16 Handy Tips, Tricks and New Features for iOS 8 Users

16 Handy Tips, Tricks and New Features for iOS 8 Users

Last month Apple released the latest operating system, iOS 8 at the same time they released the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. However, the iOS 8 is not just for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users. The software update is available on iPhone 4S, 5, 5S, 5C and on the iPad 2, 3, 4 and air. With iOS 8 making its way to users, here are 16 tips, tricks, and new features below that will be sure to come in handy:

1.  Wifi calling: If your phone reception is bad but you still have Wifi access you can now send and receive phone calls and texts over the internet.

2.  Recent contacts: Quickly access your favorite contacts by double-tapping the home button.

3.  Multitasking with email drafts: If you're in the middle of an email, but want to go back to reading your inbox, you can hold the top of the message and drag down (but don't put your finger too high on the screen or the notifications tab will appear). You can do this with multiple drafts, too. Double tap the minimized draft at the bottom to see all of them at once — this makes them appear in a carousel view, similar to how it looks with Safari tabs in iOS 8 — and proceed to open or delete them with taps and swipes.

4.  Update keyboard cycle: If you have downloaded a keyboard app from a third-party provider, you can program it directly to your master keyboard settings instead of opting to use it every time by tapping the Globe icon. Instead, change your default keyboard and the order in which you cycle through your keyboards via Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards and tap Edit.

5.  Do it yourself swipe: Have it your way by choosing what happens when you swipe left or right in email. Go to Settings/Mail > Contacts > Calendars/Swipe Options. For now, flagging and mark-as-read are the options.

6.  Visualize what Apple's dictation hears: In iOS 7, you had to wait until you were done speaking to see what the dictation had picked up. Now, you can see what it hears as you speak.

7.  Make Siri easier to talk to: If you want to talk to Siri hands free, go to Settings > General > Siri and turn on Allow "Hey Siri." The microphone will now listen for you to say "hey Siri" and bring her to life to assist with your audio query. One major caveat, though – you do need to have your phone or tablet plugged into a power source for the voice activation to work.

8.  Send voice clips: The improved message apps now lets you send voice clips in addition to texts.

9.  Find battery-hogging apps:Wondering why you need to recharge your iPhone so often? It might have to do with a battery hogging app so iOS 8 will help you track down the culprit by showing which apps are using the most battery juice. To find them, go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage and you'll see a list of the apps that have been using the most battery power over the past 24 hours or seven days.

10.  Quick search: Remember the ball-and-chain searches of the old Safari, when you typed in a website address, waited, then typed a search term into that site? Now you can do both simultaneously. Typing "Amazon," then a space, and "soy candle" into Safari now produces results for soy candles at Amazon.

11.  Prefer the desktop site? In Safari if you want to request the desktop site versus the mobile one, tap the URL and slide it down slightly. From there tap Request Desktop Site.

12.  Credit card scanning from within Safari: If you're shopping and using Safari on your iPhone or iPad and get to the point when you type in your credit card number, you'll see an option above the keyboard titled "Scan Credit Card". Tap that and take a picture of your card using the camera and the card number will automatically be added.

13.  Turn your iPhone screen from color to black and white: Just go to Settings > General > Accessibility and toggle on "Grayscale."

14.  Self-timer: The Camera app in iOS 8 finally has a timer (a basic feature it should have had years ago). You can set it to three or 10 seconds to make sure you have enough time to get in the right position before taking a shot. Launch the Camera app and tap the timer and set it to the time interval you want. You can also use the timer with Burst Mode, which snaps 10 shots in quick succession so you can pick the best one.

15.  Medical ID: Having access to basic medical ID could be a lifesaver. Accessible from the lock screen, it includes basic information such as medical conditions, blood type, allergies and whether you're an organ donor or not.

16.  Use apps with Touch ID integration: The Touch ID security feature on an iPhone 5s or newer isn't just for unlocking your device in iOS 8. Apps like Evernote, iPassword, Amazon and others have been updated to take advantage of Touch ID integration, replacing passwords and PIN codes. To set it up you need to go into the respective app's settings to enable it.

These are just some of the new features and tricks to make the most of your new operating system. Do any tricks come to mind that we missed? Please share your favorites with us!  

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