The "Screen Time" feature of iOS 12. Screenshot: Apple.com

Apple just released a public beta version of iOS 12, the next version of the iPhone operating system due out this fall.

Why it matters: Apple’s software update provides a strong sense of where the iPhone is going. While you can’t buy a new iPhone until the fall, you can make yours new with a free software update.

Key features:

  • Improved parental controls and the ability for adults to better manage their own screen time
  • new tools for augmented reality
  • group FaceTime video chats with up to 32 people
  • "memoji" that let you create your own avatar that can be used in video messages and FaceTime
  • improved performance

What is and isn't in the beta: Memoji and the Screen Time tools are there, while the shortcuts app is not. Some features, like ARKit 2.0 require developers to build their own apps using the features. So expect those features to show up this fall.

Important caveat: This is beta software, so there are bound to be bugs. Apple advises people not to use this on their main device.

Go deeper: We'll have more on this in upcoming issues of Login, Axios' daily tech newsletter. (You can sign up here.)

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