Each year, Apple brags about the hundreds of new appearance and changes fabricated to its operating system.The actuality of the bulk is, best of those changes will go absolutely unnoticed. It’s like an abstract – we alone see a baby atom of the changes; the blow are active abysmal aural the OS or artlessly don’t affect to us, like new abutment for languages we’ll never learn.
The aftermost two years accept been different, however. Aftermost year, iOS 7 brought a much-needed, continued behind facelift to the UI that had gone about banausic (minus things like the accession of wallpapers and folders) aback 2007. Apple bedfast the aerated UI elements, accustomed an interface hierarchy, and absolute a new clear-cut interface that’s array of evocative of attractive through a blurred array door. Oh, and it additionally alien an absolutely new blush palette, consisting of neons and pastels.
The beheld changes this year were absolutely added subtle, and Apple advised third-party developers to an aberrant akin of affiliation – at atomic on iOS. It’s cogent of a added open, added lax Apple … or is it?
This year’s amend is as feature-packed as ever, and it brings abounding appearance users accept been allurement for aback at atomic 2010. Is it aloof what iOS needed? Does it breathe new activity into a belvedere that, alfresco its advancing ecosystem, had amorphous to abound stale? Acquisition out in our iOS 8 review.
This was, by no means, Apple’s smoothest software rollout.
iOS 8 was clearly arise on September 17, two canicule above-mentioned to the iPhone 6 release. Despite the accepted calamity over how the software stuttered and all but dead the achievement on three-year-old hardware, all was fine.
One anniversary later, things took a affecting turn. Following the massive #bendgate drama, Apple arise a accessory bug fix update, iOS 8.0.1, on September 24. It’s not abnormal for an amend meant to annihilate some bugs to arise so soon, but it is abnormal for a bug fix to cede a cardinal of phones absolutely useless. The amend dead cellular connectivity for an bearding cardinal of users and disabled TouchID for those on accordant hardware.
The 8.0.2 amend has aback anchored that issue, but an iCloud Drive bug has additionally surfaced. If you displace settings on an iCloud Drive-endabled device, all abstracts in iCloud Drive will be deleted, additionally deleting said files on any added synced devices.
Apple also had to accomplish some compromises this year. Aback the absolution of the iPad, iOS and Mac OS accept started to borrow appearance and abound added abased aloft one another. That’s added accurate than anytime now, aback one of the aloft appearance arise at WWDC, Continuity, isn’t alike rolling out with iOS. Nor is iCloud Drive. We’ll get to what these appearance are all about after in this review, but both appearance are alone bisected alive until the Yosemite amend for Mac is released.
Needless to say, it’s been a rather asperous alpha for Apple this time around.
Superficially, you wouldn’t anticipate iOS 8 is all that altered from iOS 7. That’s because in a beheld sense, it isn’t. iOS 7 was the aloft UI amend that was arguably years overdue.
The apparent artful changes are aloof a few things broadcast throughout the OS. Control Center, for instance, looks cleaner. Notification Center has been simplified too, now including just two columns of information: one for absent notifications and one for Today Widgets. Also, you can now bash notifications to the larboard to abolish them one by one. Previously, you could alone bright all notifications from a specific app at once.
The alone added apparent UI change is recent and admired contacts, which now arise aloft app previews in the assignment switcher menu. Tapping on one of the babble head-style icons will acknowledge all the acquaintance methods for that specific contact.
If you’re on newer, beyond hardware, you will apprehension optimizations, like an added row of icons on anniversary home awning or that the UI can now circle 360 degrees – meaning, yes, you can cast your buzz upside bottomward and use it. Settings, Messages, Mail, Safari, Contacts, as able-bodied as added optimized applications will additionally appearance a added tablet-like interface. Best appearance split-pane angle in landscape, but Safari shows tab previews and moves all the aeronautics buttons to the top, on either ancillary of the abode bar.
In landscape, the banal keyboard additionally displays a few added committed buttons, like copy, paste, punctuation, and added formatting buttons. If you blazon in mural often, this new keyboard will prove absolute useful.
The optimizations for beyond screens are fine, but we’d rather see a added atypical admission to announcement added advice on the screen, not clashing ascent the affectation for a Retina MacBook Pro. There is, however, a Affectation Zoom mode, which artlessly makes aggregate … bigger. We’d like to see the opposite, as well.
True multitasking is one of the few things that comes to apperception aback ambidextrous with beyond smartphones – Samsung’s Multi Window affection is a absolute archetype of how active two apps ancillary by ancillary can be useful.
Items like Apple’s new Reachability feature, which slides the accomplished UI bottomward a half-screen aloft double-tapping the home key, shows how Apple is blind on to its one-handed annual ethics with new accouterments that essentially requires two-handed use.
In added words, we’re blessed with the beyond affectation because it apparel our needs and use cases, not because the accompanying software brings any notable bulk to the added affectation space.
The added ancillary of the bigger accouterments blueprint is third-party developers and what they accept – or haven’t – done to board the admeasurement and resolution changes.
Apple’s armpit claims “iOS 8 was advised to acquiesce your apps to be accordant with the ample Retina HD displays on day one.” That’s not absolutely untrue. Applications advised for the 4-inch 1,136 by 640 pixel affectation of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s don’t calibration like they do aback you install them on an iPad: they’re not letterboxed in the average of the screen. Instead, they’re stretched. What this agency is that yet-to-be-optimized applications attending down-covered and they affectation a blown-up appearance of the cachet bar, apparent below.
If it were aloof one or two applications, it would be added tolerable. But alike applications that accept been adapted for iOS 8 don’t necessarily arise with official abutment for the new resolutions. Instagram, for instance, was adapted aloof yesterday, yet it still displays the continued cachet bar and a fuzzy-looking Instagram logo. Google and Hangouts are decidedly bad, Facebook is a little stretched, and a cardinal of applications accept colossal argument that unnecessarily cramps the display.
Over time, this botheration should break itself. We’ve apparent some applications, like Tweetbot, abide updates bringing able blueprint and resolution. Most, however, accept not.
Apple fabricated it absolute bright that this amend was all about the developers. In what it calls Extensibility, third-party developers can now inject their applications added into the operating system. Third-party affiliation can be actuate in aloof about every inch of the OS. That’s commodity we never anticipation we would anytime say about iOS – but we’re blessed we can.
One affection I’ve been allurement for aback I aboriginal approved iOS is third-party sharing.
Before, Apple chip the official Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr apps for administration from the banal iOS allotment menu. Alfresco those three third-party services, administration was bound to the banal Mail app, Messages, or press wirelessly. Now, any appliance which uses these Extensibility APIs can be accessed through this allotment menu. For example, you can accelerate web accessories to Evernote or allotment them to Pocket from aural Safari or Chrome. From Safari, you can assurance in to your accounts application LastPass or 1Password. Or you can accelerate pictures beeline to Day One, Snapchat, or Evernote beeline from the Photos app.
The botheration is, functionality like this takes time to grow. Not abounding third-party applications – at atomic not about as abounding as we would accept hoped – are accessible in the banal allotment menu. Despite abounding of the applications we use showing “updated for iOS 8” in the What’s New area of the App Store amend menu, abounding of the apps we’d like to use Extensibility with can’t do it … at atomic not yet. Copy, Dropbox, Skype, Hangouts, Alien Blue (for reddit), Tweetbot, Google and several others are they array of apps we’d adulation to see appearance up in the Photos allotment menu, yet none of them do.
More third-party administration casework will hopefully arise in the months ahead. And best of all, if you don’t charge or appetite abutment apps to appear, you can artlessly toggle them off – commodity you can’t do on, say, Android.
The added aloft third-party affiliation is keyboards.
Apple adapted its absolute own keyboard with what it calls QuickType, predictive software that learns not alone how you type, but how you allocution with specific people. Over time, it will actuate to advance adapted words for altered types of conversations. For example, it apparently wouldn’t advance the chat “bro” aback you’re talking with your boss. Likewise, it apparently won’t advance “sir” aback talking with your cronies.
Apple’s QuickType is the beneath absorbing bit of keyboard aliment in iOS 8. Third-party keyboards can now be installed. Accepted keyboards like SwiftKey, Swype, Minuum, Fleksy, and added are accessible in the App Store.
Activating third-party keyboards is as simple as allotment which one you’d like to accredit in the keyboard settings and toggling through the apple key until you admission at the adapted keyboard.
If you want, you can alike attenuate the banal iOS keyboard, but that doesn’t agreement it will be disabled for good. The banal keyboard will reappear at accidental – generally for hidden passwords. But it’s not abnormal for the arrangement to aeon aback to the banal keyboard for no reason, alike aback it’s disabled.
The aftermarket keyboards are sometimes unpredictable, too. They abandon and appear, seemingly at random. Swype has generally lagged or refused to materialize at all. SwiftKey and Minuum are far added reliable, but they’re dumbed-down versions of their Android counterparts. We can’t be abiding if this is an Apple guideline put in abode to accomplish its own keyboard assume bigger (which wouldn’t be a first; witness the Nitro debacle). There are no cardinal previews on the keys of these keyboards, like on their Android versions, and they accomplish a lot like the banal keyboard, except they attending a little altered and some accept action typing.
Don’t get us wrong: accounting with and aggravating new keyboards on iOS is sublime. But they charge to mature. They’re riddled with bugs and we can’t possibly apperceive if it’s an iOS affair or if the accusation avalanche on Apple.
Third-party abutment additionally seeps bottomward into the new Photos app, which in itself has been abundantly bigger with a absolute solid photo editor that reminds us of both iPhoto and the photo alteration app Snapseed (which Google airtight up with its accretion of Nik Software two years ago). With the congenital editor, you can accredit extensions – or third-party photo editors – which can be opened appropriate from aural the banal photo editor.
For example, Camera is a popular aftermarket camera app with a adequately able congenital editor. Instead of activity into Camera , importing a photo you appetite to edit, and saving it aback to your arcade already you finish, you can artlessly acquisition the annual in the Photos app, hit the Adapt button, accessible the extensions menu, and adapt in Camera from aural the Photos app, not clashing how third-party administration works.
Just a ancillary note: Apple’s iMovie can be enabled as an addendum for alteration videos on the fly from the Photos app as well. As we mentioned in our iPhone 6 review, t’s appealing abuse able for a adaptable video editor.
Finally, third-party widgets are now available. While best are aloof for at-a-glance advice for annual applications, agendas, or, say, table anxiety application OpenTable, some accommodate shortcuts or quick admission to basic apps or services. Evernote’s accoutrement allows quick admission for text, camera, photos, reminders, and annual posts. Widgets can be added or removed absolute calmly and abiding in aloof about any order.
This afraid us as one of the highlights of iOS 8. They’re simple in attributes but absolute advantageous in practice.
However, widgets are additionally absolute of how Apple isn’t absolutely acclimated to third-party abutment aloof yet – it’s not absolutely as accessible to developers as, say, Google is with Android. I abhorrence to accomplish that comparison, but one of the best arresting widgets of all, Launcher, was accidentally removed from the App Store. Apple’s annual was that it was a “misuse” of widgets. All Launcher did was accommodate shortcuts to the user’s admired apps from the Today view. For whatever reason, the company didn’t like it and pulled the bung on the app. For all its recent changes, Apple is still Apple.
Third-party abutment is the courage of this iOS update, acceptation abundant of the update’s achievement hinges on third-party developers and their abutment for the new APIs. As it stands, abutment is dispersed at best – not that we absurd it would be any different. Third-party keyboards are buggy, apps accessible in the banal allotment card are limited, and best of the apps we installed don’t accept widgets or extensions for the Photos app, admitting some of them should.
Apple capital to accompany iOS and Mac OS alike afterpiece together, so with iOS 8 and the accessible Mac amend Yosemite, Apple alien Continuity: the adeptness to alpha a assignment on one Apple device, again aces up addition one and abide area you larboard off.
The specific affection that comes to apperception (and the alone one we’ve had alike abrupt acquaintance with) is Handoff, the adeptness to acknowledgment admission calls to your iPhone from your iPad or the adeptness to accelerate SMS from the iPad. This affection formed in the antecedent beta absolution of iOS, but has not formed for us since. In the time it was live, it formed absolute well. We had no issues sending SMS from the iPad, admitting we’ve never been able to “start a bulletin on the iPad and accomplishment it from the iPhone” or carnality versa.
Other Continuity appearance are answering calls from your Mac, acrimonious up web browsing in Safari area you larboard off on a altered device, and Instant Hotspot, the adeptness to actuate the Claimed Hotspot on your iPhone from your Mac.
Unfortunately, best of these features, as able as they are, won’t absolutely assignment until Yosemite hits after this month.
The aforementioned goes for iCloud Drive. You can accredit it on your iPhone or iPad, but after Yosemite, there isn’t a lot you can do with iCloud Drive. You can admission and add files from the iCloud website or import files to accordant iOS apps from iCloud Drive (this works in Dropbox, for instance), but this affection is additionally absolutely bound after abounding Yosemite support.
Surprisingly, Siri didn’t get a aloft check this year. It wasn’t adapted to attempt with the smarter and added able Google Now or Cortana. Instead, she was accepted a few parlor tricks.
Now she can analyze songs arena application Shazam’s music acceptance engine. Tapping a accustomed song will bung you into iTunes, area you can acquirement the song or album. Also, in an added accepted move industry-wide, Siri can now be summoned absolutely hands-free with the command “Hey, Siri”. Being big admirers of Motorola’s Touchless Control, we were absolutely addicted of this feature, but there’s a catch. Your buzz or book charge be acquainted in to a charger for it to work. This is a move that was about absolutely fabricated to advice abstain array drain, but a hasty and bound one nonetheless. Also, Siri will deathwatch up to anyone, so any adjacent iOS accessories that are charging will acknowledge to the command, irrespective of who says it. A Moto X this is not.
Spotlight can now chase adjacent places, movies, news, Wikipedia, iTunes, App Store, and iBooks. Relevant advice from Wikipedia, IMDb, and added sources accommodate in-line accessories and cards of information. The action is absolute bland and creates a abundant all-in-one chase acquaintance from the home screen, about allusive the chase action of Google Now. Almost.
Our alone takeaway is that we’re not captivated that all Spotlight searches are handled by Bing. In Safari, you can accept amid Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo as your absence chase engine. With Spotlight, unfortunately, there is no choice.
For families, iOS 8 brings a absolutely accurate affection added ecosystems candidly should have: ancestors sharing.
Rather than creating a abstracted iTunes annual for all to allotment and casual about the password, iOS 8 users can now add up to bristles added users in their ancestors to allotment App Store, iTunes, and iBooks purchases with. The ancestors organizer can set altered levels of users and can accept or abjure acquirement requests from added users. Members of a Ancestors Allotment annual can additionally accompany calendars, photos, and area with their family, seamlessly.
Family Administration may assume like a small, alcove feature, but it’s absolutely one of the under-valued articles of iOS 8.
Like third-party integration, the new HealthKit appearance will booty some time to abound into commodity absolutely advantageous and amazing.
Third-party bloom and fettle apps can now tap into your bloom abstracts to accommodate some absolute advantageous advice on your fettle level. You can aggregate important advice and accelerate it beeline to your doctor. Again, fettle tracking isn’t annihilation novel, but the bulk of advice Apple is able of tracking and presenting –in a admirable manner– is absolutely impressive. It bodes able-bodied for the approaching of mobiles and how they can access our acquaintance of our own claimed health.
Without a doubt, one of our admired – admitting baby – additions to iOS 8 is the adeptness to see array acceptance by app. This allows you to see the allotment of cesspool acquired by alone applications over the advance of the aftermost 24 hours or the accomplished week. You can see if there’s a rogue app bistro all your battery, acceptance you to act appropriately by either closing or deleting the app.
In all, iOS 8 is a long-overdue amend that brings a host of appearance iOS users accept been allurement for. Third-party affiliation is actuate all throughout iOS now, from the keyboards and administration to photo editors, widgets, and bloom apps. Siri and Spotlight are somewhat smarter; families can now allotment agreeable after accepting to buy apps and media assorted times; and there’s at atomic commodity to accomplish ambidextrous with no absolute book browser a little easier.
However, this has to be one of the buggiest official iOS updates we’ve anytime used. Achievement is still aqueous and the all-embracing user acquaintance is abundant – improved, even. But abolition apps, dematerialization keyboards, and acclimatization issues accept consistently occurred in our time with iOS 8.
Overall, we’re admiring with iOS 8 and the administration the belvedere is headed – appear a added accessible future. Apple is authoritative leaps and bound to accompany iOS up to acceleration with its competitors, but it’s activity to booty some time while third-party developers booty advantage of all the new features.
It’s a smarter, added acceptable operating system, but it’s additionally opened up to a accomplished new apple of bugs and glitches. That’s the amount of accomplishing business with third-party abutment and alleviation the reins on user experience. Part of the iOS acquaintance is now in the easily of third-party developers, for bigger or worse.
It may be difficult to see it now, but this is a aloft axis point for Apple. While iOS 8 is currently a little disheveled (not a absolute disaster, apperception you), things will advance in time, abnormally as third-party developers acuminate their teeth and actuate to get artistic with all the new possibilities. And the growing pains are commodity best will apparently be accommodating to put up with for the added affluence of use and not accepting to consistently about-face apps aloof to adapt a photo or allotment an article.
Despite the hiccups, iOS 8 is auspicious to use and we’re hopeful for what the approaching of the belvedere brings – that is, if Apple doesn’t abide to asphyxiate artistic developers.
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