Apple Seeds Second Beta of iOS 12.1 to Developers With Group FaceTime, eSIM Support, Real-Time Depth Control and New Emoji

Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming iOS 12.1 update to developers, two weeks after seeding the first beta and a little over two weeks after releasing iOS 12, a major new version of the iOS software.

Registered developers can download the new iOS 12.1 beta from Apple's Developer Center or over-the-air once the proper configuration profile has been installed from the Developer Center.


iOS 12.1 introduces several new features that Apple promised would come to the new iPhone XS and XS Max devices. The beta introduces support for the eSIM, which is a digital SIM that lets you activate a cellular plan from a carrier without the need to use a physical SIM card.

Carriers will need to implement support for eSIM, which is likely to happen after iOS 12.1 launches. In the U.S., AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile will support eSIM.


The iOS 12.1 update brings a new real-time Depth Control feature, which lets you adjust the depth of field of your Portrait Mode photos before you capture them. Right now, in iOS 12, Depth Control is only available for post-capture editing.

If you tap on the "F" icon at the top of the screen while capturing a photo you use Depth Control to adjust the amount of background blur in an image.


In addition to these iPhone XS and XS Max features, iOS 12.1 reintroduces the Group FaceTime feature that was removed from iOS 12 during the beta testing period. Group FaceTime was present in many early betas but was ultimately removed because Apple needed more time to test it.

Group FaceTime is designed to let iPhone and Mac users conduct video and audio chats with up to 32 participants at one time, with new camera effects features included.

Apple today announced that new emoji are coming in the iOS 12.1 beta, with options to include red hair, gray hair, curly hair, and no hair, along with smiley faces that include cold face, party face, pleading face, face with hearts, and tons more.

If any additional new features are found in the second iOS 12.1 beta, we'll update this post with details. Apple today also released a second beta version of Xcode 10.1.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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