iOS 12.1 bringing Group FaceTime and more to iPhones, iPads tomorrow

iOS 12.1 will be available Tuesday, Oct. 30, bringing Group FaceTime and more than 70 new emoji to the iPhone and iPad. 

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Group FaceTime will allow you to chat with from 2 to 32 people. Apple says it will offer simple ways to add another person, join an active FaceTime call, or use the same camera effects available in Messages to add stickers, filters or appear to friends and family as an Animoji or Memoji. When an invitation is received, people can choose to join using audio or video from iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Additional features coming to FaceTime in iOS 12.1:

  • Automatic detection of active speakers: FaceTime uses on-device intelligence to display the most prominent speakers on the call, automatically highlighting the current speaker by bringing them to the forefront. It automatically sizes each person’s image depending upon how active they are in the conversation, based on duration of speech, volume and even motion. Participants who aren’t active will appear at the bottom of the screen until they speak. A simple tap also brings a participant front and center. 

  • Ringless notification: When calling more than one person, FaceTime displays a notification that lets you instantly join a call without being disruptive. 

  • Messages integration: Group FaceTime is integrated into the Messages app, making it easy to start a Group FaceTime right from a group iMessage chat. If people in a conversation have already started a FaceTime session, Messages shows the active call in the conversation list and inside your conversations. 

  • Private: All FaceTime conversations, both one-to-one and multi-person, are encrypted end to end so they remain private and viewable only by the participants. 

    More than 70 new emoji come to iPhone and iPad with iOS 12.1, including new characters with red hair, gray hair and curly hair, a new emoji for bald people, more emotive smiley faces and additional emoji representing animals, sports and food. New emoji will also be available on Apple Watch and Mac with a free software update.

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iOS 12.1 also brings Depth Control in real-time preview and Dual SIM support to iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max, and iPhone Xr customers. Apple says that advanced depth segmentation in Portrait mode enables more sophisticated portraits with professional-level bokeh. 

With iOS 12.1, users can dynamically adjust the depth of field in real-time preview in addition to post-capture, enabling more control to create portraits with a beautiful background blur. Portrait mode with Depth Control is also available on the TrueDepth camera for selfies, which includes Memoji and faster face tracking support for third-party ARKit apps.

With iOS 12.1, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR gain Dual SIM support, featuring a nano-SIM and digital eSIM. Users can now activate an additional cellular plan from a carrier without having to use a physical nano-SIM. For more information about setting up Dual SIM, visit support.apple.com/en-us/HT209044.