News: 4 New iOS 12.1.1 Features for iPhone You Don't Want to Miss

4 New iOS 12.1.1 Features for iPhone You Don't Want to Miss

The last update to iOS 12 featured more emoji, Group FaceTime, eSIM functionality, real-time depth control for new iPhones, and a few other interesting tidbits and fixes. Now, in the latest for iPhones, iOS 12.1.1, Apple brought back a few things that were removed or made more difficult to access in previous updates, and it even has a few new features to offer, albeit small ones.

Apple took iOS 12.1.1 out of beta on Dec. 5, 2018, so everyone can get there hands on it right now via the "Software Update" settings. If you want to get new features before anyone else, you can also join the beta either as a developer or public beta tester, and wait for the next beta release.

1. FaceTime Live Photos Are Back

Apple removed the Live Photo option in FaceTime when iOS 12 came out — an odd move since the feature was just added in iOS 11. It was likely just forgotten about while Apple pushed to get Group FaceTime in working order. Thankfully, Apple has brought back the Live Photo shutter button in FaceTime, and it works exactly as it did before.

The only thing you have to keep in mind is that you and whoever else you're on a FaceTime video chat with needs to be running either an iOS 11 version or iOS 12.1.1, not iOS 12.1 or 12.1, with "FaceTime Live Photos" turned on in the settings. Also, it does not work in Group FaceTime chats, so it's only for one-on-one video calls.

2. Flip Camera & Mute Is Easy Again in FaceTime

Another odd thing in the iOS 12 and iOS 12.1 version of FaceTime is the on-screen menu during a call. In iOS 11, your thumbnail image was how you flipped the camera view, and there was only a Live Photo shutter, end call button, and mute microphone button on the screen. That's it.

With iOS 12, Apple added camera effects to FaceTime as well as group chats, so a new hidden menu was created to house it all. Unfortunately, the flip camera and mute buttons ended up there, and the only thing on the call screen was a camera effects button, end call button, and ellipsis (•••) for the hidden menu, as well as your thumbnail which did not flip the camera anymore.

Now, in iOS 12.1.1, the visible buttons right away now include the camera effects and end call as well as a mute, flip, and Live Photo buttons. Instead of the ellipsis, you swipe up the menu to see more options. Now if Apple could make the buttons rotate when in landscape orientation, we'd be good.

Hidden mute and flip camera buttons in iOS 12.1 (left) vs. unhidden in iOS 12.1.1 (right).

3. The iPhone XR Has Another Haptic Touch Trick

Haptic Touch is pretty much a half-baked version of 3D Touch on the iPhone XR, which simulates the actions of a 3D Touch screen using haptics without having a pressure-sensitive display. Problem is, it only mimics the flashlight and camera icons on the lock screen, the keyboard trackpad, the "Clear All Notifications" option, and Live Photos.

However, in iOS 12.1.1, Haptic Touch also comes to notifications so you can view them right away and interact with them. Now if Apple could also add support for Quick Actions, Peek, Pop, live wallpapers, and everything else 3D Touch can still do that Haptic Touch can't.

Haptic Touch on an alert in iOS 12.1.1 (left) vs. the swipe method on iOS 12.1 (right).

4. Sprint Users Finally Get VoLTE

While all of its big competitors have had voice over LTE capabilities for years, Sprint is finally on board now too. However, VoLTE seems fairly limited right now, for select markets only instead of nationwide, while they work out all the kinks. It was first enabled on some Samsung Galaxy devices, but with the iOS 12.1.1 update and a Sprint 34.5.5 carrier update, the iPhone 8 and up will get it too.

Other Improvements Worth Highlighting

Apple's release notes also state the following new iPhone features:

  • Dual SIM with eSIM for additional carriers on iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone XS Max
  • Stability improvements for dictation along with VoiceOver

As for bugs and other issues that were fixed or addressed:

  • Fixes an issue where Face ID may temporarily become unavailable
  • Addresses an issue that prevented visual voicemail from downloading for some customers
  • Fixes an issue in Messages that could prevent predictive text suggestions when typing on the Chinese or Japanese keyboards
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent Voice Memos recordings from uploading to iCloud
  • Fixes an issue where time zones may not have updated automatically

As for security, there's only one major change, listed below. However, there were many patches to security issues that Apple mentions on its website, including patches for Airport, Disk Images, FaceTime, File Provider, Kernel, LinkPresentation, Profiles, Safari, and WebKit.

  • iOS 12.1.1 requires that publicly-trusted Transport Layer Security (TLS) server authentication certificates issued after October 15, 2018, meet the Certificate Transparency policy to be evaluated as trusted on Apple platforms. (41175212)

There are a few other iOS 12.1.1 features that have come up, some only for iPads and another only for iPhone users with an Apple Watch. These are indicated in the release notes or have been verified by a substantial amount of users.

  • There's an updated Apple Watch app icon that resembles the Series 4 watches.
  • Adds ECG support for Apple Watch Series 4 models.
  • Some third-party apps no longer have black bars on each side on the 11-inch iPad model.
  • You can hide the "Channels" sidebar when in landscape mode in the Apple News app on iPads.
  • The iPad and iPod touch get real-time text (RTT) abilities when using Wi-Fi calling.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover photo, screenshots, and GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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