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iOS 8: The Good, the Bad and the How To’s

Now that iOS 8 is officially “out” and I’ve had some time to use it’s new features, I’d like to share some of my favorites as well as my disappointments in this two-part series.

As with all major Apple upgrades, there are a slew of new features with iOS 8, many of which I am still discovering. Let’s start with my picks.

QuickType

QuickType politely anticipates and suggests words to speed up your typing when composing a text message, email or note.

It’s a welcome improvement over the annoying auto correction that constantly pops up and requires you to touch the little ‘x’ to prevent your iPhone from entering a completely-wrong-but-properly-spelled-word. Unless you like the old auto-correction, I recommend the following changes:

  • Touch Settings>General>Keyboards.
  • Turn OFF Auto-Correction.
  • Turn ON Predictive (which is QuickType).

Favorites and Recent Contacts

Faster access to Favorites and recent contacts by double-pressing the Home button. Previously, you had to touch the Phone icon and then Favorites or Recents to access those contacts. Now they are displayed across the top of your screen whenever you press the Home button twice.

Quick Response

Quickly reply to new text message alerts without leaving your current app. When a new message notification pops up on your screen, simply swipe down on the new message and the text box for replying will open.

Family Sharing

Family Sharing of your iTunes, iBooks and App purchases with up to six family members.

Finally, spouses and children with different Apple ID’s can share each other’s previous purchases and only pay once for future purchases. Parents can require that purchases made by their children under 18 must be given permission, electronically of course!

Here are some good instructions for setting up Family Sharing.

Family Sharing isn’t for everyone. I thought I might set it up to share apps and music with our adult children but found out that all future purchases within a Family Sharing group have to be made on the controlling family member’s credit card. Sorry, kids, I’m not falling for that!

Text Messaging Improvements

The Messages app has a couple of new features that I really like. You can now create and name a group of contacts that you regularly text, which is a real time-saver. In addition, you can send a recorded voice memo which is great for those longer messages that no one likes to type or read. Finally, you can send multiple photos at once from your Photos library.

To create a contacts group:

  • You must have a text message that you have already sent to this group of people. You can either select an old message you previously sent them or send a new message.
  • From the Messages app, touch the message that you sent to the group.
  • Touch Details in the top right.
  • Swipe the screen down to reveal Group Name at the top.
  • Enter a Group Name.
  • Touch Add Contact to add more contacts to this group.
  • Touch Done.
  • Touch Group and then Messages in the top left.
  • Now whenever you compose a new message to this group, simply type the group name you gave it.
  • ***If you delete this group’s thread (conversation) of messages, you will delete the group name, so don’t delete it!

How to text a voice recording:

  • When you are composing your message in Messages, touch and hold the microphone beside the text box and begin speaking immediately.
  • When you are finished, lift your finger off the microphone.
  • To replay your message before sending it, touch the play arrow.
  • To delete your recorded message, touch the ‘X’.
  • To send your recorded message, touch the ↑.

How to send multiple photos in a text message:

  • When you are composing your message in Messages, tap the camera beside the text box.
  • Recent photos will appear just above “Photo Library.”
  • Scroll from right to left and touch each photo to select.
  • Touch Add Comment to add a message and then Send.
  • ***If the photos you want to send are not in your displayed recent photos, touch Photo Library. You will have to choose each photo individually, but you can still send multiple pictures in one message.

Battery Usage

For those of you who have tried to make changes in your iPhone’s settings to turn off apps that drain your battery, you will love the Battery Usage screen that shows you which apps are sapping your energy.

When I checked mine, I was surprised to see that Skype had used 10% of my power in the past twenty-four hours. This was with it being turned off in Background App Refresh. Since I only use Skype on my iPhone for international phone calls, I signed out of my account on the Skype app and that fixed my battery usage. I’ll sign back in the next time I am making an international phone call.

To check your battery usage:

  • Touch Settings>General>Usage>Battery Usage.
  • Scroll down to see which apps are using the most power. You can select Last 24 Hours or Last 7 Days.

Next week, I’ll finish with the iOS 8 features that need some help and an explanation of the new iCloud Drive.

Apple Does It Again!

I feel like a kid in front of a candy store.

The rumors about Apple’s big product announcement were correct.

There is a new iPhone and an all-new AppleWatch, but the details are absolutely amazing to this geeky gal.

Here are some of my favorite new features and capabilities with Apple’s new products.

iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

Two models that are bigger and thinner than the recent iPhone 5s, which had a 4-inch diagonal display. The iPhone 6 is 4.7 inches and the 6 Plus is 5.5 inches. There are a lot of technical advancements which improve speed, battery life and image resolution, but the new built-in camera sounds especially promising.

They can be preordered beginning September 12 and begin shipping September 19.

iOS 8

Apple’s new operating system will work on the new iPhone 6’s, iPhone 5’s, iPhone 4s and iPad 2 and newer. It introduces the ability to send voice messages as text messages (goodbye voice mail!), family sharing for iTunes purchases, enhanced iCloud and photo sharing, and a new health app that keeps your health information at your fingertips.

iOS 8 will be available for downloading September 17.

ApplePay

This is my second favorite announcement and Apple’s solution to carrying a wallet full of credit cards. 

It will change how we pay for items in stores and online.

The way it works is that when you are ready to check out at a store, you will wave your compatible Apple device in front of an electronic reader, securely touch your device and you’re done!

No more digging out credit cards, signing slips, losing cards, reactivating cards, etc. It is truly amazing and touted as extremely secure.

Apple will not be keeping your credit card information. They will be linking you directly to your bank, and will not be collecting data about you, what you bought, what you paid or where you bought it.

They already have agreements with the major credit cards, banks, Macy’s, Staples, Subway, Walgreens, McDonald’s, Whole Foods and more.

ApplePay will work with the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and my favorite new product announcement – the AppleWatch.

AppleWatch

It is not a small phone attached to your wrist.

It’s a beautiful combination of personal technology, style and taste.

Yes, it can do many iPhone-type tasks like phone calls, text or voice messaging, email and calendar functions, which is kind of nice to not have to pull out your phone all the time.

A new technology called Digital Touch will alert you with a tap to the wrist for all kinds of notifications. The health activity monitoring tracks calories burned, exercise goals and even how much you are standing versus sitting.

The AppleWatch face will come in two sizes for small or large arms with six different metal finishes and a multitude of interchangeable watchbands.

It is scheduled for release in early 2015.

To see pictures and videos of these new products, spend some time clicking around at apple.com.

It’s a testament to technology that delights.