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My Favorite iOS 8 Features

By now you should be running iOS 8 on your iPhone and iPad. This update introduces a lot of new features to the mobile operating system with fastest adoption rate in history. Today I’m going to share some of my favorite iOS 8 features — excluding the extensions I’ve talked about before.


Safari in iOS 8

Managing multiple tabs in Safari is difficult with touch control since it requires a precise control to tap on the small close button beside each tab. With Safari in iOS 8, you can pinch in to show all the active windows in an Exposé-like manner. Safari will group the windows under the same site when the number of tabs is four or more. Flick the window to the left to close it, or you can tap and hold to separate and rearrange them into different position.

If you have active tabs in other devices, such as iPad or Mac, it’ll appear as iCloud Tabs as list view at the bottom.

Shared Links is my favorite feature in Safari. This feature is available in Safari for iOS which you can toggle by tapping the bookmark icon in address bar. Beside viewing the links by your social networks, you can also subscribe to feeds by navigating into Subscriptions button.

This update introduces DuckDuckGo, a popular search engine that emphasizes on searchers’ privacy, as one of the default choice. If you care about your online privacy, you should set it as your default search engine.


Messages Details View

You can now choose how long Messages keeps the history of your conversation. This solves the problem where iPhone or iPad runs out of space because those attachments such as images, audios, and videos takes up your limited storage capacity. You can find this option in Settings » Messages » Keep Messages.

The most wonderful feature in Messages is the new Details section that contains an individual option to share your location, turn on Do Not Disturb, and view the summary of attachments.

While Find My Friends is a great solution for sharing our current position indefinitely, I find that it’s too complicated for a meetup that happens once in a while. It’s also a great quick way to share your meeting location with clients or acquaintances you’ve agreed to meet.

The Do Not Disturb is useful to mute conversation you rather check out when you’re free, or you can just leave the conversation. The small moon icon will show up beside the conversation when you turn on Do Not Disturb feature.

Sending audio message is a breeze. Just hold the speaker button and speak your message. Review the recorded audio before sending it out. This is such a wonderful feature to converse in the language where typing is such a bother.

iBooks, Podcasts, and Tips

iBooks in iOS 8

I’m sure not everyone uses iBooks, Podcasts, or Tips, but I’m sure there is no reason for getting outraged because Apple has made them non-removable. These default apps are made default for a reason. You can use them or ignore them like the Photo Booth, Notes, and Reminders app.

iBooks receives an interface overhaul and no longer sports the classic wooden bookshelf — the background blends with the wallpaper. It follows the consistent layout as App Store, iTunes Store, and Podcasts where store, featured, and top charts are found in tab bars.

The feature I love the most from the iBooks update is the addition of Auto-Night Theme that’ll switch the theme to Night theme when you’re in dark environment, and revert to White theme when you’re in bright environment. This feature is one step ahead of other apps such as Instapaper where it uses the location to choose the theme.

Tips is a new app designed to educate users with series of new iOS 8 features. Most users don’t take time to read articles and learn their way to master iOS, so I believe it’s a great approach taken by Apple to guide them leverage the available features.


  • You can customize Mail swipe gesture option in Settings » Mail, Contacts, Calendars » Swipe Options. Instead of flagging the emails, you can choose other type of action such as Archive or Mark as Read.

  • System Language & Region have their own setting. Before iOS 8, region format follows the system language setting and causes the finance apps use USD as default currency. With this new option, I can have English as system language and keeps the default currency in IDR.

  • Battery Usage lets you view the battery usage for the last 24 hours or 7 days so you can which apps use most of the battery since the last full charge. It’s also a great way to see how you spend time while using iPhone or iPad.

  • Storage Usage shows the original size of the app and the amount of documents it creates. You can use this as a sign whether an app is poorly designed.

  • Alternate Calendar is such a great option to help me converse with my mum who speaks in the context of lunar calendar. Now I can speak at the same level as her. By the way, Chinese New Year is on February 19, 2014.


As I use iOS 8 for the last two weeks, I realize this update will change the way I use iPhone and iPad. No longer I need to switch between apps to reply a message or edit photos. Some people will claim that those features are already available in Android. True. But what makes Apple “Apple” is not how fast they add features to their operating system. It’s the attentiveness they put into their product plan that connects all their products seamlessly. It results in the robust and perfect mobile operating system that‘ll last in a long game of fast-changing world of mobile development.