1. Emergency Health ID
Powered by Apple’s new HealthKit, Emergency Health ID allows anyone to access basic and potentially life-saving health information from your iPhone’s lock screen. To set it up, open the Health app, tap Medical ID on the bottom right and add as much or as little information as you feel comfortable with. Now when you tap the Emergency button on the bottom left of your lock screen you’ll also find the option to view your medical details and emergency contact numbers.
2. Auto delete messages
If you’ve been using your iPhone for a long time, you’ll have built up quite an archive of text messages. This can take up a lot of unnecessary space (do you really need those texts and pictures from two years ago?). iOS 8 now allows you to automatically delete these old messages after either 30 days or one year, potentially freeing up gigabytes of storage. Tap Settings > Messages and scroll down to Message History before selecting how long you’d like to keep your old messages.
3. Snapchat-Like photos and videos
You can now send instant self-destructing videos, audio clips and pictures to your contacts via iMessage, not unlike Snapchat. To send a picture, go to your message window and tap and hold the camera icon on the left hand side. A small circular window will emerge, allowing you take a quick snap. A word of warning: once the picture or video has been shot, it will send immediately, there is no confirmation or edit screen, so make sure you don’t test this one while sitting on the toilet.
4. Swipe notifications individually
Swiping down at the top of your screen will display your phone’s Notification Centre. In here you’ll be informed of various alerts and app-related information. If you have a lot of apps and receive a lot of messages, this section can get cluttered and messy. In the past you could only clear these notifications all at once or not at all. However, by swiping left, you can now clear each notification individually.
5. Exposure control
It’s no secret that Apple’s iSight camera has always been lacking in terms of advanced features, especially when compared with the likes of Nokia or Samsung. Fortunately, Apple seems to be keen to change this with the introduction of exposure control. When taking a picture, tap where you wish to focus the screen (or tap and hold to lock the focus) and you’ll see a small sun icon appear. Drag it up or down to manually control the exposure levels on the fly.
6. Hide images from Photostream
If you have some unsightly or embarrassing photos in your Photostream that you wish to keep but would rather other people didn’t see, you’re in luck. Locate the offending image, tap, hold and select Hide from the menu that pops up. The image will now be quarantined in an album called Hidden, which you can access by opening your Photos app and selecting Albums in the bottom right corner. To put the image back where you found it, go to the Hidden album, tap and hold your image and select Unhide.
7. Swipe Quick Type away
iOS 8 saw the introduction of Quick Type, which is supposed to intelligently suggest words you’d like to use before you use them for speedy typing. It does however take up a lot of space and some people don’t find it particularly useful. Removing it is a breeze: tap anywhere on the suggest words and swipe downwards. A small grey bar is all that will remain; swipe the bar upwards if you want to bring the suggestions back.
8. Battery hogging apps
If you find that your battery seems to be running out of juice all the time but you don’t know why, this tip could be a godsend. Go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage. You’ll see a breakdown of all the apps you’ve been using and how much battery power they’ve been eating up, which will give you a better idea of what apps you might want to regularly close down or uninstall.
9. Quick reply to messages by swiping down on notification banners
Any time you receive a text or iMessage you can swipe downwards on the notification banner, which will open small message window. Type your reply and hit send. This feature is particularly useful for those who dislike the faff of exiting an app in order to send a reply before re-entering the app they were in prior to receiving a message.
10. Recover recently deleted photos
By default, iOS 8 will now save all your deleted photos in an album called Recently Deleted. They will stay in this album for 30 days before they’re ultimately deleted forever. To find the folder, head to Photos > Albums. You might be surprised how many old photos are in there. If you don’t like the 30-day buffer zone, I’m afraid you cannot currently disable this feature. Your best bet is to open the album, tap Select in the top right corner and then tap Delete All in the bottom right corner.
11. Request desktop/mobile sites
When using your phone to browse a website, a bit of code will often recognise this and send you to the mobile version of the site by default. This is not always preferable, particularly if you have the large iPhone 6 Plus or if the mobile version isn’t very good. Safari now has a new feature that lets you quickly choose between the mobile or desktop version of a website. To use it, tap the address bar and drag just below it to reveal the Mobile or Desktop options. Be warned: if you don’t have any favourites, the Mobile/Desktop options can be hard to see.
12. Mute individual people
If you don’t want to mute your entire phone but there’s someone constantly texting you, you can now mute individual people from your contact list. Open their message window, select details in the top right corner and then swipe the Do Not Disturb button. You will no longer be notified of their messages until you turn Do Not Disturb off.
13. Turn your iPhone grey
You can now remove all the colour from your iOS device, making it entirely greyscale. This is a great option for some visually impaired people, or for those who don’t like colour. To activate this go to Settings > General > Accessibility and swipe Greyscale.
14. Automatically send last location of phone before it dies
If you misplace your iPhone, Find My iPhone will use your device’s GPS to pinpoint its exact location. However, your phone will need some power for this feature to work. A good way to combat the power issue is to tell your phone to broadcast its last location right before the battery dies. Turn this on by going to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone.
15. Format words and insert pictures
A much-needed update for Apple’s pleasantly minimalist note-taking app sees the introduction of some useful formatting options such as the ability to use italics, bold and underline. You can now also import photos. For maximum convenience, be sure the notes app is interacting with iCloud (Settings > iCloud > Notes) so you can access your updates from any other iOS device. You will need a free iCloud email address for this.
16. “Hey Siri” talk to Siri when plugged in
It’s 4am. You’ve just woken from a disturbing dream. Something about the owls not being as they seem. You feel compelled to Google owls, in search of answers. But wait, you’re comfortable in bed, this is no time for typing. Don’t worry, Apple thought of this situation. Settings > General > Siri has an Allow “Hey Siri” option. Enable it and you can control Siri by bellowing “Hey Siri” at your iOS device whenever it is plugged in.
17. Siri Shazam
Siri’s power continues to grow in iOS 8 thanks to its recent marriage with Shazam, a music identification service. Hold down your home button to activate Siri and say “Siri, what song is this?” wait for it to say “Let me listen” then hold your device up to the song that you’re trying to identify. This service is surprisingly accurate.
18. Share your location
If you’ve arranged to meet a friend somewhere, don’t bother trying to explain where you are, show them. iOS 8 comes with the ability to share your exact location. Tap Details in the top right of your message window and select Send My Current Location. The recipient will get a snapshot of your current whereabouts. If you’d like to share your location that updates as you move, select Share My Location instead.
19. Delete specific pages from your history in Safari. Clear various days.
If you’ve been up to no good online but don’t want to clear your entire history, you can now delete specific web pages rather than nuking the lot. In Safari tap the open book icon in the bottom right corner, then select History from your Bookmarks. Now swipe left and select Delete on any of the web pages you would like to remove.
20. Lock screen now has location-based shortcuts
This one’s more of a heads-up. Did you know that your lock screen can now house location- based shortcuts? If you have the Starbucks app and you enter one of their chains, a small Starbucks icon will appear in the bottom left of your screen before you’ve even unlocked your phone. Expect to see these features arriving in other apps soon.
21. Mail swipe options
The Mail app now comes with more swipe options. Swipe to the right and you can Mark as Read. To the left and you can Archive, Flag or tap More for a long list of other options. You can change how this behaves by going to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Swipe Options. Another new Mail feature let’s you swipe a draft to the bottom of the screen, allowing you to multi-task in the app instead of having to delete the draft entirely.
iOS 8 finally allows widgets, a sort of app extension that provides basic functionality within the Notification Centre. To view your widgets, open the Notification Centre by swiping down from the top of your iOS device’s screen. From here you can also remove, add or edit your widgets by scrolling to the bottom of the Notification Centre and tapping on Edit.
23. New editing options for photos
Apple has added a substantial amount of additional photo editing options to iOS 8. Once you have taken your photo, select Edit in the top right hand corner and at the bottom of the screen tap the third icon from the left, which looks like a small control knob. From here you can edit light and colour settings, such as exposure, highlights, shadows, brightness, contrast, black point, saturation, grain and tone – to name just a few.
24. DuckDuckGo search engine option
DuckDuckGo is an internet search engine that attempts to provide a less intrusive and more private search alternative than the likes of Google or Bing. This is achieved – according to the company – by avoiding personalised search results. This search engine is now available in Safari on iOS 8. If you would like to activate it, head to Settings > Safari > Search Engine.
25. Scan credit card option in Safari
Some websites, such as Amazon, which require payment information now allow iOS 8 users to scan their credit or debit card details with their camera phone instead of typing it all out. When the time comes to add your card details, an option will appear at the bottom of the screen asking if you would like to use the scan option. Simply click it and snap a picture.