Here are the top new features in iOS 8, which will be released to the public on September 17, 2014.
The new Health app in iOS 8 lets you track and monitor your health and fitness all in one single app. You can track things like body fat, calorie intake, fitness activities, and a whole lot more. You can also let 3rd party apps link to this health and fitness data which will take fitness and health apps to whole new level. You can also create a personal Medical ID that has certain info like your allergies for emergencies.
The photos app in iOS 8 got new search features. Search through your photos for certain keywords like where or when the photo was taken. Smart albums are new too with Recently Added and Recently Deleted albums so you can actually recover a photo if you accidentally delete it. The camera has new editing controls with the new rotate dial, decent list of filters, and the ability to adjust the brightness, color, and B&W levels. There’s a new timelapse video mode, and there are manual controls for exposure now.
You can share voice, videos, and photos from within any message conversation (kind of resembles SnapChat). Tap and hold the microphone icon and say your voice message. For photos and videos hold down the camera icon and swipe up to take a photo or swipe right to take a video and it will instantly send it. You can share your current location through texts, view all the attachments sent on that conversation so all photos & videos are in one place instead of having to scroll through all the old messages. You can name group texts, leave group texts, and edit group texts. You can also send multiple photos & videos at once.
The new iOS 8 design has interactive notifications so for example you can reply to a text right from the notification itself without leaving the current app you’re in. When you double-press the home button you have quick access to your favorite and recent contacts at the top so you can quickly call or text them. The mail app has similar features to the Mailbox app. You can swipe left or right on an email for options, such as trash and flag. In Safari you can request the desktop site of a website if you don’t want to see the mobile site. With the new Battery Usage section you can view which apps are using the most battery life. The weather app now uses The Weather Channel instead of Yahoo Weather and shows a 9-day forecast with more details about the weather. You can insert photos in notes, and the Control Center got a slight redesign.
iOS 8 now has predictive text called Quicktype. It learns the way you type and gives you word suggestions. There are also 3rd party keyboards available now so you can swipe to type or get a custom keyboard.
A new feature called Family Sharing lets you share purchases from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store with up to 6 family members without sharing Apple accounts. Parents can approve kids’ purchases and families can share photos, calendars, and locations with each other.
iCloud got upgraded to iCloud Drive which you can use to store and access your documents from your iOS device and any computer with iCloud Drive installed. So you can create a document on your iPhone and continue working on it on your computer.
iOS 8 has a new feature called Continuity, and it benefits people who own a Mac. You can use Airdrop to drag and drop files between your Mac and iOS device. Handoff lets you pick up where you left off. So if you start writing an email on your iPhone you can go to your Mac and finish it. What’s awesome is you can answer or respond to phone calls and text messages from your Mac as long as your iPhone is on the same WiFi network. If you have a tethering plan with your wireless carrier you can turn your iPhone into a WiFi hotspot for your laptop.
Spotlight got upgraded similar to the Spotlight upgrades on Mac OS X Yosemite. It not only searches your iPhone but it can search things like Wikipedia, news, nearby places, movie showtimes, iTunes, iBooks, the App store, and suggested websites. The new spotlight search also works in Safari.
Siri got some updates in iOS 8. Now when your phone is charging you can say “Hey Siri” to activate Siri. It has visual real-time voice recognition, and it can identify song names with Shazam music recognition.
By Andy Slye