iOS 8 – everything you need to know

Mobile & tablets

by Michael Moore| 03 June 2014

A round-up of all the key features from Apple's biggest release yet.

Apple unveiled the latest version of its mobile software, iOS 8, at its WWDC conference in San Francisco last night, and although there was no iPhone 6 or iWatch to accompany it, the new OS did include lots of new tricks and tools. Hailed by the company as "the biggest release since the launch of the App Store", here's our rundown of everything you need to know about iOS 8...

iOS 8

It'll bring your Mac, iPad and iPhone closer together than ever before

"Continuity" was the big theme of the first day of WWDC, and iOS 8 looks to be the first version to bring your Mac and your iPhone closer together than ever before. Part of this is down to Apple enabling AirDrop file transfers between Macs and iOS devices, but primarily it is due to the new Handoff feature, which allows you to pick up work where you left off when switching between iOS 8and OS X devices.

Handoff lets you access documents, emails or texts that you may have started on your iPad or iPhone without any overlap - and the process works the other way round as well. Handoff also lets you handle phone calls directly on your computer, and if you see a phone number on a webpage, you can just click it and use the Mac as your speakerphone.

Building on this inter-compatibility, SMS messages are no longer limited to mobiles. This means that if you receive an SMS or iMessage on your iPhone, you'll now be able to see it and reply to it on your iPad - and even your Mac.

Group messages have also been enhanced, as you can now add and drop people from conversations and silence non-stop incoming message annoyances via a group-specific Do Not Disturb toggle. Apple has also taken a few tips from Snapchat, introducing self-destructing voice and video clips.

It wants to help you type faster

Apple appears to have finally got the hint from Android users that a faster and more interactive typing interface is vital for its customers. Taking a hint from apps such as Swype and Swiftkey, iOS 8 introduces Quicktype, which Apple claim makes its "smartest keyboard ever,"
Quicktype finally adds long-awaited predictive texting that's akin to its Android rivals, with a row of potential next words now appearing above the keyboard alongside three word-finishing suggestions and then next-word best guesses.

This will even vary depending on which app you have open, so that you don't casually drop in slang words or in-jokes into an important work email. It will even learn your contacts in order to spell everyone's names correctly.

 

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