What to Expect from iOS 8 â€“ A List of the Most Important and Impressive Features Revealed Thus Far
With the iPhone 6 expected to drop at some point in mid September, we're only about a month away from seeing the unveiling of not only the new iPhone but also the full potential of Apple's latest mobile operating system – iOS 8, which has been codenamed Okemo.
Of course, a device is only as good as its native OS, so to give iPhone enthusiasts the opportunity to see what they should expect from the features and functionality of the much-anticipated iPhone 6, we've put together a comprehensive roundup of the most notable features and improvements coming in iOS 8:
General Features and Enhancements
- Quickly scan credit card numbers – Online shoppers will be pleased to learn that iOS 8 is introducing a new feature in Safari that lets you take a picture of your credit/debit card to scan it and automatically import the card numbers and information into the appropriate text fields. This saves you the time and hassle of having to enter in the data manually.
- WiFi Phone Calls – iOS 8 has a built-in WiFi calling feature that lets you make phone calls over your device's WiFi connection. A few of the top carriers have already announced their support for the new feature, including T-mobile. Although calls could previously be made over WiFi through a third-party app, having this ability as a standard feature is much more convenient.
- Save last seen location before battery dies – Anyone who has ever lost an iPhone knows just how frustrating it can be to try to find a lost phone when the battery has already died; there is no way to call it or use its built-in GPS features at that point. Well, Apple has fixed this problem by enabling a feature that logs that last seen location of your phone right before the battery dies. So you'll still be able to track down your lost iPhone even if the battery is completely drained.
- Assess Battery Usage By App – A new settings menu lets you see what percentage of the power being drawn from your battery is going to each app. You can sort the battery usage stats to show data from the last 24 hours or 7 days.
- Built-in Tips App – If you already have a device with iOS 8 installed on it you can skip the rest of this overview and pull up the new Tips app that introduces you to all the new features.
- Real-Time Talk-to-Type – Words now appear on the screen as you speak them when using Talk-to-Type mode, so you don't have to wait until you're done speaking an entire line for the software to process the words you've spoken.
- Enhanced Continuity with OS X Yosemite – iOS 8 brings a host of new features that make it easier to sync activities between your Mac computer and iPhone.
Improvements to the Siri Voice Activated AI Assistant
- Easier Siri Activation – Simply speaking the words “Hey Siri” into your device while it is plugged in will initiate Siri.
- Immediate Vocal Feedback – In previous versions of Siri you would have to wait until you finished speaking to see the words that Siri interpreted. In iOS 8 Siri will display the words that she heard as they are being spoken, so this saves you wasted time waiting on misheard voice commands.
- Voice Activated App Download – Users can now ask Siri to download specific apps from the App Store. This is a significant improvement over iOS 7, in which Siri could not even access the App Store.
New Camera Features
- Panorama Mode Comes to iPad – Panorama mode, which was previously only available on the iPhone, has now been added to the Camera app on the iPad.
- Timer Mode – a basic self-timer has been added, letting you set a capture delay of 3 or 10 seconds.
- Exposure Swiping – In previous versions of iOS the focus and exposure could not be individually adjusted. Now users can touch the focus box and swipe up and down to adjust the exposure of a shot before taking it.
- Time-Lapse Creator – Users can now compile series of images into time lapse videos with the Time-Lapse camera mode. As a side note, Instagram just launched its own time-lapse creation app for the iPhone called Hyperlapse.
Photo Storage and Editing
- New Organizational Folders – the Photos app in iOS 8 has a couple new organizational folders, including a 'Recently Deleted' folder, which can be useful in the event that you accidentally deleted a photo and need to get it back quickly. A 'Recently Added' folder has also been added, making it easy to access newly archived photos.
- Last Updated Status – The Photos app now shows when a file was last uploaded to iCloud, which helps you ensure that all of your important pictures are backed up.
- Store Full Resolution Photos in iCloud – a new option in the iCloud Photo Settings lets you set iOS 8 to automatically store full-resolution version of your photos in iCloud, while keeping device-optimized lower-resolution versions stored on your device.
- New Black-and-White Photo Adjustments – iOS Beta 3 introduced several new black and white photo adjustment options, giving users the ability to utilize a selection of black and white preset filters while also letting them create their own by adjusting Neutrals, Intensity, Grain, and Tone for a fully customized appearance.
- Photo Location Displayed – The photo bar in the Photos app now lists the location where the picture was taken.
- Hidden Photo Album – You can now long-press on a photo and select 'Hide' from the options menu – this will place the picture in the new 'Hidden' album and keep it from being visible in the Collections, Moments, and Years albums.
Music Library Management
- Shazam song identification integration – Users of the Shazam song identification app will be happy to learn that Apple has directly integrated this app's abilities into iOS 8.
- Delete Albums Option – in iOS 7 you could not delete an Album. That has been fixed as you can now swipe the album to the left to remove it from the Music app. The swipe left to delete option also works for individual songs and artists.
- Add Songs from Playlists to Different Playlists – In iOS 7 you could only add songs to playlists from the Genre, Songs, Albums, Artists, and Composers tabs. Now you can add a song from one Playlist into another Playlist.
- Set Messages to Be Deleted After Defined Time Period – You can now set stored messages to be deleted after a period of 30 days or one year, thereby freeing up some of the space used by excessively long iMessage threads.
- Option to Save Received Audio and Video Messages – While quick audio and video messages are deleted to conserve storage space, there is a new 'automatically keep' option that lets you store this media for safe keeping.
- Quickly Add Recent Photos to Messages – when you go to attach an image to a message you'll see a list of your most recent pictures, making it easy to add recently taken photos to your messages.
- Mark All Messages Read – A new option lets you mark all messages as read simultaneously.
- Save All Attachments from Specific Contact – Accessing the details menu for a specific contact within the Messages app will display all attachments that have been received from that contact across all of your conversations. You can then long-press on an attachment to select several simultaneously, at which point you can save the selected attachments to your media library or delete them.
Appearance and Accessibility
- Universal Grayscale – There's a new grayscale mode that turns the entire operating system black and white.
- New Zoom Options – Several new features have been added to the Zoom settings menu, including Detach Zoom Controls, Follow Focus, and Leave Keybaord Unzoomed.
- New Lens Modes and Effects – You can also switch the lends mode from windowed to full screen and apply three different filters to the zoom lens – grayscale, grayscale inverted, and inverted.
- Speak Contents on Screen – enabling the Speak Screen option in the Accessibility menu will prompt the device to read back the words on your screen.
- Third-Party Keyboards – Apple is finally giving iOS users the ability to download and install third-party keyboard applications like TouchPal.
Security and Privacy
- MAC Randomizer for Improved Privacy – iOS8 will automatically randomize your device's MAC address when logging into a WiFi network. This improves privacy for iPhone users by protecting them from data collection and location tracking through Wi-Fi scanning.
- Touch ID Fingerprint Sensor – Touch ID is back from the iPhone 5 and this time it is even faster and more accurate. This feature lets you log into your device and accounts using nothing more than your scanned fingerprint. One major improvement to Touch ID in iOS 8 is the ability to use your fingerprint to log into third-arty apps and services.
Developer Tools and APIs
- App Extensions – iOS 8 will be the most customizable and flexible mobile operating system from Apple yet, with a slew of new development tools built-in. Apple revealed a number of new capabilities at this year's World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC), but the addition that stands out the most is the new 'Extensions' feature, which lets developers extend the functionality of apps into other apps.
- Password Sharing from Safari – Other apps will now be able to access the stored password information in Safari to allow for one-tap logins. For example, if you've logged into your Gmail account in Safari and you saved the password, the Gmail app will give you the option to use these saved passwords to quickly log in.
- Venue Mapping – in iOS 8 the motion sensor and M7 processor can communicate with the CoreLocation API, which means developers can now create indoor maps of buildings like malls, airports, museums, and stadiums, complete with terminal/store numbers and other location-based components. So when you're walking through the mall you'll soon be able to use your iPhone to get directions to the store of your choice.
- HomeKit – iOS 8 gets a new framework that allows apps to communicate with and control compatible accessories and components within the user's home (i.e. - turning off the lights, changing the temperature on the thermostat, changing the channel on the TV, etc.)
- HealthKit – lets developers connect apps with other health-monitoring devices and services to collect and integrate data. This allows for the creation of apps that track heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, and even lung capacity.
- PhotoKit – lets apps communicate with and integrate photos and videos from the device's media library, making it possible to edit and manage your media folders and their contents directly within an app interface.
While we did our best to mention all of the interesting features that iOS 8 is bringing to the table, keep in mind that mentioning every last feature goes beyond the scope of this overview. With that said, if you follow the links on this page you'll find out everything you're trying to learn about iOS 8.