Apple Releases iOS 12.2; Bringing Apple News to Canada and Four New Animoji

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Apple has today released iOS 12.2 to the public, following its event that saw the launches of new video, news, and gaming services, and a new Apple credit card.

In addition to some new features and enhancements, iOS 12.2 brings one fix for braille users.

When placing a Real-Time Text (RTT) call, the display will automatically refresh to show text typed by the other party. Previous to this release, braille users had to scroll back and forth to get any new text typed by the other party to show up. This now works as expected, and scrolling back and forth between the text area and other parts of the screen to get newly-added text is no longer necessary.

Disappointingly, we do not believe the problem with VoiceOver focus in apps such as Safari and News that many have been experiencing in recent iOS releases has been completely resolved in iOS 12.2. Our own experience has been mixed, so our expectation is that some users will find this behavior to be improved, whilst for others it will be as prevalent as before.

Also of great disappointment is that many of the bugs for braille users still remain unresolved. Some of these bugs, such aslack of braille output support of VoiceOver’s auto-detected text feature and issues with erroneous text insertion after using cursor routing buttons in the Messages app are bugs that have been around since iOS 11; to see these bugs still active near what has historically been the end of the current iOS release life-cycle is incredibly frustrating and disheartening.

In addition to the braille bugs, other issues still remain unresolved for all VoiceOver users. As of iOS 12.2, we have documented seven moderate bugs and four minor bugs which remain to be fixed. It is our sincere hope that blind and low vision users will not have to wait for this fall's iOS release to see fixes for these out-standing bugs, especially as issues such as the focus problems in Safari are a significant degradation of the user experience that - were they to affect non-VoiceOver users - would be fixed in very short order.

There is, however, one new feature for VoiceOver users: a new option called ‘Accessibility Events’ located at Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver > Web. This option is enabled by default, with Apple saying that Accessibility Events:

... allow websites to customize their behaviour for assistive technologies, like VoiceOver. Enabling Accessibility Events may reveal whether an assistive technology is active on your iPhone.

We're currently unaware of any websites which take advantage of this facility, so do please let us know in the comments if you know more about this feature and any websites where it can be seen in action.

At the time of posting, we are unaware of any new regressions for blind or low vision users in iOS 12.2. However, as we always stress, it is impossible for us to test all devices; configurations; and use cases—so there may be improvements or regressions that we did not identify during the beta cycle. With this in mind, please do let us know in the comments of any fixes; enhancements; or regressions that you find in your own use of iOS 12.2.

Some General Changes in iOS 12.2

  • iOS 12.2 expands Apple News to Canada, where news stories will be available to read in English, French, or both.
  • There are four new Animoji included in iOS 12.2 - a boar, a shark, a giraffe, and an owl.
  • In Screen Time, you can now set Downtime options on a day by day basis.
  • HomeKit gains initial support for AirPlay for compatible televisions.
  • AirPlay destinations are now grouped by content type, which makes it faster to find a destination device.
  • Apple has improved the quality of the audio messages sent in the Messages app - it has reportedly switched to using a new Opus codec at 24000 Hz, up from the previously used AMR codec at 8000 Hz.
  • There's a new “Motion & Orientation” option located under Settings > Safari > Privacy >Security, which controls whether websites can display content that relies on motion data from your device's accelerometer and gyroscope. This option is disabled by default.
  • Warnings now appear in Safari when loading unencrypted webpages.
  • The information available at Settings > General > About has been rearranged to be grouped more logically. There is also a new item here which allows you to check the warranty status of your device.
  • There have been some minor tweaks to the Wallet app - when viewing a stored card, the “Info” button has been relocated to the top of the screen, , and there's now a "“Done”" button instead of double tapping “Other Cards” at the bottom of the screen. The number of recent transactions displayed in the Wallet app has also increased.
  • Adds support for new 2nd-generation AirPods.

iOS 12.2 also adds support for Apple's News and Magazines subscription service, which was launched by Apple for US and Canadian users today at its service-focused event.

How to Update to iOS 12.2

iOS 12.2 is available via Over-the-Air Update (Settings > General > Software Update) or via iTunes on a Mac or PC.

Before updating, we strongly recommend making a full and complete backup of your device (either in iTunes or iCloud, depending on personal preference). This will ensure that, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong during the update process, you will have a current backup on hand in case a device restore becomes necessary. Also, if using OTA update, we recommend plugging your device into a power source for the duration of the download/installation process, so as to prevent the unlikely event of your battery going dead during the update.

More information on how to update the software on your iOS device is available on this Apple Support page.

Let us know your thoughts and experiences of this release by posting a comment below.

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Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, March 25, 2019

I am not going to give apple more money by subscribing to their news. If this happen and I can not get free news from the apple news, I will go back to braken or use microsoft news.

Submitted by alex wallis on Monday, March 25, 2019

I won't be forking out for the news either, I prefer my news read by a human, in fact I never use the ordinary news app. and if I do want articles there are lots of free ones online. also, the presentation said that it would make magazines available, now back in the day when apple had news stand before it launched news that offered various magazines which weren't VoiceOver accessible. tv wise I won't be getting there tv service either, the only thing that was of slight interest was the apple card which is us only at the moment, rest of the presentation was boring to say the least.

Submitted by Zachary on Monday, March 25, 2019

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

Just so you know, the free version of Apple News isn't going anywhere. It's totally up to you whether you want to subscribe to the Apple News+ service, but I would recommend giving the free trial a shot to see how you like it. Please do your research before posting comments like this, as it could confuse people later on down the line. It states on Apple's website clearly that the free service will continue to exist.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, March 25, 2019

Why Would I give apple money for free news????? Also Big Bird and apple? What is going to be next? Scooby Doo using an iPhone orderring scooby snacks?

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Apple News+ only gives you access to paid magazines. The articles are longer and of a higher quality than free content, which is how magazine publishers justify their cost.

Submitted by Carter Wu on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

All the services that Apple released today seem to be unusable in China, except for the game subscription, which may have some hope.Maybe you don't know, China has a strong set of Internet censorship mechanisms, so neither apple news+ nor video subscription services are impossible to enter China.As for the credit card, we may use it someday in the future, but it should wait a long time.So I feel very depressed.

Submitted by David Lai on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Hi, don't be depressed, because one improvement you surely would like. Now I am asking all my friends to update to this latest iOS - because of the improved audio quality for iMessages. I have some friends who send me audio messages, and now I can hear them in a much clearer voice than before!!! Apple should have done this all along, but they're finally doing it. It's better than nothing, and for this, it's a night-and-day difference!!! I'm enjoying receiving audio messages greater than ever before!!!

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Well the news app is not working. I open the app and closes after several seconds. I did that several times. I went to app switch, close the app and try it again. No luck. The app is not working. I am able to get notification but can not open the app at this time.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Maybe one day Apple will return to the theory that quality really is better than quantity. They are so busy pushing out new products they forget that they are going to lose consumers if they can't produce quality product.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Still not working. I shut down my iPhone and restarted it without no success. News does not work at this time.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Well my news app is working again. I hope it continue. Wonder what apple is doing with it?? Hope that will continue to work.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Has anyone else noticed? My iPhone XS is snappier since I downloaded iOS 12.2. Noticeably faster response to touch screen commands.

Submitted by Bruce Harrell on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Has anyone else also noticed that voiceover now seems to be in stereo instead of dual mono? I am using Bluetooth connected made for iPhone hearing aids, So the stereo effect may not be on the iPhone external speakers.

Submitted by Ekaj on Tuesday, March 26, 2019

I just updated to iOS 12.2 , and so far so good over here. I did check out the option for viewing one's warranty, and noticed that indeed I will have had my i-device for one year exactly as of Friday. Still in one piece too!

Submitted by alex wallis on Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Hi thanks for the info, I found the option I think under about then legal, but when I tapped on the web address for apples warranty page I was taken to a generic page where I could select iPhone as device then I was shown general information about the warranty, nothing about device specific information, did I go to the wrong place or something?

Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Friday, March 29, 2019

I hadn't heard about that one!! But I guess there's good & bad sides for everything. I see what you're saying about how that can be abused. But, that's 1 setting I have turned on gladly!! That's an aspect of my privacy I'm willing to give up. Because I could see web sites implementing this knew technology. And apps too! I've gone to a few websites like Amaznn that have a link to click on for users of screen readers to go to a screenreader friendly webpage. Well, I can see this being used so that we won't have to click on a link. The site would know right off if we're using screenreaders or not. I'd rather a site know that I'm using a screenreader, than know my location. I was happy when I seen this feature on my settings, and gladly toggled it on.

Submitted by JeffB on Friday, March 29, 2019

I have noticed that ever since updating British female Siri sounds different. It is the same voice but she sounds flatter and speaks a little faster. Whatever they did it doesn't sound as good to me. I think part of it is that she says words at the end of sentences in a lower tone.