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What's new in iOS 8?

Posted on 03 May 2014

What's new in iOS 8?

Apple has unveiled iOS 8, the latest version of its mobile operating system, at the Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC). It's the biggest update to the software since Apple introduced the App Store and it'll be coming to your iPhone this autumn. So here are the best new features in iOS 8.

Typing will get much easier

Apple's keyboard has always been very accurate, but now it's going to be even easier to type on. QuickType is a new version of predictive text that'll suggest entire phrases. So if someone texts you to ask if you want to meet for dinner, your iPhone will suggest you reply "What did you have planned?" And it'll learn how you talk and type over time, giving you customised suggestions.

And if you decide that you need more features than the standard keyboard has, you can now install a third party one. It'll be just like downloading an app. SwiftKey, one of the most popular custom keyboards on Android, looks like it'll be the first to launch on iOS 8 and there'll be a lot more to choose from in a few months.

Complete health tracking is built in

iOS 8 comes with a new app, Health hub, that'll track you daily activities, calorie intake, sleep and anything else that fitness accessories will monitor. It'll automatically take data from smartwatches and fitness bands, like Nike's FuelBand, and put it together with data recorded by your iPhone to give you a complete picture of your health.

Siri has got even smarter

Siri will now be always-on, meaning you can wake it with a voice command instead of having to press the button. That'll let you use your iPhone completely hands free, which is great for driving. There's also built in song recognition that's powered by Shazam, so you can easily find out what song you're listening to and download it.

Your fingerprint will secure even more stuff

Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner has been opened up to third party apps. So you might soon be able to sign into Facebook or transfer money through your banking app by using just your fingerprint.

Notifications are more useful

Notifications are now interactive. So if you get sent a message in Facebook, you can reply to it without having to open up the app. There are also interactive widgets in the notification centre. One for eBay would show items that you've bid on, letting you see how much the item is, how long's left on the auction and even letting you increase your bid, all from the widget.

Find recent contacts more easily

When you double press the home button on iOS 8 to bring up your recent apps, you'll now also get a list of recent contacts across the top to make it easier to call or text your friends and family.

Share things with your family

iOS 8 now has Family sharing. It lets up to six people in your family share purchases from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store without sharing accounts. You pay for family purchases with the same credit card and can approve kids' spending right from a parent's iPhone. You can also easily share photos, a family calendar and more to help keep everyone connected.

Pick up on your Mac form where you left off on your iPhone

Handoff is a new feature that lets you keep doing stuff on your Mac that you started on your iPhone. You can be browsing a website on your phone and then open it in exactly the same place in Safari on your Mac. And it works with Apple Mail and iMessage too.

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You can learn more about the next great phones, even before they're announced, on our Launchpad Rumour pages. Or, head over to our YouTube channel to keep up with what's happening in the mobile world. We'll be at the best technology shows, get you all the news about the latest phones, and post video reviews of our favourite gadgets.

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