Did You Know You Could Do This With Your Apple iOS 8+ Device?

Now that Apple seems to have gotten the bugs worked out of their 8.+ update, I started to find various changes that are pretty cool. The more I searched, the more I found. I’d like to share them with you here. Some you’ll find to be very useful, others you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them. All are pretty cool.

Hide photos

When you tap and hold a photo within the Photos app you’ll see a “Hide Photos” option. If you tap it, the photo will be visible in the Hidden Album but not in your Moments, Collections and Years. This is nice if you have people who want to see your pictures or videos and there are some you’d not like to see.

More text control

There’s a lot more you can do with the texts you send and receive with iOS 8, including deleting them one by one. By holding your finger on a text message, an option for More will pop up — from there, you’ll be able to forward it along to someone else or tap to erase individual messages.

The new “details” section of Messages is pretty great for one key reason: you can now review all of the attachments that have been exchanged in each of your conversations on a single screen. You’ll see both images and videos you’ve sent as well as those received. And the archive goes back a long way — assuming you haven’t previously deleted your message history. But if you do need to free up space, the details view makes it even easier because you can just tap and hold on any attachment to erase it from your device

Timed selfies

When you’re taking a selfie and you need to set your device down so that you can get in the shot, your camera will now allow you a few seconds, up to 10, to get ready for that next photo. Just tap the clock icon at the top of the screen within the camera, choose how many seconds you need, and start snapping.

Bring Back Deleted Photos

If you’ve accidentally deleted a photo, it’s possible to bring it back: there’s a new Recently Deleted album in the Photo app that stores deleted pictures for up to 30 days before they disappear for good.

Battery Usage

Wondering why your battery is draining so fast? There is a new option that gives a percentage breakdown of what apps are killing your battery life most. To see which apps you should close when not in use, visit General > Usage > Battery Usage. You can then turn off some of those apps. This small step could add a few hours of extra battery life to your day.

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.

Swipe to Delete in Email

Instead of hitting the small trash can icon for each email, you can now save time by swiping quickly to the left to get rid of individual emails. Just be careful when testing this feature; it’s so easy to remove emails that sometimes it happens when want to do other tasks. Meanwhile, dragging your finger slowly to the left on an email will let you flag or archive it. Swiping to the right will reveal the feature to mark a message as unread.

Interactive Notifications

Interactive notifications is one of the best parts about iOS 8. You can respond to texts, email, calendar invitations, reminders and messages within apps such as Facebook from the notification banners that pops up at the top of the screen. It’s a good way to reply to incoming messages without leaving the app you’re in or stopping what you’re doing all together. You have to have “notifications” activated on your device in order for this to work.

Keyboards

Finally, you’re no longer restricted to the keyboard Apple gives you and can pick better options from third-party developers, like Swype. Available for $0.99 in the Apple App Store, there’s a reason why Swype is the number one paid app right now: instead of tapping letters, you can swipe your fingers across the keys, which I’ve been wanting on my iPhone and iPad for years.

The built-in keyboard now offers predictive text, giving you word suggestions before you even type anything, right above the keypad. It “reads” what you’re keying in and anticipates what the next word will be. You can select it from the options and continue typing.

You turn other keyboards on after downloading by going to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard; you access them by clicking the globe key on the on-screen keyboard. 

Key People Shortcut

If you press the Home button twice, you’ll not only see the webpages you have open but the faces or initials of people you’ve recently talked to. This makes it easy to call or text your favorite contacts right away. The down side, however, is that it highlights contacts you might not want others to know about too. For example, if you’ve deleted a conversation you recently had with an ex (and you don’t want to broadcast this to anyone looking over your shoulder), their name will still display on the top. To remove this feature, visit Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Show in App Switcher and switch it of Off.

What’s that song?

Siri is now integrated with Shazam, an app that recognizes music and other media playing around it. You are now able to simply ask Siri “what song is playing?” and the title and artist will show up on your screen.

Hey Siri

So long as your iOS device is plugged in, you can now launch Siri just by calling out “Hey, Siri.” Just visit Siri’s settings to switch this feature on. You then tell Siri what you need.

Search Websites Instantly

Now here’s a super useful thing that most people will probably never even know about. If you go into Safari’s settings, there’s a new “Quick Website Search” feature. Whenever you search a website (Amazon, IMDB, etc.), Safari remembers that. So from then on, you can just launch a Safari search, type out “amazon” ahead of your search term, and Safari will offer to (instantly) search the website itself.

Control Center

You can access Control Center from anywhere in iOS—including the Lock screen. To access Control Center, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. To close Control Center, swipe down, tap the top of the screen, or press the Home button.

In Control Center, you can adjust these settings:

  • Turn on or off Airplane mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb, and screen-orientation lock
  • Adjust screen brightness
  • Play, pause, or skip a song, and adjust playback volume
  • Connect to an AirPlay device or toggle between audio output
  • Adjust whether your device is discoverable for AirDrop

Control Center also includes quick access to these apps:

  • Camera
  • Timer
  • Calculator (iPhone and iPod touch only)
  • Flashlight (iPhone and iPod touch only)

If your device is not locked, you can also access the currently playing audio app by tapping the song title. 

Spotlight Search

Previously designed to search for items just on your iPhone or iPad, Spotlight has been a handy tool for finding emails, appointments, contacts, music and other locally stored items. But in iOS 8, the search universe has expanded way beyond just your local device.

Here’s how the new Spotlight works:

Trigger Spotlight by swiping your finger down from just below the top of your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The search field now says: “Spotlight Search” instead of just “Search iPhone” or “Search iPad.”

The screen also explains the types of items you can now find. Beyond searching your local device, Spotlight will offer suggestions from the Internet, iTunes and the App Store. It can also locate nearby locations, showtimes for movies, the latest news and even items from Wikipedia.

For example, I opened Spotlight and typed “Dracula,” the new movie that’s just opened. In response, Spotlight pointed me to a local theater where I could see the film, as well as to a Wikipedia entry on the movie. It also served up links to various Web sites about the film.

Asking Spotlight to track down “Mexican restaurants” showed me a couple such restaurants in my neighborhood, along with a few related websites. And searching for “Robin Williams” conjured up a Wikipedia entry on the late actor and comedian, an album that I could purchase on iTunes, and other items.

The new Spotlight is a handy way to delve beyond content that’s stored on your local device. But you can limit its capabilities through the Settings page should you wish.

Open the Settings app on your iOS device. Tap the General tab and then tap Spotlight Search. The results show you check marks in front of all the different types of items Spotlight will find in a search. To filter out a certain item from the search, simply tap it to remove the check mark. For example, tapping off Bing Web Results will prevent Spotlight from scouring the Web for information.

By default, your Spotlight searches and related information are sent to Apple. On its privacy screen for Spotlight, the company says it doesn’t store your searches and instead uses the data to try to make its search suggestions more relevant. However, those of you concerned about privacy may still wish to turn off the entry for Spotlight Suggestions to prevent your search queries from being shared in this way.