Apple is known for ending its reveal events by announcing “one more thing,” and today, that thing was actually iOS 12. Though it perhaps isn’t exciting as a surprise device, Tim Cook did confirmed that iOS 12.1 is shipping out to its mobile devices today. Along with it comes a new feature that’s been teased since iOS 12 was first revealed: Group Facetime.
Apple actually confirmed the iOS 12.1 roll out in an announcement it made yesterday, so for many, we can consider Cook’s mention of it on stage as a gentle reminder to install the new OS once it’s available later today. He’d probably love it if you did just that, too, as he seemed to take a fair bit of pride in the fact that iOS 12 is already up and running on 65% of iOS devices.
In any case, group Facetime is likely the iOS 12.1 feature that many iPhone users are looking forward to the most. With it, you’ll be able to host FaceTime calls with up to an astounding 32 people. How you manage that many people in a FaceTime session might be a tough question to answer, but if you’ve got that many willing participants, you can now drop them all into the same call. Other features heading to FaceTime in iOS 12.1 include automatic speaker detection, Messages integration that allows you to begin a FaceTime call from an iMessage chat, and end-to-end encryption for all FaceTime conversations.
On top of Group FaceTime, iOS users call also look forward to the addition of 70 new emoji – many of which have been detailed throughout the summer. We’ll also see dual SIM support go live for the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR in iOS 12.1, but unfortunately, that likely isn’t something many of us here in the United States will be able to take advantage of.
Though Apple didn’t give an exact time frame for the roll out of iOS 12.1, it should be going live at some point in the next few hours. You can, of course, wait for the OTA notification to pop up on your phone and prompt you to install iOS 12.1, but you can also check its availability manually by heading into your Settings, selecting “General,” and then tapping “Software Update.”