Image: APPLE
Image: APPLE

Apple has officially released IOS 12, which is now available for download. Here are five really cool things about the new operating system:

1. It's compatible with a lot of older iPhones

Image: APPLE
Image: APPLE

Apple says the new operating system is compatible with iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 5s. This is a vast improvement on previous IOS upgrades which have made a lot of iPhones instantly out-of-date due to incompatibility.

If you have the iPhone 5 or 4, you'll have to sit this one out - or finally make the decision to upgrade.

Here is the full list of phones that IOS 12 will work on: iPhone X, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone SE and iPhone 5s.

2. It speeds up everyday tasks

Apple claims that the new IOS will boost the speed with which you do a host of everyday things. Apple says "IOS has been enhanced for a faster and more responsive experience all round". The company claims these improvements apply to older models as well as the latest ones.

Among the claims:

- A 70% faster swipe to the camera;

- A 50% faster keyboard display; and 

- Launch an app twice as fast while the phone has a 'heavy workload.

3. FaceTime with more than one person

Image: APPLE
Image: APPLE

Apple says the new IOS will be updated to allow you to hold a FaceTime conversation - where you can see as well as hear the person you are talking to - with more than one person at a time.

If this works as promised, it will enable you to hold a 'face-to-face' business meeting with several people in different locations while seeing them on the screen, something that only high-end boardroom tech has been able to do until now.

In fact, the company says that you can hold a FaceTime conversation with up to 32 people at once. "The tile of the person speaking will get larger automatically, so you'll never lose track of the conversation.

4. New kinds of 'Animoji'

The company says a "new type" of Animoji is available on iPhone X 'to match your personality and mood.

Now you can make as many alter egos as you want in Messages and FaceTime.

And there are four new 'Animoji' including T. Rex, ghost, koala and tiger.


5. Check up on and limit screen time

Image: APPLE
Image: APPLE

Parents will probably roll their eyes and say 'good luck with that', but Apple should get points for trying to raise awareness of how much screen time is being used.

Screen Time gives you data on exactly how much time you are spending staring at your phone and what you are doing with that time. If nothing else, this should be an eye-opener that makes you reconsider your phone habits.