Our Roundup of iOS 8 Best Features, Obvious and Hidden

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Apple iOS 8 is all over the headlines, with the early adopters hopping on the train. If you sport iPhone 4S or newer, iPad 2 and newer, or iPad Mini and Mini 2, you can get over-the-air update available from Settings -> General -> Software Update. Before you proceed, consider the following:

  • iPhone 4S will not support some iOS 8 features like Continuity, Touch ID, AirDrop, Metal Graphics API, not to mention the RAM and battery drain on the three year old hardware that was not designed to entail all the perks its younger and bigger iPhone 6 siblings can;
  • The download is 1.1GB, but requires 5.8GB free space, which gave way to hilarious, and heartbroken, memes;
  • The Camera Roll is no longer in iOS 8;
  • Continuity feature will work with Yosemite OS devices only, or for two devices running iOS 8;
  • iOS 8 does not let you charge your iPhone over-the-air from the microwave emanations – that’s a hoax!


The Bestest iOS Features

NFC-Powered Apple Pay Lets You Scan Credit Cards Using Safari

You will now be able to scan your credit card to process payments from your iPhone’s Safari browser.

Siri Voice Activation, App Launching and Installing

You can now wake Siri by saying ‘Hey, Siri’ provided you enable the feature. You don’t want to have it enabled at all times since it’s a major battery drain, but having it on when you drive is a game changer. Siri can now launch apps and install apps from iTunes, but it currently cannot launch the iTunes. Oh, and Siri can now identify music using Shazam.

Family Share

Kids under 13 can now have their own Apple accounts, and households with multiple devices and accounts can share the same payment options. Apple addresses numerous parents’ concerns that stem from largely unregulated in-app purchases and iTunes purchases their kids have been making thus far. Now, kids with accounts that tap into their parents’ payment option will have to request a purchase, while the parents will have the options to authorize or deny.

If the family members have location sharing on, users will be able to see where everyone in their family is in real time.

Privacy Catches Up

  • Apple changes Privacy Policy, extending encryption from mail app to messages, attachments, contacts, photos and videos. All that sensitive content will be protected by passcode in iOS 8, and inaccessible to the company. Apple publically announced law enforcement with suspects’ seized devices and valid warrants will no longer be able to access the large portion of data protected by the encryption.
  • Tim Cook released an open letter, poking Google directly in the bulge:

“Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers,” he wrote. “We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.”

If Jennifer Lawrence and Kirsten Dunst had to suffer so that all iOS users could enjoy beefed up privacy measures against NSA and hackers alike, they can rest content their unwilling sacrifice was not vain.

  • iOS 8 will impede hackers in physical possession of a stolen phone to brute-force the passcode by using a large iteration count, which slows down the hacking process.
  • iOS 8 has an Always-On VPN feature to protect devices when connecting to Wi-Fi Networks.
  • A randomized MAC address is used when the device is not connected to any Wi-Fi network and the processor is asleep. This effectively prevents device tracking by ‘passive observers of Wi-Fi traffic.’
  • Finally, Mail app in iOS 8 can encrypt and sign emails by default, or selectively with S/MIME.
  • Safari will also let users use a secure DuckDuckGo search engine for enhanced privacy.


Hidden Gems

Wi-Fi Calling

T-Mobile is currently the only operator supporting the Wi-Fi calling feature users can resort to when the wireless carrier’s coverage is poor.

Continuity – Answer Calls From iPad

As of now, iPads and iPhones can enjoy the new feature while Mac devices will join in the party when OS Yosemite rolls out next month. Continuity lets you receive phone calls from your iPad synchronized to your iPhone. Both devices have to have the same Apple ID and be connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

Phone’s Last Location

When enabled, this feature Send Last Location has your iPhone send its location to your account when the battery runs dry. This will make it easier to find a lost phone, but won’t help much if the device gets stolen.

Voice Messages

Instead of typing a text message, you can now send a voice message – a feature some users welcomed with dark sense of humor:


Lock Screen Displays Location-Based Apps

Enter an Apple store, and your iPhone lock screen displays iTunes app you can launch right away. Visit Starbucks for a cup of coffee, and see your lock screen display Starbucks app.

Notifications Widgets, Swipe To Text

The Notification Center has been enhanced with Today view and a slew of new options. Now, users can reply to text messages right from Notifications area without switching from the currently running app while widgets can be customized without switching to Settings. Better yet, users can swipe to dismiss a notification. Widgets will keep rolling out in the upcoming weeks, and most likely, this feature will be the best in the gallery of iOS 8 productivity enhancements list.

See What’s Draining Your Battery

iOS 8 introduces a new option found in the Settings’ usage menu, which displays which apps and games consume the most of the battery juices.

Let Apple Guide You with Apple Tips

iOS 8 might have some users scratching forehead, so for the first time in iOS history Apple introduces a help tool called Tips designed to help users navigate the all-new iOS 8 seamlessly. Apple also launched iOS Tips and Tricks website that offers simple instructions on how to use cool new iOS 8 perks, and will be updated with new manuals on a regular basis.

App Store Will Remember Everything

That can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how you view it. iTunes will remember all your searches – apps, songs, games – not only entered manually in iTunes search bar, but through Siri’s voice input and the ones you enjoyed in iTunes Radio.

Long-Swipe to Delete an E-mail

Besides right-swiping to delete an e-mail, you can customize the left-swipe to stand for Flag/Unflag and Marks as Read/Unread action.

Predictive Typing and Third-Party Keyboards

Even though Apple is proud of this enhancement, users aren’t overly impressed – predictive typing is limited while third-party keyboard apps alarm users requesting full access. Decide it for yourself whether you like the native app, or a slew of colorful third-party keyboards.


Tap Settings General -> Accessibility to enable Grayscale option, which renders your iOS 8 UI well… gray. It looks retro-stylish, and may extend your battery life in times of deficit.

Image: snapguide.com
Image: snapguide.com

Camera Perks

On the one hand, Camera roll is gone, and many users’ image gallery now looks like this:

On the other hand, iOS 8 introduces controls for focus and exposure (even before you take the picture), as well as time-lapse video feature.

Camera app now has a timer for delayed pictures, which sends many third-party apps to oblivion. Another newcomer is the ‘Hide’ option, which lets you hide images and videos from Years, Collections and Moments. They will be visible in the albums view in the ‘Hidden’ album.

Contacts and Favorites

Double-tap to see your most recent contacts and your favorites along the recently used apps and games. Users seem to be taking that one with humor, too:


Group Chats

You can now mute, name, leave or share your location with the participants of group chats. Tap Details button from the conversation to bring up the options.

Better Weather

Now, Apple taps into The Weather Channel directly, instead of Yahoo Weather, so forecasts are more accurate, with up to 9 days expansions, as well as an hourly view for the next 24 hours, spiced with short descriptions of what’s coming.

Notes App

You can note paste images, including GIFs to your notes in the Notes app, if you are using it.


Ta-dam! You can now delete albums, songs and artists in iOS 8, so if you are not an avid fan of U2, try out the new swipe to delete feature. Also, you can add songs to Playlists from other playlists.

Auto-Delete for Messages, Saving Attachments

Have your old messages auto-deleted after 30 days or a year of storing, and free some storage real estate. You can now batch-save attachments within Message threads.

Of course, there are a lot more perks to explore, and we’ll be posting tips and tricks in the upcoming weeks.

Sources: ArsTechnica, 9to5mac, Gizmodo, Macrumors, Forbes, Apple, Twitter.