12 iOS 8 features you'll want to use

Apple's iOS 8 is upon us, so here is a short collection of some of the new features you'll certainly want to try.

ios 8

12 iOS 8 features you need to know

Apple's iOS 8 is upon us, so the Appleholic's assembled a short collection of some of the new features he thinks you'll certainly want to try (Caution: Does not include Apple Pay -- yet)...

wwdc health

Health machines

If you don't own a Fitbit or other health-related device you can still do a lot with third-party health-related apps on the iOS 8 iPhone. Here are three free (but good) apps you may want to install to test Health on your iPhone.

Moves: A movement-tracking app.

Touchfit: A personal training app that can suggest workouts.

Argus: Movement-tracking and calorie control.

Better keyboards

Keyboard your way

Apple, has made some big improvements to type. QuickType is the smartest Apple keyboard ever -- it even learns to accurately predict words you are likely to use. iOS 8 also supports third-party keyboards for the first time. Here are three to explore:

SwiftKey: This keyboard learns the way you type and adapts to your typing style with intelligent auto correction.

Swype: Swype lets you trace words with gestures on the keyboard. It also includes a smart editor, smart reselect, voice/text dictionary, themes, and more.

Fleksy: The "fastest keyboard in the world," this offers over 600 emoji, themes, autocorrect, gestures and a cloud service.

find my iphne

Where's my **** phone?

A new Find My iPhone setting enables you to set your iPhone to automatically send its last-known location to Apple when the battery drains to a critical level. The information is held for 24-hours, which means that if you do drop your phone and it runs out of power you have a slightly better chance of finding it on your Apple Map.

intelligent message

Notifications get versatile

Notifications are a lot smarter. For example, if you receive a notification you can slide it up to dismiss it or pull it down to reveal any available actions you can take. If you receive an iMessage, you can reply right away. You don’t even need to type your response, as Messages now lets you record and send recorded messages.

songs for singing

What is that, Siri?

Apple supports Shazam song recognition within iOS 8. If you've not used Shazam, you should; it's a great way to recognize songs you hear playing on your travels. Apple has also added Shazam support to Siri, so if you hear some music you want to learn more about, you can just ask, "What song is this?"

notify me use

I wanna keep track

iOS 8 will now monitor Mail messages for you, watching out for responses to an important message. To access this feature, you simply tap the flag icon in the message view screen, and then choose Notify Me. You will then, "Receive notifications when anyone replies to this email thread."


Spotlight -- the future of search?

Spotlight search on iOS 8 is much improved. Access it by swiping down anywhere on your home screen and ask it to tell you about what movies are playing near you, and it will list available theaters, films, times and more. That's because it now integrates support for a range of online search services and location support.

family sharing

All in the family

This new iOS 8 feature means up to six family members can share purchased apps, music and books purchased using the same credit card. Calendars and photo streams are automatically created to share across the family, while you can set the system up so purchases need to be approved by the card holder.


Calls without carriers

Apple's enabling you to make voice calls to real phone numbers using Wi-Fi networks, if the carrier supports it. Not all do, but while this is likely to impact voice revenues as carriers migrate to data services, the positive (for them) is that using Wi-Fi to make calls reduces immediate demand for their data, helping maintain quality-of-service levels.


So many photography enhancements

New editing tools mean you'll be able to adjust images on your iOS 8 device and watch the changes being implemented on another. All images will be uploaded to iCloud Photo Library -- so please use strong protection on your iCloud account. There are lots and lots of new features for photography and video in the new OS, including time-lapse video and a timer for selfies.


Your files -- anywhere

Apple has finally made iCloud useful with the introduction of iCloud Drive. This lets you store all kinds of document types online inside your iCloud account so you can access them from any supporting system or device (including any modern Web browser). Edits are immediately applied across all your devices. In related news, Apple has cut iCloud data prices.

Continuity comes later

Continuity -- you'll need a Mac for that!

Continuity is one of the flagship iOS 8 features. It blurs the distinction between iPhone, iPad and Mac by enabling you to take a call on your Mac, or begin projects to then finish on any of your devices. Those aren’t the only features, and developers are already building new classes of Continuity-supporting enterprise apps. But don't expect to access these new features as soon as you install iOS 8 -- you'll also need to install OS X Yosemite on your Mac, and it does not ship until October. More on Continuity.

get ready

Prepare yourself for tomorrow's iOS 8 upgrade

Before installing iOS upgrade to the latest version of iTunes, and backup your device. Apple offers two ways to backup -- in the cloud using iCloud or on your computer using iTunes.  Use both!!

Backup to iCloud:

  • Visit Settings>iCloud>Storage & Backup
  • Toggle iCloud Backup to green
  • Tap Back Up Now.

To also back up to iTunes:

  • Connect your device
  • Open iTunes
  • Click the Devices button in the upper right

In Backups click Back Up Now under Manually Back Up and Restore.

You're now ready to try to download and install the new OS -- be patient as millions will be doing the same.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.