If you use iOS apps in-house for your business, whether in terms of employee engagement apps or employee productivity tools, the new iOS offers many ways to help the workforce operate faster and more efficiently and with a whole new level of convenience.It is also ideal for employees to use as an alternate workstation when outside of office or while on-the-move, and away from their laptops or desktops – a very common situation with business executives today.
Let’s take a look at some of the key work-friendly features with iOS 12+:
Security and privacy are important considerations with using the mobile device for business or work. iOS 12 pays special attention to these aspects in a number of ways. And since iOS 12 is supported on devices as old as iPhone 5S, a wider spectrum of users can now benefit from this.
iOS 12 has advanced security in terms of inbuilt encryption, and a number of tools that enable you to securely share information with other parties or protect information from unauthorized access. Users have an enhanced way of protecting access to their Apple ID account and classifying devices as ‘trusted’ ones, with a two-factor authentication mechanism put in place to replace the hitherto-used two-step verification process. The automated passwords feature allows users to generate and store stronger and unique passwords in the iCloud Keychain. iOS 12 also brings in advanced Face ID authentication technology.
With regard to protecting one’s information, there are advanced measures now in place on the iOS 12. While sharing of location with first respondents happens automatically for emergency services such as a 911 call, using mobile, networks and carrier information; users otherwise have explicit and granular control over data access permissions to apps. The Safari browser can now stop social media actions such as likes/shares/comments from tracking you, and presents simplified information to websites that track you via other settings, for ad-targeting for example.
iOS 12 also introduces password autofill – that allows the iCloud Keychain and permitted 3rd party password manager apps to assist users in filling in credentials while logging in to a website or app. Additionally, a common method of verifying a user who signs up for an account, is to send out an OTP via SMS. It is now possible for apps to autofill passcodes that are received this way, similar to other mobile device platforms. Such new features are highly user-friendly and can be leveraged by businesses to provide ease of registration to their employees, partners and end customers.
Talking of device performance, iOS 12 is supposed to guarantee one of the best performances, as yet in an iPhone or iPad device. Whether it is quick loading of or switching between apps, navigating tasks, entering information in various ways or the working of the default iOS utility apps, this is a sure boon to maximize time spent working off one’s phone. The sheer convenience that a faster phone brings in, can make a huge difference to the rate at which tasks get completed, mails get answered and deadlines get met.
Grouped Notifications is yet another useful and much-awaited feature on the iOS. This helps users easily make sense of multiple notifications received by the phone by grouping them based on app or topic. This also helps one focus on the notifications that are important to them or need immediate attention. The enhanced Do Not Disturb (DND) feature ensures you have control of choosing when you do not want to receive notifications, while still being allowed to classify certain notifications as ‘critical alerts’ that can be received in spite of DND or other settings.
Siri is now a smarter and ‘more involved’ voice assistant. With integrated machine learning technology, Siri can now speak to your tasks and make suggestions that are relevant and insightful. For example, Siri can use your calendar and location information to alert you when you are running late for an event. Or prompt you to run a routine task at a given time of the day or in the context of a situation. One of the most interesting aspects of Siri’s evolution is that it now lends itself to integration with 3rd party apps. Developers can build apps that respond to custom Siri commands or that can spell out outputs of a task. How cool is that! Further, the integration of Siri with the Shortcuts app is one of the most noteworthy iOS 12 additions. Read on to know more….
For the uninitiated, Shortcuts is a new iOS App (available for free on the App Store, and not installed by default) that is a better, refined version of the Workflow app. Shortcuts helps you to automate personal or professional routines by defining ‘tasks’ or ‘workflows’ which are essentially a series of actions in a desired sequence. The task can then be invoked as required in a number of ways (not to mention the number of ways in which you can create shortcuts to access these Shortcuts Tasks themselves, we’ll get to that in a minute). The Shortcuts app already comes with a long list of pre-built, useful tasks categorized in a helpful manner. But you can also create custom tasks choosing actions from a number of useful options.
Talking of integration of Siri with Shortcuts, as mentioned above, Siri can recommend or make suggestions of tasks to you based on locally-available information of past activity, routine, calendar, location and the time of the day. But here’s the integration feature that has us the most excited – you can also create custom Siri commands that will run the task for you with a simple voice command! Add to that, the ability to configure a task to have Siri read out the text output of it to you and that brings forth the realization that you can now literally carry out end-to-end tasks in a near hands-free manner with little or no intervention whatsoever, and this is an amazing and extremely promising iOS capability, considering how it can boost a person’s productivity. Take a bow, Apple!
For those who don’t prefer to use Siri to invoke tasks, the iOS provides several ways to, like we said, make shortcuts to access Shortcuts! Simply use the 3D touch gesture to look up the Shortcuts widget on the Home screen, or customize the Shortcuts tasks you want to see in the today’s View screen of your device. You could also add a Task or a shortcut directly to the Home screen (akin to an app icon) with its own name and image.
We are not done with Shortcuts yet! There are settings that allow you to run tasks created in Shortcuts within the context of another app. Once the settings are enabled, you would find Shortcuts placed in the tray of options presented in the Share Sheet – this will allow you to invoke (tasks) while working in another app. Not every task would be contextual to each app that you are using, so limiting the kind of content a task can accept would help streamline the options you see here to pick a task. This is possible to do in the task’s settings.
Screen Time is a thoughtful aid provided by the iOS to support users in their endeavors to cut down the time spent on casual browsing, social media surfing or video/games websites – all of which can greatly dampen work-related productivity. Screen Time tells you how much time you spend on apps and websites with insightful reports. It also indicates how often you are interrupted by phone notifications and allows you set custom limits on the time spent with specific apps. Screen Time helps users discipline themselves in the usage of their phones gently nudging them to focus on more important tasks. We all needed this, so this is another winner of a feature with the iOS 12!
iOS 12 also features more detailed insights into phone battery life and usage across apps, times and phone-based activities. Since keeping the mobile device up and running is basic to relying on it for work purposes, this can indeed prove to be a very useful addition to the iOS. Users can understand which of their usage patterns actually drains battery faster, and proceed to modifying the same to optimize battery life.
Group FaceTime with iOS 12 now enables users to host audio and video conferencing, with up to 32 participants at once. A facilitator for effective collaboration across locations and offices, this is a definite plus to have while using iOS devices for work. FaceTime meetings can be directly launched from a group thread on iMessage.
In building enterprise apps on iOS, the enhanced Augmented Reality capabilities introduced by Apple could come in handy. ARKit now facilitates multi-person support, the ability to embed AR objects to Mail and Messages, and a new AR file format called USDZ to help developers create powerful and interactive AR-based custom apps as enterprise productivity tools. There is also a new AR app called Measure with the iOS, that allows users to accurately size up objects and surfaces. The possibilities with Augmented Reality in the world of enterprise apps seems to be mind-boggling given all of these enhancements made to ARKit.
Machine-learning enabled Photos, is another high-utility feature with the new iOS. With intelligent tagging of pictures with places, events, people and objects, it becomes super easy to look up an image or photo based on what you are working on, or the audience you are talking to or discussing work with. This makes the iOS device even more valuable as an office-tool given the frequent requirement to use images to convey ideas in the context of work.