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iOS 12 on iPad: Here Are the Top 11 Features

If you have a whole house of Apple gadgets, you're probably in the thick of updates season. Because it's not just Macs (macOS Mojave) and iPhones (iOS 12) that got updates — the iPad also gained iOS 12.

From much better options for home-screen notifications to Siri gaining superpowers in Shortcuts, iOS 12 can breathe new life into your iPad, and it even speeds up older models.

Here's everything we love about Apple's new operating system on the iPad:

Improved Notifications

Improved Notifications

If your iPad is anything like mine, you've probably been annoyed with how it constantly chirps for notifications. One of iOS 12's best new features is its improved lock-screen notifications. It not only groups notifications from the same app — so your home screen shows a greater variety of apps — but it also gives you a mighty tool for reducing notifications. If you swipe left on a notification and select Manage, you can easily change an app's notifications to silent (so it doesn't wake your iPad's screen) or remove them altogether.

Screen Time

Screen Time

If you're worried about being addicted to your screens, Apple's got a new tool for you. Screen Time, found in Settings, tracks and displays how much time you spend in apps and allows you to set limits if you find yourself losing too many hours to Fortnite or Twitter. And if your kids have their own iPad, you can set up Screen Time for Family Sharing, so you can monitor and limit their activity as well (though, one mischievous 7-year-old has already found a loophole).

Shortcuts

Shortcuts

Remember when Apple purchased Workflow, the app that pro users adored for how it enabled them to be more productive? It's now known as Shortcuts, and it includes Siri integration, so you can trigger a shortcut by giving Siri a specific command. That's how my colleague Phillip Michaels set a 5.5-minute timer whenever he said, "Hey, Siri, cook waffles." And since this feature is included in the iPad version of iOS 12, you can use the integrated Instapaper shortcut to read those articles you saved for later on its larger screen.

Older iPads Gain Speedier Performance

Older iPads Gain Speedier Performance

Not everyone has the money for an iPad Pro. Maybe you're still rocking the original iPad Air or iPad mini 2. If so, don't worry about iOS 12 slowing down your tablet, as has been the case in years prior. Apple's promising up to 70 percent speed improvements for its swipe-to-Camera gesture, and the virtual keyboard will open up to 50 percent faster.

Password Autofill

Password Autofill

"Use complicated, unique, hard-to-guess passwords," is one of the best pieces of security advice that our sister site Tom's Guide gives. Unfortunately, people don't want to do that, because it makes you spend more time generating and finding and typing them out. But iOS 12 allows you to quickly and easily pull login names and pass codes from a password manager app, and it will even offer to paste in 2-factor-authentication code numbers from your texts. So, when you're signing in to YouTube Premium on the iPad, to watch clips without all the ads, you'll spend a fraction of the time you used to. iOS 12 also supports third-party password managers, such as LastPass and 1Password, so you're not limited to iCloud Keychain.

Virtual Touchpad Gets Better

Virtual Touchpad Gets Better

Did you know that you could turn your iPad's virtual keyboard into a touchpad? While that's always been the case, iOS 12 makes it even easier. Previously, you'd need to press two fingers on the keyboard to enable the touchpad mode, which allows your cursor to flow around your text — which is ideal in text editors like Bear. On iOS 12, though, you can enable this mode with a single finger, which is a lot simpler.

iPhone Gestures

iPhone Gestures

In order to gain full efficiency with a new iOS, however, some changes must be learned. This year, iOS 12 has copied a few features from the iPhone X, including a swipe down from the top-right corner to open the control center, where you've got shortcuts for managing brightness, volume and more. Also, in addition to double-clicking the home button to see all your open apps, you can now swipe up from the bottom. That means you'll need to have a more sensitive touch for opening the dock. I've learned this by thinking of a flick up from the bottom to open the dock and a swipe to view open apps.

Additional Markup Tools

Additional Markup Tools

The iPad's large screen makes it a great device for using the Photos app's new markup tools. Once you open the Markup menu (open an image in Photos, tap Edit, tap the ... button and tap Markup), you can now tap and hold on the drawing instruments (pen, marker, pencil) to change the size of your doodling. Also, see that color-wheel option on the right? It allows you to pick from a much wider range of colors for your doodling.

Even More Privacy

Even More Privacy

Apple's always placed user privacy as a priority, and the iPad will be just as sensitive with your online activity as any other iOS or macOS device. Now, Safari will send you alerts when a site wants to use cookies to track your data, and it's also going to stop the social media buttons — which track you even when you don't touch them — from keeping tabs on your tabs.

Apple Books Update

Apple Books Update

Bookworms who have stayed loyal to Apple Books are getting treated to a redesigned version of Apple's reading app. The new Reading Now section previews the books you're currently paging through, and the book store looks a lot nicer, too. An app-wide change to how books are presented places the covers onto mock books, making it look like you're actually browsing physical copies.

Stocks and Voice Memos

Stocks and Voice Memos

For the longest time, Apple kept its Stocks and Voice Memos apps exclusive to the iPhone. That ends in iOS 12, when each landed on the iPad. Now, Stocks benefits from integration with Apple News; and Voice Memos, gained with macOS Mojave, uses iCloud to sync your recordings between your iPhone and your Mac. Credit: Laptop Mag

Henry is a senior writer at Laptop Mag, covering security, Apple and operating systems. Prior to joining Laptop Mag — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and wondering why Apple decided to ditch its MagSafe power adapters.