Apple touts iOS 8 as the best, biggest update to its popular operating system. While iOS 7 provided the biggest cosmetic changes, the most significant changes in iOS 8 are found under the hood, so many of them are not immediately obvious. iOS 8 presents plenty of exciting features but where it really shines concerns the hidden ones. If you have upgraded to Apple’s latest and greatest mobile OS or bought a new iPhone 6 / 6 plus, here are some iOS 8 hidden features you should know to further enrich your experience.
Find out which apps / processes are draining your battery
All apps and processes are not created equal, especially with regards to just how much battery they suck up. One of the most useful iOS 8 hidden features can tell you the exact battery usage for all apps that you have used. To access this particular feature navigate to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage. You’ll see a rundown of how long your device has been turned on and the battery usage of all the apps that have been running in the last 24 hours.
Change default search engine in Safari
Are you tired of Google knowing everything there is to know about you? If you are, then it’s a good thing that you can in fact change your default search engine while using Safari. To do this, go to Settings > Scroll down to Safari > Search Engine. Here there are a couple of alternatives to Google like Yahoo and Bing. However, perhaps the most interesting option here is DuckDuckGo. It claims as “the search engine that doesn't track you” which is good for those who have serious privacy concerns.
Find your iPhone even when it’s dead
Find my iPhone / Find my iPad are not-so-new features that helped many iDevice owners with their lost devices over the years. With iOS 8, this device-finding feature is now better than ever by enabling the users to track the lost device even when the battery has ran out or if it’s in a no-signal area. To access this iOS 8 hidden feature, just go to Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone / Find my iPad > and enable Send Last Location.
Add photos to Notes
The iOS Notes app has always been a bare-bones note-taking application, but it does get the job done. Fortunately, Apple has seen it fit to upgrade Notes in iOS 8 by adding the ability to insert photos. To add a photo in your note, just do a long-press on the screen and select ‘Insert Photo’. This is really useful when you want to include a photo on top of your typed details. Or it can save you plenty of time by simply taking a photo (like a news article or a phone book entry) and adding it into the note, instead of manually writing down the details.
Install a new keyboard
iOS users have been clamoring for a new keyboard for a long time now. iOS 8 marks the time that Apple finally grants that longtime request. In iOS 8, users have two options for new keyboards: SwiftKey (Free) and Swype ($0.99). Once you have downloaded your choice keyboard, navigate to Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards > Add New Keyboard > and select the keyboard that you wish to add and drag it on top of your list of keyboards.
Camera app timer
This one’s for the hardcore selfie enthusiasts! Gone are the days that you have to awkwardly tap the shutter button using your finger or thumb just to get that social media worthy selfie. The iOS 8 camera app now includes a countdown timer that you can set to 3 or 10 seconds. Simply launch the Camera app, tap the clock icon on the top menu, select either 3 or 10 seconds for the timer and tap the shutter. Say goodbye to goofy selfies!
Use Siri to identify songs
Shazam has always been the go-to app for identifying songs that you hear in some bar or diner. Now, Shazam has been integrated with Siri because you can now use Apple’s virtual assistant to identify songs. Activate Siri and simply say something like ‘Name that song’ or ‘What song is this?’ Siri will then listen and will display the name of the song, the artist, as well as the cover art. You are even given the option to purchase the track.
Hide undesirable or private photos
We’ve all been there! Casually letting other people borrow our phone, then they poke their noses on things that are none of their business like your Camera Roll. Then of course, they stumble upon some photos that we don’t want anyone to see. One of the more privacy focused iOS 8 features that you should know is the ability to hide photos. Just long press a photo and tap Hide. All hidden photos will be placed in a folder uncreatively called, Hidden. Just hope they don’t poke around that folder too!
Recover deleted photos
There are many ways to recover deleted iPhone photos, but most of them require a third-party software. But with iOS 8, users are at least given some level of control on deleted photos. Once you delete a photo, it will go into the Recently Deleted album. Browse this album and you will see the deleted images along with how many days left before it’s permanently deleted. If you want to recover a photo, just tap Recover. This is especially useful if you have accidentally deleted a photo and want to recover it.
Access app passwords in Safari
Another noteworthy entry to the many iOS 8 hidden features is that Safari can now gather passwords that you use within the device. To enable or disable this feature, go to Settings > Safari > Passwords > Autofill. From here, you should see all the passwords collated by Safari. To see these app passwords, the developers must enable this feature. Now, Safari will autofill your usernames and passwords.
What other iOS 8 hidden features we’ve missed? Tell us in the comments section.