Group FaceTime

Apple has reportedly updated its “iPhone User Guide” for the upcoming release of iOS 12.1, indicating that the latest version of the mobile operating system (OS) will include Group FaceTime and dual-SIM support for its newly-launched iPhones.

The e-book, which serves as a digital manual for new iPhone users, now lists Group FaceTime as a iOS 12.1 feature. It allows users to conduct FaceTime video conference calls with up to 32 participants.

Group FaceTime was originally scheduled to launch with iOS 12 it was pulled from the update. Users can start Group FaceTime from a group thread in Messages or join an active one at any time. Apple notes that the feature will be available in the stable build during this fall. FaceTime is encrypted end-to-end for both one-to-one and group calls so that conversations can remain private and viewable only by the participants.

“Available for free through Apple Books, the revised “iPhone User Guide for iOS 12.1″ is largely unchanged from a previous version created for iOS 12,” Apple Insider reported on Friday.

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“There are, however, two major additions that confirm upcoming availability of features teased at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2018 in June and Apple’s iPhone unveiling last month,” the report added.

In addition to Group FaceTime, the user guide also notes dual-SIM functionality for iPhone “XR”, “XS” and “XS Max” will go live when the iOS point update sees release.

A tentpole feature of Apple’s latest smartphones, dual-SIM support allows iPhone users to utilise two cellular plans on a single device without constant SIM card swapping.

Apple’s solution relies on “Dual SIM Dual Standby technology”, which keeps both a physical SIM and an embedded eSIM or a second physical SIM card in China addressable simultaneously.

Apple has not specified a release date for iOS 12.1, though beta versions have been in testing since mid-September.

The update could coincide with a media event next week, where the company is expected to unveil new iPad Pro and Mac hardware.

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Apple’s “iPhone User Guide” for iOS 12.1 is a free download from iTunes.

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