The first developer beta of iOS 12.1 was released last week, and it brings with it several new changes and features, including one noteworthy feature specifically aimed at iPhone XS users. Watch our video walkthrough for a brief hands-on look.

This initial beta doesn’t contain a lot of changes, but the three changes that have been uncovered are all significant in their own way. First and foremost, Group FaceTime returns, a feature that Apple heavily touted in its iOS 12 pre-release page.

Thanks to a delay, Group FaceTime didn’t launch alongside the initial release of iOS 12, but we’re hopeful that it’ll appear in a dot release before the end of the year. Group FaceTime will allow up to 32 different individuals to share in a single group video conversation.

iOS 12.1 beta 1 changes and features covered:

  • Group FaceTime returns
  • Real time preview of Depth Control in Portrait mode
  • New Color watch faces in Watch app

Video walkthrough

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The second big feature is exclusive to iPhone XS and XS Max users. The new Depth Control feature that allows you to adjust Portrait mode depth of field in post is now available with a real time preview during photo composition. This means that you can now compose photos with just the right amount of blurry background via a handy new slider in the stock Camera app Portrait mode interface.

Finally, there are brand new Color watch faces to be found in the Watch app, which allows users to select from one of 51 different colors. These watch faces, which include Ticks, Circular, and Full Screen Styles are available for the Apple Watch Series 4 and older hardware. Only Apple Watch Series 4 gains access to the complication-free Full Screen color watch faces tailored to the device’s large display. You’ll need to be running watchOS 5.1 developer beta 1 to fully take advantage of the new Full Screen Color watch face.

What are you thoughts on the initial iOS 12.1 developer beta? Sound off in the comments with your opinions.

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About the Author

Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.