It’s official, we are getting a new iOS, and you are going to love the smarter, faster, family-centric and health-focused iOS 8. This version comes with great sharing options: Family Sharing which lets you share purchases made by family members, iCloud Drive, fo easier file syncing between mobile and desktop devices and Handoff… just scroll all the way to the end to find out what it is all about.
Also available in this latest mobile OS version from Apple is Quicktype, a smarter predictive text engine, gestures for navigating through Mail, a more interactive Notification Center and awesome photo-editing features for photography lovers.
While we wait until iOS 8 becomes available this fall, here’s a sneak peek into everything you need to know about iOS 8.
Recommended Reading: WWDC 2014 – 8 Coolest Features From The New Mac OS X Yosemite
1. Faster Access Everywhere
With the new iOS 8, the notification center is now more dynamic. You can do more straight from the notification center without opening apps such as replying SMSes, liking a photo you are tagged in on Facebook, accepting or declining calendar invitations and more.
In Mail, you can now use swipes to mark an email as read, flag it, or delete the email. Drafts can now be swiped down and "stored" temporarily while you work on something. Just retrieve the draft when you want to continue working on it. Mail is also now more intuitive: it recognizes important data such as a phone number, flight confirmation or reservation and prompts you to add the data to a calendar event or your Contacts.
Spotlight on OS X Yosemite has gotten plenty powerful and apparently the iOS 8 version is getting some of the same features. Spotlight searches now pull up suggestions from Wikipedia, news sites, nearby places, movie showtimes and suggested websites. It also works on Safari, iTunes, iBooks and the App Store.
Double tapping the Home button will give you access to your favorite and recent contacts fast. You can then just call, text or FaceTime your contacts straight from the menu, or you can contact them via the new features found on Messages.
2. Messages Gets Pumped Up
Messages on iOS 8 is looking a lot like Whatsapp on steroids. For starters you are getting group messaging functionality so you can add or remove people from conversation threads, and even name these threads for better organization.
Hate typing? Just tap-to-talk or send an video or audio message on Messages. You can receive and send audio messages just by holding up your iPhone to your ear.
You can also share your location for a selected period or indefinitely with your buddies in group chat like Nearby Friends on Facebook, and make some messages self-destruct like on Snapchat. Want to be left alone for a presentation or a meeting? Put the thread on a Do Not Disturb mode for some peace and quiet.
3. Quicktype – A Smarter Way To Text
iOS 8 is getting a new keyboard, equipped with a predictive technology called Quicktype. It doesn’t just predict spellings, it predicts answers in a way that "communicates" your communication style. Basically, it learns how you type to a person (your mom or your colleague) or on an app (on email or on Facbeook) and suggests words based on how you interact with or on those entities (informal or black-tie formal).
For those concerned with privacy, Quicktype will learn all of this solely on the device, meaning that it doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet to do so. What you type on your device stays on your device.
This predictive text engine is available in 14 countries, falling back on common phrases and words used in that particular region.
4. Take Control of Your Health
It is the age of wearable tech and fitness apps and with HealthKit on iOS 8, Apple is taking it a step further and ensuring that your health is completely in your hands. With the new Health app for users and the HealthKit for developers, you can now choose to store your blood group or allergies right on your lock screen, or share or transmit vital information about your health to your family doctor or fitness trainer in real-time.
And with the HealthKit, developers can just integrate their hardware with the Health app rather than new hardware from scratch. Imagine having a your medical health report with you at all times – well now, it is happening.
5. Edit, Sync and Share Photos
Photos will now be integrated with iCloud in its very own iCloud Photo Library. Every photo you take with an iOS device will be available on all other connected devices, edits included. The photos can be accessed and downloaded from any device in full resolution.
Photos also now has smart editing tools – it auto-straightens, gives you ideal crop sizes, and automatically adjusts lighting and color levels with easy controls. Not to worry if you are really into perfecting your photos, there is still the option to manually fine-tune these pre-selected adjustments.
All changes will be synced, and made available for easy search according to location, time period and name.
6. Keep It Within The Family
Now this is a long time coming. You can now use family sharing to share purchases from iTunes, iBooks and the App store that your family members have made with the same credit card. Sharing is allowed to up to 6 family members and best of all any purchase made on any of the connected devices will automatically prompt the credit card owner for permission.
If you are not keen on purchasing and sharing apps, Family Sharing also lets you share family photos, calendars, events, reminders, family friends and even each other’s location info across all connected devices.
7. Continuity, Hands-Off
On top of Photos and Family Sharing, iOS 8 comes with a new iCloud Drive feature which allows us to share pretty much anything (presentations, PDFs, documents, files) between iOS and Mac OS X through cloud technology. Edits are synced and you no longer have to import, copy or transfer files from one device to another.
Better yet, iOS 8 comes with Handoff, a new feature that lets you pick up and continue working on a file as and when you switch devices. This works with Mail, Safari, Maps, Messages, Reminders, Calendar and Contacts.
With this you can start writing an email on your iPhone and finish off on your Mac, or reply SMS or take calls you receive on your iPhone, while on your Mac.