No matter how you get one of Apple’s iPhone 12 models – whether it’s a gift you unpacked during the holidays, or something you indulged in – your heart is probably all about the possibility of a brand new Apple phone. But before you dive in, you might be wondering what fancy new features are available on the iPhone 12.
Even iPhone users for a long time can find some of the additions and enhancements in the iPhone 12 to contain some surprises. To help you get the most out of your new phone, here are the iPhone 12 features you should check out first, and what you need to do to enable and disable these new features.
2 Features: Manage 5G
One of the most ballyhooed features of the new iPhone 12 line is the support for the footless and fancy-free new mobile networking technology called 5G. You have probably heard that 5G will enable faster speeds and enable higher quality streaming – when it becomes available in your area, that is ..
However, there are some considerations before going 5G full time. First, unless you have a data plan that specifically includes 5G coverage – for example best unlimited data plans, for example – you really can not jump to a 5G network of your choice. Even if you can, the extra speed can also eat through the phone’s battery life. In other cases, you may not have 5G available in the neck of the forest yet and will turn off 5G on iPhone 12 until you do.
Simple enough: Just open Settings on iPhone, go to the Cellular section and tap Voice & Data. There you can choose between three options: 5G On is by default 5G when a compatible network can be found, but eats up the battery faster; 5G Auto enables a Smart Data mode that only uses the faster speeds when it provides a real advantage; and switching back to LTE turns 5G off completely, for lower speeds but better battery life.
iPhone 12 Features: Data Consumption
In addition to choosing 5G usage, you also have control over how the iPhone consumes data. Go to Settings> Mobile> Data mode and you can choose from three options.
Standard default mode allows certain features – such as automatic updates and tasks that apps perform in the background – to continue working on mobile, while downgrading FaceTime and video quality while on the mobile network, to store data.
If you use a 5G connection, you can ask the system to allow more data on 5G, giving you better quality for streaming video and FaceTime calls. (But be sure to check what your data plan allows – most carriers will iron you down to lower speeds once you have passed a certain amount of data allocation.)
And if you’re in a really data-constrained situation (say you’re traveling abroad and paying by megabyte), you can enable Low Data Mode to further reduce data usage on both Wi-Fi and mobile by stopping the automatic updates and background tasks. The power is yours!
iPhone 12 Features: Fine-tuning Face ID
The iPhone 12 may be your first Face ID phone, so if you are new to the biometric authentication system, you may face some challenges. For example, you may not know that certain types of sunglasses can interfere with the infrared cameras used to recognize your face for phone unlocking and confirmation of mobile payments.
It’s a bummer, but if you do not want to throw favorite shades, it’s a work in progress.
Go to Settings> Face ID and password and disable Require face ID attention. This means that the system does not need to be able to detect your eyes to recognize your face. Yes, it makes Face ID marginally less secure, but it will at least save you having to constantly whip off your sunglasses, David Caruso style.
iPhone 12 Features: Enable picture-in-picture video
We’ve all been there: we’re watching a video on an iPhone or iPad and have to skip to another app to write a note, reply to a text or check something in a browser, and interrupt our precious cute cat video.
Fortunately, one of the finest new features to iOS 14 is picture-in-picture video. When you know how to use picture-in-picture video, you can return to the home screen or another app when watching video in a supported app, and the video appears as a pop-up window in the corner of the screen. It continues to play even when you take care of your side task.
In most cases, you will be able to enter the image manually in image mode from a full-screen video, but to make PiP the default, enable Settings, go to the General section and then to Image in Image. From there, you activate Start PiP automatically.
iPhone 12 Features: Turn off FaceTime’s floating windows
We all spend a lot more time on video chats than a year ago, and while Apple’s FaceTime is a useful way to stay in touch with friends, family and even colleagues, it has its drawbacks.
To name one: FaceTime video calls for multiple people automatically try to select the speaker and enlarge the image on the screen, but with many participants (and FaceTime video can support up to 32 people, which can give * quite * a busy call) , which can quickly become dizzying.
The good news is that you can turn that feature off. Just go to Settings> FaceTime and deactivate the switch to talk under the Auto Appearance section. Now everyone will be nice and quiet while you talk to them, which is good for your travel sickness.
Similarly, while in a video call with an iPhone, it is one thing that is often difficult to know where to look. The iPhone 12’s front camera is in one place, the pictures on the screen are in another place, so where do your eyes go?
In one of the foreign features Apple now offers, you can go to Settings> FaceTime and enable the eye contact option. This feature allows iPhone to use machine learning to detect where your eyes are and make it look like you are looking directly at the camera.
Strange? Yes. A champion of the robot apocalypse? May be. But the people you talk to do not know, and it can do little to make video calls feel less clumsy.
iPhone 12 Features: Using Apple ProRAW
Here is a just for iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max owners. Apple’s latest iOS update provides a new format for the Pro model iPhones that will appeal to those who like to have the most control over their photos: Apple ProRAW.
Apple presents Apple ProRAW as a way to have the flexibility to edit image properties such as exposure, color and white balance while maintaining the quality of the RAW format often used on advanced digital cameras.
Remember that this feature is really aimed at those photographers who want to take their pictures after the fact, and that it is definitely not for the space-conscious. ProRAW images use about 10 to 12 times as much storage space as a traditional JPEG. And ProRAW is not available when shooting in portrait mode, with Live Photos or in video.
With all these reservations in mind, you can enable the format in Settings> Camera> Formats, by turning on the switch marked Apple ProRAW. You will then be able to switch ProRAW mode on a shot-by-shot basis in the Camera app by pressing the RAW button.
iPhone 12 Features: Video HDR
When we talk about fancy new image formats, while video can not benefit from Apple’s new ProRAW format, it gets its own boost on the iPhone 12 with the addition of HDR.
High Dynamic Range has been around in photos for a while, but the iPhone 12 series marks the first time this feature is available in videos in the form of the very fancy Dolby Vision HDR standard, which enhances color and contrast.
To enable the feature on your iPhone 12 model, go to Settings> Camera> Record video and make sure HDR video is enabled. Now your videos can compete with professional filmmakers!
iPhone 12 Features: Restore full screen alerts
A recent change to iOS is in the way phone and FaceTime calls appear while using the device. Previously, they took over the entire screen, but now in iOS 14 they are by default banner alerts, just like when you receive a text or email. This means that they do not interfere with what you do, but they can also be easier to miss or reject accidentally.
If you long for the old style, never fear. Just open Settings, go to Phone, tap Incoming calls and select Full screen. (You can also change it in Settings> FaceTime> Incoming calls, but changing it in one place automatically changes it in the other.)
iPhone 12 Features: Enable spatial sound
The perfect accompaniment for fancy video is of course fancy audio. If you have a few Apple’s AirPods Pro or new AirPods Max, you can pair them with iPhone 12 and get the new Spatial Audio feature.
When you look at supported content – I recommend Ted Lasso or The Mandalorian – you can leave your phone and feel the sound coming directly from your device wherever you go. It’s a little hard to explain, but it’s impressive when you see it in use.
To activate spatial sound, you need AirPods paired with iPhone. Then go to Settings> Bluetooth and press the “i” button next to the headphones. Scroll down and tap Spatial Sound – you even have the option to try it right there. After all, as they say, hearing is faith.