Six new features of Apple's iOS 12 that parents will love

Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple 

Parents, rejoice!

It's not often we have cause to write about iOS updates, but the latest offering from Apple - iOS12 - has a bunch of awesome new features and apps that we think parents are really going to enjoy.  

Here are our six favourite new features to check out once you've hit the download button. 

Keep in mind some older models of iPhone may not some support some of the new features. To download, simply go to the Settings app and under General, click Software Update.

1. Screen Time manager

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Photo: Apple

We're always talking about how to help children manage their screen time, and lately the conversation has also focused on the impact of parents' device time. How to effectively monitor this usage, however, has always been the sticking point.

To make it easier to be good role models with technology, Apple has launched a Screen Time app so you can be acutely aware of your usage, including how many times you pick up your device each day, how long you're spending (or wasting) on particular apps and websites and how many notifications you receive. Plus, you can review your kids' usage in exactly the same way. Screen Time also gives you greater parental control via some helpful new features - we're talking setting App Time limits, scheduling 'Downtimes' and basically shutting down the device whenever you see fit. 

You'll even receive a weekly activity report with a complete breakdown - which is equal parts insightful and terrifying! 

​2. Tape Measure app

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Photo: Essential Kids
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When you run a household, it's amazing how many times you need to measure things. Will that new bed fit in your child's bedroom? How much will it cost to post that toy for your friend's new baby? Well I could go on and on, but let's just say the tape measure is one of our most used household items! Don't even ask me about rulers - they always disappear...

Everyone who has domestic obligations will celebrate the phenomenal new Measure app. In just seconds you can have the dimensions you need to make a decision and don't have to hunt around for a tape measure that your children may or may not have relocated. Brilliant and life changing!

3. Better photo sharing

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Photo: Apple

Photo sharing has become infinitely easier in recent years and the latest update has made it a cinch. In the 'For You' tab in Photos, the app will scan your photos, identify your friends and family, and then suggest you send them the pics. 

Great for family weekends where you'd like to share your snaps with all the attendees. And to keep the grandparents perpetually happy! 

4. Siri Shortcuts

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Photo: Shutterstock

Siri just became a whole lot smarter. You can now link all sorts of tasks to one voice command in Siri - even in third-party non-Apple apps. So, for example, if you tell Siri you're going to be late home, you can set it up to automatically send a text to all of your family members and let them know.

Siri will also identify and suggest shortcuts that will help you manage events you have planned in your calendar. So if you're driving your child to a sports event out of town, Siri will offer to link you up with Apple Maps so you can find your way once you jump in the car.

5. The new Do Not Disturb

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Photo: Apple

We've all turned on Do Not Disturb and then forgotten to turn it off again, frustrating everyone who tries to contact us.

Now you can schedule the DND and it will turn itself off automatically after your event ends or when you depart a location. The lock screen remains blank and won't light up with notifications.

Brilliant for parents getting babies to sleep, wanting distraction-free time with kids, or attending a sports event or parent-teacher night. Also great for teens who need to focus. 

6. Group Facetime

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Photo: Apple

It's not here yet, but will be by the end of the year!

This highly desirable feature wasn't quite ready in time for the launch of iOS12, however those with family all over the place will rejoice in being able to have a full family Facetime call.

Now you can Facetime with your brother in London, your parents in Cairns, and your sister in Perth, all from the comfort of your Sydney home. It will enable a whole new and wonderful way for families and friends to connect. Bring it on.