Apple’s latest version of iOS was released Yesterday, and it is considered as one of their biggest updates since iOS 7. The massive collection of new and useful capabilities that Apple’s just-released brings to your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad will be hugely popular with mainstream users. With iOS 8, Apple is appeasing harsh critics who frequently pointed out that Android is capable of things iOS cannot do, and then some more.
The guys over at IDownloadBlog created a comprehensive list of all the new features in iOS 8. We decided to narrow it down a bit for to our 10 best new features of iOS 8:
1. Battery Usage App
iOS 8 makes it easy to detect battery hogs. A new Battery Usage section found under General > Usage > Battery Usage breaks down battery consumption by app. The proportion of battery used by each app in the “Last 24 Hours” or “Last 7 Days” is shown (as a percentage), but only when the device is not charging. This screen lets you easily identify and uninstall misbehaving apps that drain your device’s battery. As third-party keyboards and other App Extensions are now supported, iOS 8 introduces new ways apps might monopolize system resources.
2. Family Sharing
Family Sharing is a great new feature in iOS 8 which lets you share purchased iOS 8 apps and other iTunes media between up to six different devices, without requiring them to use the same Apple ID as Home Sharing. Now you can save money by sharing one bought app with 6 “family” members.
Available under the iCloud section in Settings, Family Sharing requires that you define a ‘master’ device which must have a credit card on file. The feature, which also honors your parental controls, then lets parents (the ‘master’ device) to approve purchases and downloads made on other devices.
Family Sharing can also be used to automatically share photos, calendars and reminders among family members, and even track iOS devices — including those that belong to your family or friends.
3. Health App
Health is much more than a brand new stock app in iOS 8.
Taking advantage of the new HealthKit in iOS 8, Apple’s conceived the Health app as a central repository for all your health and fitness related data. HealthKit-enabled apps and accessories, as well as Apple devices with motion-tracking capabilities such as the Apple Watch and the iPhone 5s/6/Plus can also store/read data from Health database.
For example, you can permit the data from your blood pressure app to be automatically shared with your doctor. Or, a nutrition app could use the Health database to tell your fitness apps how many calories you consume each day.
Using this data, Health can over time provide a comprehensive picture of your well-being via an easy‑to‑read dashboard that can be customized to include and exclude items like heart rates, calories burned, blood sugar, cholesterol and what not.
4. iCloud Drive
Also known as Apple’s DropBox. Your iCloud space can now at last be used to store both personal files and app documents into the cloud. Using built-in iCloud Drive support in Yosemite’s Finder, or the Windows-compatible web interface at iCloud.com, you can upload files to your online storage, rename and delete files and folders, share them with others and more.
The feature also makes it possible to open a document stored in another app’s folder, which is incredibly convenient as apps can finally share files with one another in more logical ways than before.
It’s Apple’s way of making up for hiding the iOS file structure in apps all these years. It removes much of the friction associated with working on a single document in multiple apps while increasing the flexibility of iOS workflows dramatically.
5. Improved iMessage
Like WhatsApp, BlackBerry Messenger, Voxer, Snapchat and other IM and ephemeral messaging software, Messages in iOS 8 now lets you add your voice to the conversation that your recipient can listen to and reply to simply by raising the device to their ear (set Raise To Listen to ON in Settings > Messages). You also see exact timestamps on sent messages.
6. Mail Gestures
Mail in iOS 8 makes extensive use of all-new swipe gestures that can be performed from the inbox list to help you sort through your emails with breeze and fewer taps. For starters, you can swipe to mark as read or flag, or long-swipe to delete a message.
Moreover, Mail in iOS 8 now recognizes a reservation, flight confirmation, or phone number in an email and produces a notification allowing you to, say, add an event to your calendar or a phone number to your contacts.
There are also notifications for replies to email threads to alert you each time someone has replied to a designated email thread, ensuring you’re always on top of things. To start receiving these alerts, swipe to the left on a desired message, choose More and then tap the Notify Me button, as shown on the screenshot below.
You’ll notice a new bell icon in your message list: it denotes email threads with reply notifications turned on. To disable notifications for a particular email thread, swipe to the left again, tap More and then hit the Stop Notifying button.
7. Quick Type
Undoubtedly one of the most loved new features,
Apple’s keyboard in iOS 8 now, much like Android’s predictive text entry, Quick Type speeds up your typing by displaying suggested words as you type. It’s smart enough to figure out who you’re chatting with in apps like Messages and adapts its algorithm to your past conversations and writing style.
This means that QuickType’s suggestions of words or phrases follow the casual style you might use in Messages, the more formal language you probably use in Mail and more.
8. Third party keyboards
If you don’t like Apple’s stock keyboard with optional predictive input, iOS 8 now permits you to use third-party keyboards like Swipe, SwiftKey, TouchPal with sliding text entry,Fleksy, Adaptxt, Minuum’s heigh-changing keyboard or TextExpander’s custom keyboardwith snippet expansion, to name but a few.
These custom keyboards allow for a bunch of different input methods and layouts. Like App Extensions, custom keyboards are not standalone downloads and are deployed as part of the app which must provide some basic functionality.
Once the app is installed, the embedded custom keyboard becomes available to use system-wide. Apple thought about privacy, too: custom keyboards are not allowed to log keystrokes. Furthermore, soft-keyboards that do require network connectivity to sync custom dictionaries are required to first request your permission.
9. Timelapse Videos
iOS 8′s Camera app brings out a cool feature to shoot video over long periods of time and then speeds it up dramatically. This new time-lapse mode lets you create some incredible effects of the sun setting, the bustling of a busy city street and such.
You can access this shooting mode by swiping to it inside the Camera app.
Now hit the Record button and your device will start snapping up photos at predetermined intervals. When you stop recording, iOS 8 groups the individual photos together into an accelerated sequence. All your time-lapse videos are automatically stored inside a dedicated ”Time-lapse” album on the device.
10. Widgets notification screen
Today widgets are third-party App Extensions that appear in the Notification Center and offer quick information at a glance. Apple provides several built-in widgets like Calendar, Reminders and Stocks that can be interacted with. For example, the Reminders widget allows you to mark to-dos as completed, right inside the Notification Center.
Today widgets are bundled with their apps so downloading one with a widget included automatically makes the widget available to add to the Today view.
Just pull down from the screen top to bring up the Notification Center and then tap the Edit button at the bottom. This takes you to the screen with all of the widgets available on your device, allowing you to enable or disable ones you want and change their ordering.
Most developers we’ve spoken to are committed to providing widgets (hello, jailbreakers!), including Philips which is working on an iOS 8 widget for controlling Hue lights.