Whether you’ve already updated your iDevice or you’re looking for a good reason to do so, you’ll find something to get you excited about in iOS 8. Filled with fun and useful features, iOS 8 will make your older iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch feel as if you just got a shiny new one. Except that, unlike the price of a new device, iOS 8 absolutely free!
On Monday evening, I attended a Meetup at the Apple Store in King of Prussia, PA titled [Tech Talk] iOS 8. While the topic was business-related, plenty of features for personal use were covered. I learned lots of helpful tips for using iOS 8 and shared with the group some of my favorite iOS 8 features.
See => Meetup – Get Out There!
iOS 8 is filled with many features but I’m going to focus on the ones that I believe will work best for you. Some people are still finding iOS 8 to be a bit buggy but you may be craving some of these new features worth a bug or two.
Don’t miss => What You Need to Know Before You Update to iOS 8
Use Find My iPhone Even If the Battery Dies
If you’ve ever tried to use Find My iPhone to locate your device, but it didn’t work because your phone’s battery was dead, you’ll like this new iOS feature. Now, your iPhone can send its location to iCloud just before the battery dies.
You must enable this new feature for it to work. Go to:
Settings => iCloud => Find My iPhone => Send Last Location => On
This feature alone may be worth the update to iOS 8!
3rd Party Keyboards
One of the reasons some people held off on buying an iPhone and stuck with Android devices was the inability to use 3rd party keyboards. Well that reason is gone with the wind. You now have a wide choice of keyboards in the iTunes App Store, ranging from the fun, such as PopKey, to the functional, such as SwiftKey.
The staff at the Apple store Monday night recommended I check out ScribbleBoard, a keyboard app that lets you draw and enter your drawing as text.
You may find you don’t need to get a 3rd party keyboard as the Apple keyboard has been dramatically improved. Your iDevice will learn how you type and suggest words, not only based on the first few letters you type, but also based on the last few words you typed as well as the person you’re sending a message to.
For example, when you type “Thank” your iPhone will suggest “You” as the next word. I’ve found Apple’s predictive type to be so helpful I’ve kept it as my default keyboard.
Your iPhone now has a handy widget area called Today that you can fill with information from 3rd party apps. The Today screen existed before but it has become much more useful because you can now add helpful apps such as your favorite apps for weather, news, calendar, traffic and more. Not every app works as a widget, but keep checking because more apps are getting the widget feature with updates.
Swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal your Today widgets. You can even see them from the lock screen before you enter your passcode. I’m using this handy feature every day so stay tuned to The Wonder of Tech for a separate article on how to make Today widgets work best for you!
Now when you get a notification, you don’t have to leave what you’re doing to respond to it. You can act on the notification from within another app without having to close that app. You can even respond to notifications from the lock screen so you don’t have to enter a passcode to unlock your phone.
Improved Sharing Options in Safari
Sharing an article with others is easy in Safari, you just tap the square icon with the up arrow to reveal your list of sharing options. Apple added more sharing options now, including Pinterest, Buffer, LinkedIn, Hootsuite, and Evernote. You can opt in and out of these sharing options and arrange them in the order you want them to appear.
You can now delay when the camera takes a photo by using the timer. Click on the clock at the top of the screen and choose how long you want to delay the shot. Your only choices are 3 and 10 seconds so you better be quick if you want to get in the photo!
Shades of Gray
If you want to go retro, back to the days of black & white, you can get rid of the colors on your screen and go grayscale. Go to:
Settings => General => Accessibility => Grayscale => On
and your screen will look like this:
A friend of mine who’s a police officer showed me this feature that could be a life-saver. Medical ID lets you share emergency information with others from the lock screen without them knowing your passcode. Open the Health Kit app and tap the Medical ID icon in the bottom right corner of your screen. Enter information such as:
- Blood type
- Emergency contacts
- Organ donor
- Medical notes
Someone who finds your phone can then tap Emergency => Medical ID and access your medical information and see when it was last updated.
App Battery Usage
You can now find out which apps are your worst battery hogs. Go to:
General => Usage => Battery Usage
to see how much battery life each app has used in the past 7 and/or 30 days.
Handover Phone Calls
You can place and make calls from your other iDevices and Mac using your iPhone’s cellular connection. If you’re working on your computer when you get a call, you don’t have to find your phone to answer it. Just click Answer on the pop-up screen and talk from your Mac. You can also have your iPad ring when you get a call on your iPhone.
Note that your Mac must be running Yosemite for this feature to work.
Recently Deleted Photos
Have you ever accidentally deleted a photo and wished you hadn’t? Now you can get them back! Your iPhone has a new album called Recently Deleted that will store your deleted photos for 30 days.
If you really, really want to delete a photo, to save space on your phone or to prevent potential embarrassment, go into the Recently Deleted album and delete your photos from there. You’ll get a warning that your action can’t be undone.
Have you ever been typing an email when you needed to check another email message? Instead of saving a draft, you can now just swipe down to move the draft email out of the way so you can read other email messages. Swipe back up when you’re ready to continue typing!
The email app got smarter in iOS 8. It will recognize when you receive an email from someone who isn’t a Contact and offer to save the information. The app will also recognize other information such as a reservation or a flight confirmation and offer to add it to your calendar.
Mute Text Messages
Have you ever gotten a group text message that you didn’t want to be a part of? Previously, all you could do was watch and hope that the conversation would die a quick death. But sometimes the conversation would continue, eating up your monthly allotment of text messages and your phone’s battery life.
With iOS 8 you can leave a group text conversation at any time. Tap on:
Details => Leave this Conversation
to stop getting any more text messages in this text conversation.
Share Your Location
Trying to meet up with someone? You can share your location with someone using the Messages app. Open up the Messages app and start a text message to someone. Tap Details in the upper left corner of the screen. Scroll down to Share Current Location or Share Location to share it with the person/people you’re sending the message to.
Safari Reader View
If you’ve ever arrived at a website to find it unreadable on your phone’s screen, you’ll appreciate Reader View. When the page appears on your screen, look for Reader View Available to flash in the address bar at the top.
Tap on the stacked lines icon to the left of the address bar to switch to Reader View. From there, you can choose large or small font sizes.
Technically, Reader View has been available in mobile Safari for a while, but very few people realized it so this notification will remind us of this handy feature!
Credit Card Scanning
Now when you want to make a purchase using your phone, you can use the camera to scan your credit card instead of typing the information. Shopping using your phone got a whole lot easier, just in time for the holidays!
Fix Your Font Size
Adjust the font size on your iPhone to be just the size you want. Go to:
Settings => Displays & Brightness => Text Size
Move the slider to the font size that works best for you. Text will appear in that size in all compatible apps.
Don’t Miss => Fixing Your Font Size!
Easy Access to Recent Contacts
Double-tap your Home button to see not only your open apps but also your Contacts you’ve called most recently.
Send Voice Messages via Text
Want to leave a voice message for someone without having to wait to hear a message from them first? Open the Messages app, then press and hold the microphone icon on the right.
Auto-delete Videos and Voice Messages You Send via Text Message
If you want to send a video or voice message to a friend, but want that message to self-destruct, you’ll like the new setting in iOS 8. Go to:
Settings => Messages
and scroll to the bottom. You can set the video and/or voice message to expire after 2 minutes or keep it until it’s deleted. This setting works for messages that are sent and received.
Note that the video expiration only works with videos you take by pressing the camera icon, not videos you attach to your text message.
Filter Photos from the Camera App
No longer do you have to open the Photos app to filter a photo. You have many filtering options within the Camera app so you can filter a photo immediately after you take the shot.
Time Lapse Photography
Never miss a sunset again. Use the new Time Lapse feature in the Camera app to take time-lapse videos such as this one:
Now you can ask Siri a question without even touching your phone. Whenever your phone is plugged in you can say, “Hey, Siri” and ask your question. This new feature has to be enabled for it to work. Go to:
Settings => General => Siri => Allow “Hey Siri” => On
“Hey Siri” can be useful when you’re driving and have your phone plugged in to charge. This feature isn’t one of my favorites though as it can go off accidentally when you’re watching TV or saying things like, “Hey, seriously?”
Try it out and if you don’t like it you can always turn it off later.
Siri Can Name That Tune
Siri can now identify songs. When you hear music playing, ask Siri to name that tune and you can find out the title and artist of the song. Siri will even give you the opportunity to buy the song in iTunes!
You can now have up to 6 family members share apps, music, videos and more from their iTunes accounts. All of the iTunes account must use the same credit card.
Here’s a helpful article from PC Magazine to guide you through setting up this feature: How to Set Up Family Sharing in iOS 8
Have an idea for a new feature or want to report a bug? Head to Apple Feedback to share your message with Apple. The Apple folks at the Meetup on Monday suggested this helpful tip!
Have you updated to iOS 8 yet? Which are your favorite features of iOS 8? Which ones will you use the most? What would you like to see in iOS 9? Let us know in the Comments section below!