While there were a ton of features added in iOS 12, one that Apple had been bragging about since June was nowhere to be seen. Until now. With the iOS 12.1 update, your iPhone gets a huge feature, as well as a few smaller ones to boot.
Before we jump right to what's new in iOS 12.1 for iPhones, if you want to get in on this action right now, you'll want to join the iOS 12 public beta program. By joining, you can try out new features first, before the masses. If you want to wait for the stable release, then you can certainly do so — just make sure you have "Automatic Updates" enabled so you don't forget to install it when it finally hits.
Apple added 146 new emoji in total to iOS 12.1, however, a lot of those are skin variations of people or body parts. So, the total emoji added minus skin tone options comes out to 76, which are all from the Emoji 11.0 list that was released to vendors in June 2018. Actually, one of those 76 is the United Nations flag that was available in Emoji 4.0 in 2016 but not adopted by Apple until now.
Also, Apple has changed the two phone emojis from phones that have Home buttons to ones with Face ID instead of physical Home buttons.
This was the big feature that Apple promised us back in June, and it's finally available to try out. With it, you can have FaceTime audio or video chats with up to 31 additional users for a total of 32 users in one group call. Group FaceTimes can be initiated or answered in Messages or in the FaceTime app itself.
If you're sporting one of the new iPhone XS or XS Max devices, they came with dual SIM support so that you can use two different cellular plans at once, like one for personal use and one for work. However, this was not possible out of the box since they don't have two slots for physical SIM cards. Instead, they have one nanoSIM and one eSIM, the latter of which was not ready for prime time until now.
Even if you don't want to use two cellular plans right now, you may want to convert your current cellular plan from the nanoSIM to the eSIM so that when the times comes when you're traveling or need to pop in another SIM, you'll be able to do so without any hassle. Speak to your carrier for information on transferring your current plan to the eSIM.
One of the hottest features on the iPhone XS and XS Max out of the box is the depth controls when editing a Portrait mode image. Well, in iOS 12.1, you can adjust the depth of Portrait mode photos while you're taking them, not just after the fact.
This is one of those things you'll probably never even notice, but when you open the Flashlight or Camera on the lock screen on an iPhone X or newer model, the accompanying audio sounds more pronounce and clicky. Before, it was a very dull sound, but now it sounds almost metallic.
If you have an Apple Watch, you'll notice a new color under "Face Gallery" in the Watch app, and you can enable the speaker during a phone call using one touch like it was in iOS 11, as long as the Apple Watch is connected.