iOS 8 for iPhone, iPad and iPod

iOS 8 is here with features that iPhone and iPad users have long been begging for. Custom keyboards, manual camera controls, extensions that let apps interact with each other, widgets and actionable notifications are features that Android users have enjoyed for a long time and they work well on iOS, too. Two days before the launch of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, iOS 8 is at last here, bringing with it a lot of minor new features that make it up to an attractive package. Every change is welcome, but there are also a lot of questions aroused about the update that remain unanswered.

It includes updates to Messages and Photos, an all-new Health app, a predictive keyboard and contextual Spotlight, improved Mail and Safari, Family Sharing options and Continuity workflows, and there’s Extensibility, which allows users for interactive notifications, custom keyboards, custom sharing and action options, custom photo filters and effects, widgets, iCloud Drive, and custom storage providers. There are also new frameworks like Home Kit for home automation, manual camera controls, and Touch ID authentication for third party apps, Sprite Kit, Scene Kit, and Metal for games. And it has a new programming language called Swift. iOS 8 is a free update for anyone using an iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad mini, iPad mini Retina, or iPod touch 5. You can update over-the-air (OTA) on-device or over USB using iTunes on Mac or Windows.

Apple has added new features to the Messages app to make it much better than before. For instance, there is now a details page accessed from a button in the upper right of a text message that gives you more options. At the top of the Details page, you have contact info with buttons to call, initiate Face time, or look at that person’s full contact information. Below that you can easily send your location with a map. But you will also be able to share your location so that your friends can know exactly where you are. Siri now supports streaming voice recognition for quicker results, with support for 22 new dictation languages. The App Store gets easier to navigate. FYI, the Family Sharing features also lets one person in the plan use Find My iPhone to send a ping to another family member’s phone to help them find it. Auto night mode in iBook’s. If tried to mention all of its new features, it may go like this: Panoramic photos on iPad, Battery usage by app, Travel time notifications, 24 new dictation languages, Camera timer, Instant burst mode, Separate focus and exposure in Camera, RSS feeds in Shared Links, Improved zoom for accessibility, In Case of Emergency card, Purchase iTunes content with Siri, Rich text editing in Notes, Touch ID to exit from Guided Access, “Indian, Tagalog, Irish Gaelic, and Slovenian”- keyboards, Private browsing per tab in Safari, See your books as a series in iBook’s, Duck Duck Go support in Safari.

There are a few things that Apple has missed as well. You still can’t have multiple user accounts on one device. You also still can’t replace the default apps. None of these are reasons not to install iOS 8, but you should know about these if they are changes you were looking out for.

iOS 8 feels a bit like Apple is trying to catch-up; the update includes many features that Android users have been enjoying for years. Anyways, the upgrade goes a long way in giving the iPhone and iPad a better user experience. iOS 8 is definitely an improvement to almost every core app, and is a solid system upgrade across the board. There is therefore no harm I trying it.