More iOS 8 goodness

Yes, there is more.  A lot more.  Let’s just dive in:

The Health app is now part of iOS 8. You can find it on your home screen - it is a white square with a red heart in it.  Open it.  The first thing you should do is to tap on Medical ID along the bottom and fill out all of the important medical info about yourself.  Here are a few things to be sure to include:

  • Allergies, especially to medications
  • Blood type
  • Emergency contact
  • Organ donor
  • If you wear contact lenses or have any implants (use the Medical Notes field)

This Medical ID is available even if your phone is locked - very handy and potentially life saving if medical professionals need the info in an emergency.

Also, in health app is a built-in steps and flights of stairs tracker (for iPhone 5S and newer).  To turn them on, tap on Health Data along the bottom, then on Fitness.  Go to both Flights Climbed and Walking + Running Distance and, inside those, turn “Show on Dashboard” to ON.

Finally, go to Dashboard along the bottom and there you can see what you are tracking.  As apps appear that support the Health app (pulse, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.) you can see the results here in your Dashboard.

Favorites / Recents a double click away

Contact your Favorite and/or recent contacts by double clicking the Home button.  To contact them, simply click on them!  To control which of these groups show up here go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Show in App Switcher.

Zoom your entire phone display

If you can see your iPhone screen with no problems, then this is probably not for you.  But if you are having trouble, simply choose Zoomed and every app and all of your home screens will be significantly bigger.  Settings > Display & Brightness > View.  Choose Standard or Zoomed.

Go beyond point-and-shoot camera abilities

Apple has given developers access to the individual camera settings, Now, third-party apps like Camera+, Manual, ProCamera 8 and others offer manual shooting modes.  These include separate controls for aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  Finally!

If you are not ready for that level of camera control, remember to tap on your subject in the photo when you are using the built-in Camera app for sharp well-exposed photos of your subject.

QuickType keyboard (auto-suggested words on keyboards)

Hide or show the suggested words on QuickType keyboard.  The built in iOS8 keyboard shows word suggestions based on what you are typing. If you don't use this you can disable it by pressing and holding on the auto-suggest bar and drag it to the top row of keys. Drag it back up to re-enable it.

Phone calls over Wi-Fi

Enabled in iOS 8, this allows you to use your Wi-Fi to make and receive phone calls.  If cellular reception is weak in your house (like it is in mine) this will be a huge improvement in call quality and consistency throughout your home.  That said, carriers have to support this and, so far, only T-Mobile has enabled it.

Automatically delete texts

In Settings > Messages you can choose to Keep Messages 30 days, 1 year or Forever. Forever is default.  This is a great way of keeping old texts from filling your phone’s storage.

Choose when apps can use location data

Prior to iOS 8 you could allow or deny an app access to your GPS (aka Location Services).  Now you can choose how an individual app can access GPS “Never”, “Always” or “While Using the App”.  Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

Suggested Apps

This feature can offer suggestions relative to your current location.  For example, if you walk into the Apple Store, your phone will suggest the Apple Store app on the Lock screen.  It can be set to show only installed apps, only apps you do not have installed (from the App Store) or both.  Settings > General > Handoff & Suggested Apps.

Quick Reply

The feature lets you respond to notifications like a text or email right from the notification without having to open the app. When a notification appears, swipe down on it and enter your reply.

Request Desktop Site

In Safari, if you do not like a website’s mobile version, you can request to be sent to the normal (desktop) site.  To do this, tap the URL, then pull down slightly below the URL and choose “Request Desktop Site”.  Very cool.

Mute group messages

If you get caught in an annoyingly chatty group text, you can mute it (and only it).  Tap the Details button in the top right and set the “Do Not Disturb” to ON.


As I researched to write this I was amazed at all of the cool things that iOS 8 has to offer.  And this is not even a complete list!  I encourage you to go play more with iOS 8 (make sure you are using 8.1) and take advantage of its powerful and useful features.