iOS 8 review

iOS 8 review: Continuity

If you also own a Mac, you’ll benefit even more from iOS 8. Handoff is a feature that allows you to start a task and continue on your Mac, running Yosemite or later. This could be an email or a document or something else. Developers can also use Handoff, so it won’t only be Apple apps which have this.

You’ll also get text messages appear as notifications on your Mac, and even answer phone calls – or make them, as long as your iPhone is within Wi-Fi range, of course. If you’re somewhere without a router, the two devices can use Wi-Fi direct to communicate.

iOS 8 review: Family sharing

Until now, you’ve been allowed to install purchased apps on the whole family’s devices. With iOS 8, you get Family Sharing. Someone – typically a parent – can invite up to four other people to share an account so any purchases from iTunes or the App Store are paid from one card.

This is almost the opposite way the Google does user accounts. With Family Sharing, each person has their own iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and restrictions can be put in place for allowed content for kids under 13. You can set it up so that kids (or anyone) must get the owner’s approval before they’re allowed to purchase anything. This also works for in-app purchases, helping you to control costs.

Family sharing also means that everything purchased by anyone is immediately available to download to everyone’s device, subject to content restrictions of course. As before, you can set apps and other media to automatically download or prevent that.

The final element is a shared family calendar, to which anyone can add an event and view everything.

iOS 8 review: Messages

Messages has been given some new features – some of which you may have seen in rival messaging apps, notably Whatsapp. One is the ability to hold the new microphone icon to record a quick voice message, then swipe upwards to send it. You can also record a video and swipe upwards to send that to a friend.

iOS 8 review

Apple has also integrated Find My Friends. There’s a new Details button at the top which brings up new options. You can send your current location, which inserts a map, as well as choosing how long to share your current location. The Details screen also shows a list of recent attachments from the contact including photos and videos.

It’s easier to manage group messages, as you can name them and add or remove contacts from the thread. You can also mute individuals so you don’t get notifications when they reply.

iOS 8 review: Photos app

There are some big tweaks to the Photos app including a new editing option which has a dial icon. Tap it and you get three new options: Light, Colour and B&W. You can tap each to get a slider and adjust the image. Tapping the list icon gives you even more options, such as the Saturation, Contrast and Cast options within Colour.

In iOS 8, you have much finer control over rotating images and an Auto option will try and straighten your image with just one tap. All edits are non-destructive, which is why there's now a yellow Done button instead of Save. You can return to your edited photo at any time and there will be a red Revert button which allows you to go back to the original.

iOS 8 review

You’ll also notice two new albums: Recently Added and Recently Deleted. The latter is like a Recycle Bin which keeps deleted photos for 30 days, just in case you didn't mean to delete them. You have the option to recover individual shots or recover them all. If your goal was to free up storage space, you can hit the Delete all button - an action which can't be undone.

Better still, you can search your photos by date, place or album name, which is far, far faster than scrolling through hundreds of them.

Next section: iOS 8 review: iCloud Drive