iOS 8 Cool Features and Tips

iOS 8 has been out for over a month now and after using it daily I thought I would point out some cool features and a few tips.

First, make sure you are using iOS 8.1 on your iPad or iPhone.  8.1 includes some important features and bug fixes.  Go to Settings > General > Software Update to get it.

Admittedly, some of the items below are not new with iOS 8, but they are still very cool and  most people do not know about them.  Some items are new to me because I got an iPhone 6 recently.  Of course, most of the the cool stuff is enabled through the Settings app.  If you have an iPad and an iPhone, make sure to look on both devices.  Let’s take a tour:

Settings > General:

  • Handoff & Suggested Apps - turn Handoff ON to start something on one device and finish it on another (like a text, an email or website visit).  On the other device look on the Lock screen or App Switcher (double click the home button).  On a Mac, look on the end of your Dock.

Settings > Display & Brightness:

  • Choose Text Size and use the slider to increase all system text sizes (emails, texts, lists, etc.).  While you are there, just below Text Size is Bold - turn it on and see if you like it.

Settings > Touch ID & Passcode (iPhone 5S or newer):

  • Choose what functions can use Touch ID (fingerprint).  I have all of them turned on.
  • Fingerprints - you can have a total of 5.  Touch “Add a Fingerprint” to add a fingerprint.  I did my thumb and index finger of both hands.  You can also enter someone else’s fingerprint if you want them to have access to your phone that way.  Also, you can re-name the fingerprints.  I have “Left thumb”, “Right index”, etc.  Very creative names, I know.

Settings > iCloud

  • Make sure that your devices are signed into iCloud with the exact same email address. and are considered different email addresses.
  • iCloud Drive - I recommend you do NOT use this (yet).  Turn it off.
  • Photos - I recommend that you do NOT turn on iCloud Photo Library (Beta) because this service is still in Beta (that means it is a prototype and may cause problems with your pictures & even lose them).  Wait until next spring when it goes live.
  • Find my iPhone (or iPad) - Turn on Send Last Location to send the device’s location right before the battery dies.

Settings > Passbook & Apple Pay (iPhone 6 and 6 Plus only)

  • This is an awesome way to pay that is way, way more secure than using a credit card.  You can choose to use the same card as you use for the App Store, add a card and set the default card.  You can add a new card by simply taking a picture of it!  Read more about it here:

Settings > Messages

  • If you want to be able to send and receive SMS texts (with people that are not using iMessage - “green” people) from devices other than your iPhone, like your iPad or Mac, choose Text Message Forwarding and enable all the devices listed there.  You will have to enter a 6-digit code to verify this, but once it is set up, it works great.

Settings > FaceTime

  • On your iPhone (only) Enable iPhone Cellular Calls to be able to both make and receive cell phone calls with your iPad and Mac.  This is so cool - when your phone rings, so will your iPad and you Mac!  Your devices must be signed into the same iCloud account (see above) and be on the same non-public wifi network.

Other cool stuff built into iOS 8.1:

  • Ask Siri to identify a song playing (she uses the Shazam service).
  • In Safari you can use the camera to enter credit card numbers when making online purchases, rather than manually entering the credit card number.
  • Find out which apps are using the most battery power.  Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage.  Very handy!
  • Tips app - use this built-in app to learn more about your phone and iOS 8.
  • A timer for your camera - choose either a 3 or 10 second delay.
  • Time Lapse - take a time lapse of events that happen slowly (clouds traveling across the sky, a sunset, etc.)  Start the time laps from the Camera app.  When you finish the time lapse, a 10-40 second video of what transpired is created.
  • Include travel time in Calendar alerts - have a appointment alert you when it is time to leave.  The event must contain the address of the appointment.  Edit the event and turn on Travel Time and choose where you want to travel from and choose driving or walking.  Next, under Alerts in that appointment, choose “At start of travel time.”
  • Text multiple pics or videos in one message.  Tap the camera next to your new message and select the pics/videos you want to send all at once.

There are so many more things in iOS 8, I think I will end this now and continue it next week after more research and playing.

Enjoy iOS 8.1 !!!