iOS 8: Evolution so far and features that you may have not heard about yet

There was a lot of anticipation for the launch of iOS 8, Apple’s latest operating system. The exciting new features and changes in iOS 8 gained a lot of attention and it even became the most popular topic on social media networks for weeks. However, after its official release on September 17th, there was a bit of disappointment as Wi-Fi connection glitches and battery drain issues, spoiled some users’ experience with the new iOS. Bugs are not unusual when it comes to Apple firmware, but many iPhone owners that upgraded to iOS 8 – or those who acquired the iPhone 6 – complained about slow Wi-Fi or inability to connect to their router.

Another reported issue was the battery drain and even though iOS 8 offers a convenient battery usage breakdown, its is not easy to find. While the battery drain is expected as iOS 8 supports features that require a higher battery usage, there were additional bugs preventing users from accessing photos in iPhoto library or uploading photos and videos using Safari. Unfortunately things did not improve with iOS 8.0.1, which Apple pulled shortly after its release due to problems such as breaking Touch ID and interruption of cellular services.

At the end of September, iOS 8.0.2 was made available and it aims to address these issues. It seems like many problems have been solved successfully or at least, the general performance of iOS 8 has been substantially improved. Many users have reported that they get more battery life out of their iPhones and while there are still some who are struggling with battery drain, there are simple solutions like imiting app notifications, disabling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi while not in use, etc. Overall, iOS 8.0.2 works better than its predecessors.

In spite of the problems reported, the truth is that iOS 8 conveniently combines many interactive solutions and offers great features. The fact that this operating system gives third-party developers the possibility to work on compatible tools like keyboards, makes it the most flexible iOS in Apple’s history. The list of functions supported by iOS 8 is extensive but there are some simple, yet useful options that are not as widely advertised and that many users may have not discovered yet. Here are some of the things that you can do with iOS 8 and that you may not know about.

New Siri options
Shazam is a service that can help you to identify music. This is very handy when you instantly fall in love with a song that is playing, but you have no idea who sings it or what the title is. Shazam and Apple have partnered and now you can ask Siri to give you details of the music that is playing on the radio or in a restaurant. Once the song is recognized, Siri would give you the option of getting it from iTunes.

Another interesting Siri feature, is the possibility of interacting with the intelligent personal assistant, hands-free even while the iPhone or iPad is in sleep mode. If the device is plugged to a power source, you can launch Siri from the other side of the room by simply saying “Hey Siri”. This is a practical option to check for directions or sending messages, while you are driving or when you are busy and cannot reach your iPhone.

Reply to messages from Notification Centre or lock screen

iOS 8 gives users the possibility of replying to their message from the lock screen. After waking your iPhone or iPad, you can drag the notification to the left and a Reply button will be on display. If you miss a notification, you have the option of swiping down from the top to access the Notification Centre. Swipe left on the message and you will be able to reply.

Send instant audio messages and photos
In iOS 8, there is a microphone icon for messages that allows you to record audio clips. Simply tap and hold it and after recording the clip, release the icon to send it. You can also press and hold the camera icon to get access to a new control for taking photos and videos. The front camera is used by default, making it the ideal option for the popular selfies but you can also switch cameras to capture images in front of you. By pressing the red record button, you can capture and send short video clips. There is also an option to set an expiry date for audio and video messages, which will help you to save storage space on your iDevice.

Minimize an email
A useful feature allows you to read previous emails when you are replying to an email or composing one. All you need to do is to drag down from the top of the email and move it to the bottom of the screen to minimize it, while you check your inbox for other messages.

Add multiple contacts to a conversation
It is possible to add many people to a conversation and name the thread, similar to what you would do in WhatsApp. This options lets you share your location with everyone in the conversation or with specific contacts. You can also mute notifications for the conversation to avoid cluttering or leave the conversation, even if you started it.

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