Siri" and "Added to Siri" button text, include localizations for this text in the strings files of your app bundle.
- While multiple ride-sharing apps are installed, Siri might open the app instead of providing an ETA or location when asked. (42324032) — Workaround: Ask Siri for the ETA or location again.
- You might encounter issues with systemLayoutSizeFitting(_:) when using a UICollectionViewCell subclass that requires updateConstraints(). (42138227) — Workaround: Don't call the cell's setNeedsUpdateConstraints() method unless you need to support live constraint changes. If you need to support live constraint changes, call updateConstraintsIfNeeded() before calling systemLayoutSizeFitting(_:).
- When using Messages in the iOS Simulator, a message might not be delivered from User A to User B. (40916530) — Workaround: Send a message from User B to User A.
There's no hiding the fact that, at this time, iOS 12 has its own list of issues, but all software has bugs. There's no OS out there that can guarantee 100% perfection. Whether iOS, Android, macOS, or Windows, all devices will have some problems to contend with.
Sure, iOS 11 has had over a year now to refine its issues, and it shows — iOS 11.4.1 is remarkably stable, especially considering where we started from. However, the best parts of iOS 12 arguably outweigh its bugs. IOS 11 might not mess with your traffic data, but it can't compete with notification grouping, Camera Effects, new and improved Animoji, and Memoji, not to mention the performance hikes for even five-year-old iPhones.
You can wait if you want to. Just know iOS really has never been better.