iOS 8 tips and tricks: 1-10
Apple's mobile department has finally got its house in order with the release of iOS 8.1.1. Issues like battery drain and sluggish performance on older devices have been resolved, so it's now safer than ever to pull the trigger on that iOS 8 download you've been putting off.
Once you've updated, you'll get to enjoy features like interactive notifications and camera time-lapse mode. But there's a whole lot else going on in iOS 8 that you might not know about, which is why we've put together these 20 tips for you to get the most out of your souped-up device.
Before your update, back up your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to iCloud or iTunes like this: with your device attached to your computer, hit the check for update button in the version tab of iTunes, or simply tap into settings > general > software update on the device in question, then we'll meet you back here with twenty of the top tips and tricks for iOS 8.
1. Hey Siri
When your device is plugged in and charging, you can invoke Siri by voice alone without going near the home button. Just say 'Hey Siri' and the personal assistant will ding in response, and you can ask your question as normal. Siri's constant listening for the command means the mic has to be active at all times, so it stands to reason that it won't work when your device is running on battery.
2. Private web searches
Safari now supports privacy search engine DuckDuckGo, notable for its policy of never tracking search terms or logging users. To bypass Google and use it as your default engine, choose to settings > Safari > search engine > DuckDuckGo.
3. Customise Notification Centre
Open the Notification Centre by dragging down from the top of the screen and scroll down to the edit button at the bottom of the today view. Using this option you can choose whether or not to display traffic conditions, calendar, reminders, and more besides. Check back whenever you install apps that add their own widgets to the list.
4. Do not disturb
You can now mute specific message threads on a single device in the messages app. Open it up, select the conversation that irks you, tap on details and slide do not disturb to on. When you're feeling a little more sociable, remember to turn the option back off or you won't hear from that conversation thread on this device again.
5. Hide select photos
Not too proud of a photo on your device but reluctant to delete it? There's an option for that. Open the photos app, find the photo in question, tap on it and hold. Tap hide in the pop-up menu that appears and the photo will vanish from your collection, moments and years galleries. (Shhh! It's now tucked away in the album named hidden.)
6. What song is this?
Shazam has linked up with Siri so that you can now ask the personal assistant to identify what music is currently playing: simply activate Siri and ask, 'what song is this?' and you'll be treated to an answer, as well as a link to the iTunes Store should you want to purchase the track.
7. New favourite sites
Apple has turned bookmarks into favourites on iPhones running iOS 8. To add a site to your favourites, tap the Safari's search bar and pull down to access the option add to favourites. Now you'll be able to find the that website in the same drop down whenever you tap the address bar.
8. Delete iCloud Safari tabs
You can now get rid of Safari browser tabs open on any device linked to your Apple ID – not only the device you're using. Simply tap the + option in the bottom right of Safari's interface and scroll to the bottom to find all currently open tabs listed by device; slide a finger left across any open tab and select delete to close it remotely.
9. Camera focus and exposure
The camera app has been tweaked to enable you to choose a manual exposure level as you snap. Open the camera app and tap on the screen to choose a focus in the frame, then simply slide your finger up or down to the right of the focus square to increase/decrease the exposure level.
iOS 8 tips and tricks: 10-20
10. Quick Contacts access
Double-click the home button to bring up the multi-tasking screen and you'll notice a row of circular icons along the top of your open apps. These are your recent contacts, and tapping on one will reveal the following options: call mobile, call home, message and FaceTime. To have favourite contacts appear when you swipe to the right on this screen, open the Phones app, select favourites and tap the + icon to add contacts.
11. Email notifications
Being notified of every email you receive gets annoying after a while. Happily, in iOS 8 you can opt to be notified about specific email threads only. Open the email in question, tap the flag icon and select notify me, confirm the selection and you're done. To turn off notifications, simply repeat the process and choose stop notifying.
12. Hide QuickType predictions
QuickType's suggestions are cool if you like that sort of thing. If you don't, feel free to hide them. Swipe down on the grey suggestion boxes and they collapse out of sight into a slim grey bar. If you miss them, just swipe up to get your suggestions back. To get rid of QuickType completely, go to settings > general, select keyboard, and swipe the toggle beside predictive to the white position.
13. Reopen closed Safari tabs
Did you just close a tab by accident? Don't fret. You can now reopen closed tabs by tapping the tabs button, bottom right of Safari's interface, and tap-holding the + symbol. Tap the tab you wish to re-open from the recently closed tabs list that appears.
14. Use Desktop sites
Occasionally you'll find the mobile version of your favourite website is a functionless shell of the one you're used to browsing from your desktop. A great touch in iOS 8 is that you can tap on the URL and swipe down to choose the new option request desktop site.
15. Straighten a photo
If you snapped a picture that's a bit off kilter, you can quickly correct it in iOS 8. Open the photo, tap the crop symbol and a dial appears below the image. Turn it until the overlay lines up horizontally with your picture and tap done.
16. Undelete a photo
Did you delete a photo you wished you hadn't? No problem - images can be undeleted up to 30 days after they were banished. Simply go to the recently deleted folder in the photos app, select the image and tap recover.
17. Minimise an email
You can now temporarily hide an email you're composing by dragging down from the top of the new message window. This is handy if you need to check another email but don't want to close the one you've just started. To return to the new message, simply tap the bar at the bottom of the screen and it reappears.
18. Reclaim battery life
We mentioned battery drain at the beginning of this article. If you're still suffering symptoms, go to settings > general > usage and select battery usage. You can now browse which apps are guilty of sucking away the most battery life, and you may even receive suggestions about how you can save more battery power.
19. Send an audio message
Sending snappy audio clips to friends is simple. In the messages app, touch and hold the microphone symbol alongside the text box. Record your clip, and swipe up when you're done - the audio is now being sent.
20. More tips
Dip into the extras folder and you'll find a light bulb app in there. Open it to discover even more tips for using iOS 8, curated by Apple and updated weekly. As usual you can't delete Apple's app, but at least you can turn off notifications from it by going to settings > notifications > tips.