Apple unveiled iOS 8 back in June at WWDC 2014, and the update is rolling out to the public on Wednesday, September 17th. You’ve heard about all the new features and even may have watched the keynote introduction. It is the biggest iOS release ever, but you still may not be sold on the update. If you are still on the fence about installing iOS 8, here are five reasons to install the update on your device.
1. Interactive Notifications
Interactive Notifications will completely change the way you handle Notifications on your iOS device. You will no longer need to open an app to respond to a notification. So you will be able to reply to messages, archive or trash mails, decline/accept calendar invites and so on right from the banner notification or the notification from the lock screen.
What’s more, developers will also be able to offer interactive notifications for party apps, so you will be able to like Facebook posts etc. without having to open the Facebook app.
➤ Read more: iOS 8 Preview: Interactive Notifications
2. All-New Messages app
iOS 8 brings some exciting new features to the Messages app taking cues from other successful messaging apps like Whatsapp and Snapchat such as:
- Audio Messages: You can now send audio messages by tapping and holding on the microphone icon to the right of the text field.
- Sending photos in messages has become a lot quicker with a new gesture-based interface where you tap and hold the camera icon and swipe up or to the right to shoot a new photo or video.
- If you tap the camera icon, you can attach photos and videos you’ve already taken from your library. The entire workflow of this process is much more efficient with iOS 8, making it easier to send multiple photos.
- All attachments you send will be deleted 2 minutes after they’re seen, unless the receiver explicitly taps “Keep”.
- Group Management: You can now name your group message threads, and also mute or leave conversations.
- Other feature additions include the ability to share location for a specified period, browse all browse all attachments, and an option to automatically delete old attachments.
➤ Read more: iOS 8 Preview: All-New Messages app
3. QuickType and Third-party Custom Keyboards
Android keyboards have seen a lot of innovative new features like Swype and word suggestions, while the iOS keyboard has largely been the same since it was first introduced. This is all set to change with iOS 8.
QuickType is a new addition to the standard iOS keyboard that displays word suggestions as you type in a row above the keyboard. The word suggestions aren’t simply based on what you’re typing, but also take into account where you’re typing. So if you get a message “Are we going out for dinner”, the suggestions will be “Yes” and “No”. If you’re in an email the suggestions will be formal in tone, but in Messages, the tone will be casual.
QuickType is just one improvement to iOS 8’s keyboard. Another, arguably much more important, addition is the ability to install third-party keyboards like Swype, SwiftKey etc that will then be available system wide. Many keyboards should be available on the App Store on September 17, the day iOS launches.
4. App & Safari Extensions
Extensions are a powerful new addition to the iOS 8 SDK that lets developers run their code outside apps, and augment other apps with useful features. Extensions are of various types: Widgets, Share, Actions, Custom Keyboards, Document Picker, and Photo Editing.
- Share: This type of extension lets developers provide their own sharing option in other apps. So if you install the Pinterest app, you’ll start seeing an option to share to Pinterest in iOS’ standard share sheets.
- Action: An action extension is quite powerful — it “helps users view or transform content within the context of another app.” The action extension Apple demoed was Bing’s translator, that could translate selected text in Safari into a different language. We’ll likely see a lot of Safari extensions on the App Store when iOS 8 launches.
- Custom Keyboards: We’ve already detailed custom keyboards above.
- Photo Editing: iOS 8 lets you access your favorite app’s photo or video editing interface, make changes and save the edited photo, all without leaving the Photos app. In the future, Instagram, VSCO cam or Aviary could have their own interface pop up within the Photos app, and you can apply your favorite filters and presets without jumping through multiple apps.
- Storage Provider: Services like Dropbox, Google Drive etc. can now define themselves as “Storage Providers” so that apps that deal with files can store and retrieve files stored in these services without any hassles. These changes make it much easier to work on a single file from multiple apps without creating unnecessary copies.
With iOS 8, Apple finally added a long-requested feature — third-party widgets. Powered by the new Extensibility framework, third-party widgets will let developers add widgets with quickly consumable information in the Today section of the Notification Center. Apple demoed SportsCenter and eBay widgets at the keynote. The eBay widget let you quickly see the status of your bid, your watch list while the SportsCenter widget gave you scores for your favorite teams as well as relevant headlines.
➤ Read more: iOS 8 Preview: Widgets Explained
iOS 8 is easily on the biggest iOS release since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. Download it, you won’t be disappointed.
Are you planning to install iOS 8, if so let me know your top five reasons in the comments.