5 Small Updates in iOS8 That Will Be A Big Help


Apple’s new mobile operating system, iOS8, was recently announced at WWDC and it brought in many new features which were highlighted during the keynote such as Health and Homekit. However, as usual, there are hundreds of changes to the OS, far too many to feature in the short time Apple had on stage.

So below I take a run through 5 small changes that haven’t received much press but which will make your usage of iOS considerably easier. Bear in mind the usual caveats, this is a Beta release, and things may well change before the final version of iOS8 is released.

Battery usage by App

You now have the ability to see which Apps are using your battery the fastest, allowing you to track down rogue app consuming all your battery life and shut it down.

For example I found my email polling was consuming most of my battery life, so I reduced Push Email to just one account, and set the others to simply poll every 30 minutes. This resulted in about a 5% battery saving over the course of the day.

Subtle adjustments like this can mean you get home with some charge left in your phone, as opposed to it dying before you make it.

battery usage by app

Delete old Messages

I don’t know about you but my SMS / iMessage history goes back years, and it takes up a lot of space. My last iCloud backup showed over 200MB of storage being used just by the Messages App!

A great new feature in iOS8 is the ability to auto-delete messages. Found in Settings – Messages you can choose to keep all messages, or have iOS8 automatically delete them messages older than 1 month or 1 year.

Selecting one of these and confirming will immediately delete messages older than that period so make sure you’re certain before proceeding!

auto delete messages option auto delete messages older than 1 month or 1 year

Camera Timer

Its hard to believe this wasn’t in iOS already, but now there is a shutter time on the camera App allowing you to set a delay and then get in the shot yourself.

camera app now with timer delay

Siri is listening – Hey Siri

Similar to the always listening feature of Google Now on the Moto X, when connected to a power supply, Siri starts listening in the background for the voice command “Hey Siri” at which point it wakes the phone and allows you to start issuing commands.

At first this seemed gimmicky, but when I started using it in my car it was incredibly useful, and allows you to safely wake the phone, and set reminders or have new messages read to you without your hands or attention being distracted from the road. An excellent feature. Siri also has some other enhancements, linking Shazam and iTunes purchases.

Check out this video with an overview of the new Siri features.

Find my iPhone – Send Last Location

A new setting in Find My iPhone allows the phone to send a ‘last known location’ back to iCloud just before it dies.

This will be incredibly useful for those who are unfortunate enough to have their phone stolen, or even those who simply lose their phone. Once the battery dies, instead of a “Location unknown” message, now you will see a last known location, along with the date and time of that data helping you narrow your search down.

find my iphone - last known location

So there you have it, I’m still digging around in iOS8 so if I find anything else useful I’ll post it here.

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk