If you're like me, you spend a lot of time each day dealing with email. The new swiping gestures available for marking and flagging email messages in iOS 8 can save you some of that time. An earlier tip by Sarah Kingsbury explained how to swipe left to quickly delete messages. But you can also use swiping gestures to mark emails as read or unread or to flag them for followup, as well as every other function, such as forwarding or moving to another folder.
iOS 8 finally brought the ability to customize the iPhone and iPad interface by allowing you to add widgets to the Today screen in Notification Center. In an earlier post, I explained the simple steps for doing this. You simply swipe down from the top of the display to view the Notification Center and tap on the Edit button at the very bottom. This reveals widgets that are associated with apps that you already have installed on your device. You simply tap on the green button to add a widget.
Vidget (free) is different. Instead of being an app such as ESPN Sport Center with an associated widget, its sole function is to let you easily add a bunch of widgets to your Today screen, with about 20 different widgets currently available.
While each new version of iOS introduces plenty of new features, sometimes Apple just changes the way things are done, often without any explanation. One such example is Private Browsing. Previously, there was a Privacy button at the bottom of Safari, when viewing an index of favorites. With iOS 8, that's gone.
If you like to use the camera on your iPhone or iPad, one of the features you'll appreciate in iOS 8 is the ability to recover deleted photos. When you delete a photo, it remains available in the Recently Deleted album on your device for 30 days. If you decide that in fact you want to save a photo you deleted, you can easily recover it.
If you're concerned about battery life, you'll want to check out the new feature in iOS 8 that lets you see what apps are using your battery the most. This usage can simply result from your using an app a lot, but other times apps have background processes that drain the battery or the app isn't working properly. This feature gives you a clearer picture of what's going on.
I constantly use tabs in Safari. When I'm viewing a page and see a link I want to read — but without closing the page I'm currently on — I tap and hold the link to open it in a new tab. I sometimes have as many as a half dozen tabs open. And nothing is more frustrating than inadvertently closing a tab when it's something I haven't yet read. Fortunately, if that happens to you, there's a simple way to re-open recently closed tabs.
Access Control is one of the late-breaking features added to the Swift language. It allows you to specify the parts of your code you want to make public, and the parts you want to hide. It's an important tool in creating easy-to-use, and easy-to-understand interfaces.
You've probably had the experience of listening to the radio and wondering the name of the song that's playing—maybe it's new to you and you're wondering who the artist is, or maybe it's familiar but you can't remember the name. Now with iOS 8, Siri can help. In the past, you could ask Siri to identify music playing on your device, but with iOS 8 you can ask Siri to identify any ambient music. And, conveniently, Siri also makes it easy to purchase the song or album.
Can Apple read your mind? With iOS 8, it looks like it! Apple has caught up with Android and other platforms that offer a form of predictive Text called QuickType. This means, when composing text, your iOS device will suggest words that it thinks you want to use. While AutoCorrect guessed at a word, based on the letters you type, QuickType predicts what word you might type next based on the context of your message or document.
Among the many new features of iOS 8 is grayscale mode. Why would you want your display to appear gray rather than in colors? There are two main reasons. First, for those who are color blind, items such as menus may be hard to distinguish if they rely on color to stand out from a background. Grayscale can make the display more readable for them. And second, if your battery is running low and you know that it will be a while before you'll have the opportunity to charge it, grayscale can extend battery life.
In this second part of my two-part post on Demystifying Swift's Initializers, I explain the concepts of initializer chaining, two-phase initialization, and initializer inheritance using hands-on examples that walk you through some of these deeper concepts. You can read part 1 of this post at this link.
If you would like to follow along and perform the step-by-step instructions with this post (highly recommended) you can download the project we have completed so far at this link.
Apple's new iOS 8 is great, and one of those great new features is Continuity. With Continuity, users of multiple Apple products can take a phone call on one device and switch to another on the fly. I typically leave my iPhone docked at the entrance to my house and then I work upstairs on my MacBook. When the phone rings, I have to make a mad dash to answer it. Now I can take the call on my iPad. And soon, with Mac OS X Yosemite, I can answer the phone call on my MacBook!
Forget running downstairs to where you left your iPhone, take the call on your iPad or iPod instead (as long as you have later-model devices running iOS 8).
You probably already know you can call a phone number from within an email by tapping on the number. But did you know that you can now quickly add the phone number to Contacts as well?
Now that Apple has officially released Xcode 6 and the NDA has been lifted, it's time to dive deeper into Swift—Apple's new language for building iOS apps. Learning how to properly use initializers in Swift can be daunting at first. Swift's requirement that all stored properties in a class are initialized adds complexity to the initialization process. In the first part of this two-part post I'm going to demystify initializers as I provide a hands-on approach to learning how to best implement initializers in your custom classes.
Siri can be quite useful, but if you really want a "Jarvis" kind of experience, like Tony Stark in Iron Man, you need to be able to interact with Siri without touching a button. Fortunately, iOS 8 makes this possible.
The iPhone 5s gave us Slo Mo video capture, where images are recorded at 120 FPS (Frames Per Second) and then played back at 30 FPS. But now the iPhone 6 offers Super Slo Mo, which captures 240 FPS. This will allow for some incredible action videos. I played with this new feature at my daughter's softball game and was able to analyze her swing and running essentially in real time. This could be a great boon to coaches and athletes, not to mention a lot of fun! Here's how to use it:
Until now, you could only use a self-timer with your iPhone camera via third-party apps that included the feature. It's surprising this was never a built-in option for users before, but either way, we’re happy it’s finally here!
Eager to upgrade to iOS 8, I connected my iPad to my computer and booted up iTunes. The iTunes software automatically backed up my iPad to my computer, as it usually does whenever I connect my iPad. Then I clicked on the update button and confirmed that I wanted to update to iOS 8. The update downloaded just fine, but then when it was installing I got a message on my computer that there was an unknown error. I looked at the screen of my iPad and nothing was happening in the progress bar. Basically it seemed frozen. I had to press the power button and home button simultaneously to force the iPad to shut down. Then when I restarted it, I got a message that I needed to restore to the original factory settings. Which I did by selecting that option in iTunes. Then once the iPad was restored to its original state, iTunes asked me if I wanted to set it up as a new iPad or to restore from the backup. I chose the latter, and when it was done, things were back to normal — and my iPad Air was running iOS 8.
Apple is great about making the latest operating system run on older equipment. But just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you should! There are reports from iPhone 4S owners that suggest they might have been better off without upgrading.
Want more? Get our weekly newsletter: