What’s New with the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max and iOS 12? - dummies

What’s New with the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max and iOS 12?

By Dwight Spivey

Apple’s iPhone gets its features from a combination of hardware and its software operating system (called iOS, which is short for iPhone operating system). The most current version of the operating system is iOS 12. It’s helpful to understand which new features the latest models and iOS 12 bring to the table.

Apple’s latest additions to the iPhone family are the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max (the “X” is the Roman numeral ten). Like their predecessor, the iPhone X, they are highly advanced smartphones that leave competitors in the dust. They also signal that Apple has no plans to include the Home button in future models, which is something seasoned iPhone X users have come to embrace. Here are some of the key features of the latest iPhone X models:

  • An A12 Bionic chip: Each of the three new iPhone X models includes the new A12 Bionic chip. The truly innovative tech in these models demands a processor that can handle some heavy lifting while still being able to answer calls and retrieve email.
  • Dual SIM technology (nano-SIMs and eSIMs): These newest iPhone X models support the use of both nano-SIMs and eSIMS. Every cell phone uses a chip called a SIM that allows it to work with cellular networks. Traditionally, SIMs (which are nano-SIMs in the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max) are small cards installed in your iPhone by you or your cellular provider. The use of SIMs makes switching providers a bit of an ordeal because each SIM is wired for only a specific network. However, eSIMs are chips embedded into your iPhone that will never need to be changed out and are compatible with any provider, allowing you to easily switch cellular providers by scanning a code or using an app from your cellular provider. You’ll want to discuss this option with your cellular provider when your purchase a new iPhone X model. Other benefits of dual SIMS are that you can have more than one number on your iPhone (perhaps one could be personal and the other for work); you’re able to more easily add local plans when you travel; and you can even have separate voice and data plans.
  • Splash, water, and dust resistance: Your new iPhone XR, XS, or XS Max is resistant to damage caused by water splashing onto it or from dust collecting within it.

    You might consider acquiring AppleCare+, which is Apple’s extended warranty, currently priced at $199. AppleCare+ does cover up to two incidents of accidental damage, which could more than cover the cost of repairing your iPhone without it.

Now, you don’t want to take your iPhone XS or XS Max deep-sea diving, but it’s likely to survive submersion in about two meters of water for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone XR is rated at 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. Mind you, these numbers have been tested in labs and aren’t based on real-world conditions. In other words, if your iPhone X model gets wet, it’s much more likely to survive the ordeal than previous iPhone iterations, but it still isn’t something you’d like to see happen to your expensive investment.

  • Glass body and wireless charging: iPhone X models are comprised of an all-glass body (with a tiny sliver of stainless steel around the edges to hold it all together), allowing a beautiful appearance and wireless charging. The glass is also the most durable of that used in any smartphone ever, according to Apple.

    Don’t read that as unbreakable. Cases are still a good — no, make that a great — idea. As a matter of fact, Apple has a line of cases that not only protect your iPhone but also allow for wireless charging.

  • Edge-to-Edge display: iPhone X models sport edge-to-edge displays, meaning there’s nothing else on the front of your iPhone but screen.
  • No Home button: The method you’ve used for a decade now to return to the Home screen is now a thing of the past with iPhone X models. You simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen to provide the same effect as pressing the Home button. This also means that Touch ID as an unlocking method is now relegated to older iPhones.
  • Facial Recognition: Touch ID is replaced on iPhone X models with Face ID. Using Face ID and the front-facing camera, your iPhone X model unlocks when it recognizes your face.

Any iPhone device from the iPhone 5s forward can use most features of iOS 12 if you update the operating system. This update to the operating system adds many features including

  • Performance enhancements: Apple promises that iOS 12 will increase the speed and performance of your iPhone, going all the way back as far as iPhone 5s. From apps to keyboards to taking pictures – everything gets a speed overhaul.
  • Siri improvements: Siri just keeps getting better. Siri can now …
    • Translate between over 40 language pairs
    • Give you more information about food, motorsports, and other activities
    • Help you search for forgotten passwords
    • Learn your daily routines to help make suggestions to you throughout the day
  • Notifications are better: With iOS 12, Notifications are much more easily managed and customized. They’re also grouped together based on notification type, making it simpler to see and deal with a multitude of notifications.
  • Screen Time: Ever wondered how long you were lost browsing through social media apps, or just how much time your grandkids were spending playing games? iOS 12 introduces a fantastic new feature called Screen Time that will help you track those things, and much more! Providing activity reports, shutting down apps after an allotted time, preventing some apps from being launched altogether, and setting downtime boundaries are just some of the awesome benefits Screen Time provides to iPhone users. Apple doesn’t promise that kids and grandkids will be very thrilled with Screen Time, but parents and grandparents most likely will be overjoyed.
  • Upgrades to Photos: The Photos app receives some love in iOS 12, allowing for faster and more accurate searches of your Photos Library, better organization, suggestions for sharing, and easier imports make this a great addition.
  • Several staple apps have been updated: iOS 12 provides performance enhancements and interface upgrades for News, Stocks, and Voice Memos. iBooks also receives a new name, Apple Books, and improvements in reading and discovering your favorite books.

Don’t need or use all the built-in apps? You can remove them from your Home screen. When you remove a built-in app from your Home screen, you aren’t deleting it — you’re hiding it. The is due to complicated security reasons. However, the built-in apps take up very little of your iPhone’s storage space, and they can easily be added back to your Home screen by searching for them in the App Store and tapping the Get button.

These are but a very few of the improvements made to the latest version of iOS. Visit Apple’s iOS 12 page to find out more.