iOS 8 brings tons of new features, enhancements, and abilities to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. There’s a lot to discover and digest, and you will surely find many new additions as you explore around the major software update, but we’re going to highlight a few of the big things that are particularly worth noting.
1: You Can Add Third Party Keyboards
Apple has brought the ability to add new third party keyboards to iOS 8, which means if you’ve ever been envious of your Android friends with gesture based keyboard input, you can get just that on the iPhone and iPad now.
The two popular keyboard choices of the moment are Swype, which costs $1, and SwiftKey, which is free. They’re both gesture based, meaning you swipe around to complete words for you, it’s one of those things you really need to try yourself to see how it works. There’s also plenty of novelty keyboard additions too.
2: Privacy Gets a Big Boost
“…making it impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police — even when they have a search warrant — taking a hard new line as tech companies attempt to blunt allegations that they have too readily participated in government efforts to collect user information.
This should be appreciated by privacy advocates, but perhaps less appreciated by forgetful individuals, as this makes it impossible for Apple to assist you if you were to somehow forget your passcode – in other words – use a passcode but do not forget it otherwise you may have a serious problem.
3: Notification Center Gains Widgets
Apps now have the ability to add Widgets to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Accessible from Notification Center, widgets can provide rich updates to apps, or add app-specific functionality to the Notifications panel. For example, a sports app widget may provide scores and detailed game information in the Notifications panel, and widgets for the Evernote app allow users to make a document or upload photos to your Evernotes, directly from Notifications, rather than having to launch the app. As more and more apps update to support iOS 8, Widgets will become more prominent. Not to worry if you ever get sick of them or you feel Notifications is getting overly cluttered, you can always disable the widgets too.
4: Text Size Adjustments & Readability Get a Big Boost
Have you ever wished the font size of on screen items in iOS was larger and easier to read? You’re not alone, and Apple has responded to this request and made the text enlargement and text bolding feature of iOS considerably more impactful in iOS 8.
You really need to try this one out yourself by adjusting the Settings to see the difference and to determine which size text is right for your own usage. Be aware, the font sizes carry through to just about everywhere now… except the home screen and app names under the icons anyway.
5: Camera Roll Is Gone… But Your Pictures Aren’t
The Photos app longstanding Camera Roll is gone, but that doesn’t mean your pictures are. Instead, you have an album called “Recently Added” which, as the name implies, is only the most recently added photos. So what about your older pictures? You’ll need to access them from the Photos tab through “Collections”, which is date orientated instead. Camera Roll has been around for a very long time and many users are habituated into using it to access all their photos, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see it return with an iOS 8.1 update, particularly if users are vocal about seeing it again.
6: Some Mac to iOS Features Are OS X Yosemite Dependent
For Mac users who also have an iOS device, some of the most convenient features of iOS 8 depend on OS X Yosemite too, which is yet to be released to the public. This includes cross-platform improvement features like iCloud Drive, which allows for considerably better file management and sharing between iOS and OS X; and Continuity, which allow for seamless transitioning between working on an iOS device and a Mac.
Stay tuned, we’ll be covering many more tips about iOS 8 and specifics about the features!