Home 6 New iOS 8 Features Worth Anticipating

6 New iOS 8 Features Worth Anticipating

Today, Apple’s new iOS 8 software officially hits people’s iPhones and iPads, and it looks … well, basically the same as iOS 7. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some handy new features under the hood. 

See also: How To Upgrade To iOS 8

Apple calls it “the biggest iOS release ever,” and that’s apropos, since it launches together with the biggest iPhones ever, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. On its website, the company highlights three sections: “What’s new in iOS 8,” “What is iOS,” and “New power for developers.” 

This version of the iPhone software has given developers more tools and more freedom than they’ve ever had before to come up with cool, new iPhone apps and features. These join a few changes the company made to its own software, and, it hopes, the end result will offer several new conveniences for users. 

See also: Hold Up! Here’s Why You Might Want To Postpone That iOS 8 Upgrade

Assuming you’re able to download and install iOS 8—as is typical, Apple’s servers are currently jammed—what you’ll get are several features intended to make using your iPhone better and easier. Such as these:

Apps Will Work Together Better

For years, iOS developers had to keep their apps isolated, unable to communicate with other apps on your handset. To get around that, some synced their services and data to online accounts, which tied to other services over the Internet, and those services synced back to your phone. That’s a lot of runaround, just so apps could talk to each other.

See also: iOS 8 Offers Some New Tricks For Big iPhones

Now Apple offers a new Extensions tool for app makers, and with this, they can share features—like your favorite photo filters now being available to other camera apps, or having the ability to move data between apps, like password managers. LastPass and other apps may actually save and fill out the logins you use in separate apps or Web browsers.

Changes In iPhones, iPads and Macs Show Up Everywhere

This year, Apple took a big step closer to bringing its desktop and mobile software together, thanks to a new under-the-hood function called Handoff. It lets iPhone users who also have Macs running OS X 10.10 Yosemite answer phone calls on their computers, or access documents between those devices.

See also: iOS 8 Warning: Apple’s Dropbox Killer Could Murder Your App Data

Given that Yosemite hasn’t launched yet, you’ll want to save this under “stuff to look forward to.” In the meantime, related features like iCloud Drive might cause some interruptions. So depending on which apps you rely on the most, you might not want to activate this function quite yet. But hold tight. Yosemite may be coming as early as next month.

Handoff will work for a range of Apple apps, including Mail, Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar and Contacts.

Get Your Fingers Ready With New Keyboards

Not satisfied with the built-in iOS virtual keyboard? You’ll love this one: Now you have some options for switching it out.

One of the most anticipated alternate keyboards is Swype, which lets people “swipe” words by dragging their finger from one key to the next instead of laboriously tapping away. Swype will be coming to iPhone users now, as will other keyboards that make commonly used functions available with one tap.

See also: Apple’s iOS 8: What You Need To Know About Its New Features

If you stick with Apple’s stock keyboard, you’ll be glad to know that can also do a new trick: Predictive text—which seems to know the word you were trying to type—gets a boost here. It can also guess what you’re trying to say next, based on what app you’re using, who you’re talking to and what you’ve already entered.

More Smidges Of Widgets Heading To Notifications Center

Last year, Apple put a few limited widgets—those updated bits of extra info—for things like weather and calendar appointments into its Notification Center. Now, more apps will be able to take advantage of that precious real estate.

These aren’t full-blown widgets as Android owners have come to know them, nor are they the “live tiles that grace Windows Phones. But it does put handy, updated information in one place, so users can check that without fully launching apps.

A La Shazam! Siri, Identify That Music!

Siri got a a little bit smarter, at least when it comes to things like music. Thanks to deeper Shazam integration, iPhone users can launch the voice assistant and vocalize a song inquiry. That’s fancy talk for asking your phone to tell you what song is currently playing. Neat.

Family Sharing To Corral Those Kids

Apple seems to know how huge its mobile products are among shared family households. In fact, a quick look at restaurants across the country reveals that iPhones and iPads have become essential parenting tools to keep the kiddies quiet during meal time.

The challenge: You can’t put those rugrats in charge of their own iTunes accounts, lest they overload your credit card with pricey apps or in-app purchases.

iOS 8 now lets up to six users share iTunes and iBook titles, as well as apps, photo albums, family calendars. The Family Sharing feature also gives parents greater control over purchases, so those rugrats—ahem, I mean little darlings—can’t run up huge sums on “Dora the Explorer” apps.

When a child wants to download a new app, song or book, iOS 8 will essentially ping parents with a purchase request they can then permit or refuse.

Of course, iOS 8 comes with a slew of other new tools and features—using Touch ID fingerprint recognition to authenticate your identity for apps or even shopping transactions could be amazing. A lot depends on whether all this, not to mention Apple’s new Apple Pay service, work as well as the company suggests. More on that should come out over the weeks and months ahead.

In the meantime, if you’re game to give iOS 8 a whirl, it’s a free download available to anyone with a recent Apple mobile device—an iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and iPad mini, or later, as well as the fifth-generation iPod touch. It will also come installed on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which land in new customers’ hands as early as Friday. 

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.