• iOS 8 One year on.



    As I watch Apple announce the next version of iOS at every WWDC, I usually start trying to think how much useful each announced feature will be, and almost every year I overestimate the usefulness of certain features by the time the software is actually released. So with the release of iOS 9 just around the corner, I thought I'd look over what major iOS 8 features I thought I would use, and compared what I thought to how much I actually used them.

    Photos - New Tagging, Search and Editing features.

    When iOS 8 was announced, I doubted I would use any of these new photos features. I was a heavy iPhoto for iOS user, however with iOS 8 Apple has (sadly) blocked iPhoto from running. While I only occasionally used the editing features more beneficial (for me at least) has been the search function. The the inclusion of the time the photo was taken while browsing photos has also proven very useful. Tagging is something that I was correct in thinking I would never use, as it does not live up to the tagging functionality in iPhoto.

    Messages - Built in Find My Friends, Attachments Browser, Sound Bytes and Quick Send Photos and Videos.

    Messages has been a mixed experience. I love the built in find my friend, which I make frequent use of, which was something I definitely didnít expect. I also make use of the new attachments browser, but sound bytes and quick send photos and videos have not really been overly useful for me.

    General Changes - Interactive Notifications and Contact Shortcuts.

    Interactive notifications was one of my favourite parts of the iOS 8 preview. While I have found them very useful when it comes to built in messaging and mail, interactive notifications are very limited. The lack of integration 3rd party apps like Facebook has been a massive disappointment. Contact shortcuts in multitasking is something I forget to use as I have never found them overly useful, as I predicted.

    Mail - Drafts & Swipes.

    The new additions to Mail are amongst my favourite iOS 8 additions. Being able to view a past email while working on a new email is one of my most overused (iPad) features of iOS 8. Though I didnít think it would be the case, swiping away mail as trash or marking read/unread has also been fantastically useful.

    Safari - New sidebar and tab view (iPad).

    I was convinced the new sidebar for Safari was going to be a whole lot more useful then I have found it. While I prefer getting to my history and reading list though the sidebar, I donít use this feature nearly as much as I predicted. However, the new tab view has been a hit, as it makes tabbed internet browsing a whole lot easier and enjoyable.

    Keyboard - QuickType and Alternate Keyboards.

    I thought I would use these new features far more than I do. I sometimes use QuickType, however I never between 3rd party keyboards.

    Family Sharing.

    Being a 19 year old uni student, Family Sharing was never going to be a very useful feature for me! I already have a shared family reminders and calendar set up and the other features are just not overly useful to me.

    iCloud Drive.

    I thought iCloud drive was going to be the biggest and best new feature of iOS 8, however the way it was implemented leaves a lot to be desired. As a result, I have barely used it at all. Had it been in an individual app with some file management capabilities it would have been very useful, sadly that was not the case.

    Health.

    I make use of Garmin Connect and My Fitness Pal, so Heath hasnít been that useful to me, however I do have the Health ID set up which I think is a great idea. I wasnít too sure how this App would fit into my life when watching the keynote and the end result has been it hasnít really been helpful.

    Continuity - Handoff, Text and Call forwarding, Hotspots.

    Handoff was a feature that I assumed would get a lot of use, however that is far from the truth. Part of my issue with Handoff is that I have an iPad 2, so it only works with my iPhone 5, which I rarely feel the need to transfer work between devices from. In addition to that it requires Bluetooth, which I like to keep off for battery saving purposes, making turning it on at both ends too much of an ordeal for something that is meant to be simple and quick. In addition to that, I have never found it to be overly reliable.

    Text and Call forwarding is another story altogether. I assumed that I would use them both, however I didnít realise just how much I'd use text forwarding and how little I'd use call forwarding. I use text forwarding to text my Android (or basic phone) enabled friends constantly, finally making iMessage a consistent and complete experience. It turns out that I call people at home on my mobile very rarely, I prefer to use the landline for that, and very few people ring me on my phone anyway. Having said that when I know I will be making a long call, or a call to a call centre (like when Iím on a support hotline) I will call from my iPad or Mac.

    Finally the hotspot feature never worked for me, across 2 different iPads, 2 phones ( my iPhone has been replaced by Apple since iOS 8 came out), 2 MacBooks (My Macbook has also been replaced) and multiple software restores, so while I still assume it to be a feature I'd love to use, I never have been able to.

    Conclusion:

    So all in all, while I ended up never using some major iOS 8 features, the ones I have ended up using have made a positive impact on my iPad and iPhone usage. Many of the smaller changes that I have not discussed here have also been very helpful.

    Now you've heard what I do and donít use, compared to what I thought would be the case, given weíve had almost 1 year to get used to iOS 8, what do you MacTalkers use/not use from iOS 8?

    Comment and let us know

    ~ Oldmacs
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. Captain Stathi's Avatar
      Captain Stathi -
      I found continuity to be one of the best features, though it can be annoying when your phone, iPad, & mac start ringing at the same time when I'm at my desk.
    1. Oldmacs's Avatar
      Oldmacs -
      Quote Originally Posted by Captain Stathi View Post
      I found continuity to be one of the best features, though it can be annoying when your phone, iPad, & mac start ringing at the same time when I'm at my desk.
      In a way I wish it would be somehow smarter and know which one to ring out loud :P

      I know I'd find it far more useful if I used my iPhone for calls at home, as most of my calls are made out and about where there is no point :P
    1. simonm's Avatar
      simonm -
      The only new iOS 9 feature I'm interested in is Safari extensions. That could address some (but not all) the privacy concerns I have.
    1. Oldmacs's Avatar
      Oldmacs -
      Quote Originally Posted by simonm View Post
      The only new iOS 9 feature I'm interested in is Safari extensions. That could address some (but not all) the privacy concerns I have.
      You mean Safari content blockers?

      In iOS 9 I think the best features are the Picture in Picture, slide over and 2 app mode. Sadly my iPad 2 doesn't support any of them.

      The proper implantation of iCloud drive will also be good, as will the new iPad keyboard.
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