The Coolest 20 Features in iOS 8 You Didn't Know About
Apple's newest mobile operating system, iOS 8, is almost out for the general public, and we've got a rundown on the best new features you can expect on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. While there's not a huge visual change as there was from iOS 6 to iOS 7, there's still plenty of cool new features in iOS 8 to be excited about.
1. Get Faster Access to Recent Contacts
By double-pressing the Home button in iOS 8, you not only get access to the app switcher, but you can now see "Phone Favorites" and "Recents" in there too. Just tap on a contact bubble to get options for phone calls, text messages, and FaceTime (or FaceTime audio) to keep in touch quicker with the people you contact the most.
If you don't want this feature enabled, maybe to prevent others from knowing who you've recently contacted, you can disable it. Actually, you can disable "Phone Favorites" or just "Recents"—even both if you want. See how here.
2. Find Out What Apps Are Killing Your Battery
Monitoring battery usage has never been easier on iOS. Now you can easily view battery usage on a per-app basis to aid in tracking down battery-hogging apps.
3. Reply to Texts Faster with Interactive Notifications
Notification banners and alerts are interactive! From anywhere on your device, even your lock screen, pull down on the notification to quickly respond to text messages, trash emails (or mark them as read), snooze a reminder (or mark it as complete), and accept/decline calendar invites.
Through Facebook and other third-party apps, you'll be able to perform similar functions from the banners, like commenting on or liking a post.
If you're afraid of your privacy being invaded—since friends and family could potentially do something destructive through these notifications on your lock screen—you can disable notifications for each app through the "Notifications" settings. Additionally, developers will require passcodes for certain lock screen notifications.
4. Use Siri with No Hands, Shazam Integration
Thanks to two new big features, Siri is faster to use than ever before.
With the addition of a voice activation feature, you can now activate Siri by saying "Hey Siri" out loud whenever the phone is connected to a power source—although the iPhone will be able to utilize this feature without requiring a power connection.
Siri will then listen for your commands, which is especially useful when your hands are busy while you're driving, which makes calling someone or finding directions a completely hands-free experience.
Another new feature with Siri is the built-in Shazam integration. Just activate Siri and ask "What song is playing?" or "What song is this?". Siri will then listen and pull up a listing of the song and artist, with a link to purchase it directly from iTunes.
5. There's Predictive Text in the Keyboard
iOS 8 ushers in a new wave of functionality regarding keyboards, including predictive text for the built-in one, and the highly anticipated inclusion of third-party keyboard compatibility.
With predictive text, called QuickType, you can type in a few letters and your keyboard will provide options for it thinks you might type next. Once you type a complete word, you'll see suggestions for common quotes or phrases, celebrities and musicians, movies and television shows, and more.
QuickType also intelligently analyzes the last text sent to you. When asked questions through text messaging, QuickType will usually offer options like yes, no, sure thing, or I'll get back to you.
If you receive a message with two options and an "or" between them, QuickType intelligently pulls the two options from the message sent to you, as suggestions.
With a keyboard such as TouchPal, you can use swipe gestures to spell out words and phrases without lifting a finger, as well as the ability to enter numbers and punctuation without changing keyboards.
Other keyboards like TextExpander provide useful tools such as easy-to-use keyboard shortcuts, while QuickBoard for iOS 8 integrates copy and paste boards directly on the keyboard; all of which will make typing on iOS 8 something spectacular.
Hold down on the microphone or camera icon and you quickly take a photo, record a video, or lay down some audio. When you release the icon, the files will send, but will then self destruct after a set period of time.
Vice president of iOS product marketing Greg Joswiak says about this feature, "You don't want to have to clean these up. Audio and video messages can take up space, so they're set to self-destruct unless you choose to keep them."
The self-destructing audio and video feature makes it easy to send media while not taking up loads of storage space on your device. But when you want to keep the images or videos that you receive, you can wit a new Messages setting.
8. Scan Cards to Auto-Fill Data
When making online purchases through Safari, you can now save yourself the hassle of manually inputting card information—instead, just snap a picture of it and watch your relevant information automatically fill the form. This worked extremely well on Amazon, but failed when using Midtowncomics, so while it's not universal, it should work with most major online retailers.
9. Battery-Saving Grayscale Mode
Witht the iPhone 6 stocked with a crisp, Sapphire AMOLED display, placing the device in grayscale mode will help extend battery life. By rendering pixels black and inactive, therefore not utilizing the backlight, grayscale reduces battery drain. Checkout the video to learn more.
10. FaceTime "Call Waiting"
By popular demand, FaceTime now has a "call waiting" function displayed when receiving a request during a current FaceTime session. Now it's easy to decline the incoming call, or end your current one while accepting the new one. Of course, accepting the new call ends the old one, so it's not exactly like the call waiting we all know and love.
 Oh cool.  You can FaceTime with yourself!
11. Wi-Fi Calling
Wi-Fi calling won't just help save your data, but according to those who have used it, the calls sound clearer. As of now, this feature is only present on the T-Mobile variant, hence why we're calling it a "lessor" feature for now. Expect this function to roll out to all carriers in the very near future.
To enable it, head into Settings -> Phone -> WiFi Calling, then simply toggle it on. When enabling WiFi calling, you must enter a physical address, presumably on the off-chance that you'll need to make an emergency call.
12. Leave Group Chats
Leaving group chats is one feature that many have long asked for (including myself), simply because group messages can become an annoyance after a while, accumulating with hundreds of text messages and loads of notifications.
13. Access All Attachments
Accessing all attachments is a very useful feature, allowing you to easily find and save all of the pictures, videos and audio shared between you and another person, without having to scroll through the entire conversation.
14. Send Multiple (Recent) Pictures at Once
Sharing pictures is also now easier do, with a preview of recent photos showing up when you tap on the keyboard's camera icon.
Widgets, while not quite of the Android variety, are finally available on iOS 8, accessible only through the Notification Center. Just scroll down from the top of the screen and you'll be able to access important information from your favorite apps, as well as perform truncated functions.
16. Time-Lapse Videos!
Apple has now added a native time-lapse feature to their stock camera in iOS 8, shooting photos in dynamically selected intervals.
17. New Photo-Editing Tools
In the stock photo-editing tools, you can now fine-tune every aspect of a photo, such as automatically straighten horizons, modify light and adjust exposure, brightness, contrast and more.
18. Set Timers & Control Exposure in the Camera
Set a three or ten second timer directly from the camera viewfinder, as well as manually change the exposure by swiping up and down on the screen.
19. Do More in Notes
In the new version of Notes for iOS 8, you'll be able to jot down your notes in rich text (bold, italics, and underline), as well as be able to include photos. I'll show you how it works.
20. Recover Deleted iPhone Photos
In iOS 8, you'll no longer have to worry about recovery tools or performing backups to get back your deleted photos. Apple is taking a preemptive approach to accidental deletions by allowing you to easily recover pictures or videos directly from your iPad or iPhone.
What do you think of the new iOS 8 for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Share your thoughts below, or chat with us on Twitter or Facebook.