iOS 8 Features: The Good, the Bad, and the Ehh

19th October 2014

iOS 8 Features: The Good, the Bad, and the Ehh

Apple is touting its iOS 8 release as ther “biggest release ever,” which is a big claim in light of the tremendous stir generated by all of the company’s major releases. Can the new operating system live up to the hype?

So far, the reception has been pretty good, but a lot of that comes from users who are frustrated with bugs in the previous version and just hope 8 fixes the problems. While all the bugs haven’t been made known yet in the latest release, there are some features getting rave reviews, while others are a bit lackluster. Here’s a breakdown of the features you’ll adore, and those you’ll probably want to shut off the day you upgrade.

The Good: iOS Features You’ll Love

iOS 8 makes it simpler and easier than ever to update the contact list in your new device. Instead of having to manually enter all the information you get through email (how many people take the time to do that?), iOS 8 will do it for you. When you get an email, the operating system scans the email for contact information that isn’t already in your address book. If phone numbers, email addresses, and such information is found, the OS gives you the option to automatically save that info in your contact list. This makes it easier than ever to keep up with changes when friends and colleagues switch jobs or change phone numbers.

Until recently, if you had bad reception but did have Wi-Fi access, you could still get good data but couldn’t get better phone reception. That’s changed. With iOS 8, you can use any available Wi-Fi connection to make and receive calls. It works much like FaceTime Audio.

iOS also gives you the option to keep iMessage messages more than a couple of minutes. Previously, messages were deleted automatically after two minutes, but now you can set the app to keep messages indefinitely.

The Bad: iOS Features You’ll Hate

The iOS, like most new operating systems, has its share of fans and haters. Haters just gone hate.

The Apple keyboard is frustrating all around. Unless you have a super-fine touch, you’ll be entering all sorts of things you didn’t mean to. While some users enjoy the predictive keyboard, if you’re not being super careful the results can be embarrassing or even detrimental. Avoid misunderstandings by proofreading before hitting send. The Swift Key app is a slight improvement, but doesn’t entirely fix the problem, and Swift Key doesn’t feature a voice mode.

The Tips feature defaults to “On,” but most users are familiar enough with Apple products to learn how to use their devices without much help. These tips get annoying when you’re trying to get something done. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn this feature off.

Family-sharing apps seems like a good idea. When one member of the plan gets a new app, everyone can access it, even if they have different Apple user IDs. But if your kids are into games and your spouse is constantly getting sports updates you care nothing about, this one can get annoying fast.

Parallax isn’t brand new with iOS 8, but it wasn’t popular with iOS 7, either. It makes the home screen appear 3-D when the device is moved from side to side. This makes a lot of users queasy, and sucks up battery power unnecessarily. Just shut this feature off and save your battery power for something useful.

The Ehh: iOS Features You Can Take or Leave

Some of the new features may be attractive to a few users, but are more or less useless to the rest. Airdrop, for instance, is an app that lets you share files and photos with other iOS users, but unless you have a use for it, it’s just sitting their sucking power.

It may seem easier to let your apps update automatically in the background, but unless they’re apps you need to keep updated continually, this is a good way to run up data charges and run down your battery. Turn the Background App Updates off to save data and power.

Most apps want your location, primarily so they can target you with aggressive advertising. It just isn’t safe anymore to share your location with just anyone. Turn off the Locations Services feature, and select which apps to share your location with on a one-on-one basis.

It’s also a good idea to spend a few minutes setting your Notifications when you get your new iOS device. You don’t want every game you ever played sending you notifications during meetings or dinnertime. Set the notifications to alert you of important stuff, and un-select those you don’t need to know about immediately.


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