15 great tricks to master Apple’s iOS 8 (Wired UK)

Courtesy Apple

So, you just downloaded iOS 8. Looks pretty familiar,
right? Certainly, last year’s switch from iOS 6 to iOS 7 — which
saw Apple ditch the iPhone’s tired,
six-year-old interface and move to something more spare and clean
— was a far bigger leap visually than this update to iOS 8.

In fact, most of the apps in iOS 8 look almost identical to what
you were using just days ago. And a few of them appear entirely
unchanged. But there are new functions, new tricks, and time-savers
hidden in these new iOS 8 versions of your favourite apps. Some of
them you’ll see right away. But the rest… well, let us show

You can now “peek behind” your conversations. Tap
“Details” at the top of any SMS or MMS thread to gain quick access
to not only the contact info for the person you’re talking to, but
also the photos and videos you’ve been sending each other. Keep
scrolling — Messages archives all the images you’ve been sharing,
even pics that were sent months ago. If your chat partner has
location sharing enabled, you can see where they’re sending their
chats from. You can also mute any conversation. And all of these
new messaging features work in group conversations, as well. The
mute switch is especially helpful when you’re in a group chat and
one of your friends won’t, you know, just zip it. Maybe even more
handy: you can remove yourself from any chat. On that Details
screen, just tap “Leave this conversation” to bow out.

Whether you’re using a brand-new iPhone 6 and its
much-improved camera, or you’re on a freshly updated 5, 5c or 5s,
there are some new features in the default iOS 8 camera app. First
you might notice that you now have a Timelapse video feature. To
use it, put your thumb anywhere on the screen and keep swiping your
thumb to the right. Watch the horizontal slider at the bottom. Just
after the Slo-Mo setting, you’ll see Timelapse. Go point it at some
clouds, or at a busy intersection at rush hour. Another welcome
addition: you can also now adjust the brightness of any photo
before you click the shutter. When you’re setting up your shot,
look for the vertical exposure slider next to the focus box. Slide
it up and down to make the picture brighter or darker. You can
still edit your pictures after the fact, but now you have a better
chance of getting the photo you want right away, without having to
brighten it later.

Apple’s new update irons out some of the iOS web
browser’s most frustrating quirks. First is a new quick-search
feature: Just type the name of a website and a search term,
separated by a space. For example, typing “craigslist chainsaw”
will prompt Safari to ask if you’d just like to search
Craigslist.org for a chainsaw. In older versions of iOS, typing
this into the address bar would prompt a Google search for those
individual words, and then you’d have to tap on the Google result
you wanted. So this new trick saves you a couple of taps. You have
to enable this Quick Website Search feature in Safari’s settings,
and it only works on sites that you’ve previously run searches on
— Safari wants to be sure it’s only offering the option on sites
you browse often. But it’s a boon for usability. Another new option
in iOS 8′s Safari is the ability to request a full, desktop version
of a site instead of the mobile version. This
a common
headache on the mobile web
. To request the desktop site,
just tap Safari’s address bar while browsing a mobile site, and
you’ll see the desktop option appear.

In the default iOS 8 Mail client, you’ll notice
that when you swipe a message to the left, you get additional
options. In iOS 7, there was just “More” and “Archive.” But now you
get options for “More,” “Flag” for follow-up, and “Trash.” Cool!
But try this. Swipe to the right, and you’ll see an additional
fourth option: “Mark as Unread.”

You used to have to hold down the Home button to
invoke Apple’s digital concierge. Now, just speak her name. Try it:
“Hey, Siri.” She’ll spring to life and the microphone will be ready
to capture your request. This isn’t always on by default — it’s a
drain on the device’s battery to be constantly listening for the
magic words, so you can only summon Siri with your voice when the
device is charging. To enable this feature, look in Siri’s
settings. This will be a big help in the car. If you want to call
up directions to the nearest cheeseburger on your drive home, you
can do it entirely without ever taking your hands off the

Battery Management
Want to see which apps are sucking up the most
juice? Go into Settings > General > Usage. You’ll see a list
of all your apps, ranked in descending order, with the biggest
battery hogs at the top. The default view shows the worst offenders
over the last 24 hours. Move the slider at the top to see your
usage over the last week. Android has had
this feature since the Bronze Age, so it’s nice to see iOS 8 add

All Your Besties

To hop between apps, tap the home button twice. You know this
one, you’ve seen it in iOS 7. It brings up a sideways-scrolling
list of open apps, with the ones you’ve used most recently showing
up first. But in iOS 8, there’s something new. Look above that big
carousel of apps, and you’ll see a smaller sideways-scroller of
your friends’ faces. It’s the same concept: these are the people
you most recently chatted with or called. Also included in this
list are the contacts from your Phone’s “Favourites” list. This
shortcut is especially helpful for those of us who rarely open the
phone app anymore, and therefore don’t get as much use out of that
Favourites list. Now, for a quicker way to send a chat or initiate
a call to a loved one, you can just double-tap the Home button and
put your thumb on their face.

As you’re thumb-typing away, you’ll see iOS 8
suggesting the words it thinks you’re shooting for. Tap the correct
ones and they appear in the text input field. Not only does this
change the whole iOS autocorrect paradigm, but it should also speed
up your typing. This is one of those obvious differences, you’ll
notice it right away. But here’s the hidden bit in this new
QuickType feature: When you’re typing a message or an email, iOS 8
will pay attention to who you’re chatting with, and it will adjust
your tone to suit the nature of communications you usually have
with that person. So, QuickType will suggest an entirely different
set of words (and let those LOLs and WTFs slide) when you’re
texting with your husband than when you’re sending an email to your
travel agent. HTH!

Where is Continuity?
Oh, you mean the much-hyped and highly anticipated
feature that gives your iOS devices the ability to hand off
conversations, browser sessions, and documents to your Mac, and
vice versa? Those features only work with OS X Yosemite, and the
next version of Apple’s desktop OS doesn’t ship until next month.
You get some limited Continuity features between iOS 8 devices, but
come back in October and we’ll show you all of the cool things it
can do between your mobile and your Mac.

This article originally appeared on Wired.com

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19 September 2014 | 8:56 am – Source: wired.co.uk


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