Apple released the newest version of its operating system – iOS 8 – a few weeks back. The launch was plagued with server downtime and other problems, which was expected, while iOS 8 itself was riddled with bugs, which was less expected. Of course, Apple was quick to release an update to iOS 8, iOS 8.1, which took care of most of the major problems.
The result is an OS that runs as smooth as silk and has several awesome new features as well. If you haven’t updated to iOS 8 yet, you really should be updating now. In any case, many of the iOS 8.1 most-useful features aren’t readily apparent at first go. Here are a few features you absolutely must check out.
Suggested Reading : How to update your iPhone, iPad and iPod to iOS 8
10 Must Try iOS 8 Tips
1. Subscribe to Email Notifications
Are you expecting an important email from work? With iOS 8, you can now subscribe to emails and get notifications to appear as soon as you receive one.
To do that, navigate to the email thread that you’re interested in and click on the subscribe flag icon at the bottom-left corner of the screen.
2. Reply to a Message While Doing Something Else
You can now reply to messages without having to exit out of an app you’re currently running. If you’re playing a game, for example, and get a message, you don’t have to minimize the app.
All you have to do is swipe down at the top of your screen and a reply box will appear. Type your reply and send it.
3. Record and Send an Audio, Photo or Video File Quickly
If you use the Messages app on your iPhone, you can quickly send an audio, photo or video file to the person (who also owns an iPhone) you’re chatting with.
To send an audio clip, press down on the microphone on the bottom left corner of your screen. It will start recording your message. To send, tap the arrow icon or you can tap the cross icon to delete it.
To send a video or photo, tap on the camera icon on the top right corner of your screen. Then tap on the photo icon to send photos and video icon to send videos.
4. New Camera Features
The camera app packs a punch now with several new features. You can click selfies by setting a 3 or 10 second timer on your Apple device by clicking on the clock icon on the top of your screen.
There is a new time-lapse video shooting mode that will stitch together a time-lapse video if you keep your phone still and pointing at a location for a period of time.
The newer iPads can now take Panorama shots (swipe the right of your screen to get the mode). You can also adjust the background brightness by swiping up and down while the camera is on.
5. Hey Siri
With the new update, Siri goes hands free. You don’t need to touch your phone to activate Siri. There is a catch, though – your phone needs to be plugged in for the feature to work.
To activate hands free Siri, go to the Settings apps, tap General and then tap the Siri sub-menu. Here, toggle on the “Hey Siri” mode.
Now if you want to talk to Siri (and your phone is charging), you can activate Siri by saying “Hey Siri” and asking her a question.
6. Battery Monitoring
If your phone keeps running out of charge faster than it should, your apps may be to blame. In iOS 8, Apple has introduced a nifty new battery monitoring feature that will help you locate apps that drain your battery the fastest.
To open the battery monitoring menu, go to Settings> General>Usage> Battery Usage. Here, you can see battery usage stats over the last 24 hours (or longer too).
7. Access Contacts quickly
iOS 8 has a new multi tasking screen you can bring up by double tapping the home key. At the top of the screen, you will see a row of circular icons.
These are the people you have contacted recently. If you tap on one, you will be given the option to call, message or FaceTime that person.
You also get to control what contacts appear on this screen, so you can always contact the most important people quickly.
8. Quick Type
iOS 8 has new keyboard software called Quick Type (on by default), which will learn your personal style and give you word suggestions based on it whenever you type.
It’s a pretty useful feature, but if you find it annoying, you can hide the words suggestions or turn them off entirely.
Three word suggestions at a time will appear on a gray bar on top of the message window. To hide these word suggestions, you can swipe downwards on them to collapse them.
9. Private Browsing
Everybody knows that Google collects your browsing data and uses it for its own not-so-mysterious purposes.
You can surf more privately if you use a search engine that respects your privacy, like DuckDuckGo. You can now set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine by going to Settings > Safari > DuckDuckGo.
The other three options available are Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
10. Quick Search
Spotlight search also improves immensely in iOS 8. You can now use it to search not just your iPhone or iPad, but also the internet and Apple iTunes store.
You can search for apps, emails, Wikipedia entries, locations… the list is endless.
Apple has introduced a Tips app that contains useful tips on how best to use your device and iOS 8. The app is present by default when you install iOS 8 – look for a yellow light bulb icon amongst your apps. The tips it has aren’t very comprehensive at the moment, though.
Until Apple works on beefing these up, we hope the tips above will prove useful and make your iOS 8 experience much more productive and enjoyable.