One of the useful new features of iOS 8 is the ability to view the desktop version of a website in Safari rather than the mobile version — saving me a lot of frustration. For years I’ve had a personalized Yahoo page that's well organized into three columns: 1) stocks, sports, weather, 2) top news, science news, Doonesbury, and 3) Apple news sites. So it was really disorienting when I would go to my Yahoo page on my iPad and all the news feeds would be in two columns with the order all jumbled up. The first time I used this new iOS 8 feature to request the desktop site, my response was: hallelujah!
Mail in iOS 8 has a lot of helpful features that make it easier for you to deal with the onslaught of email messages. In addition to the new swipe gestures covered in a previous tip, iOS 8 also offers a quick way to mark all email messages as read. If you've glanced down the list of messages in your Inbox and determined there's nothing needing your attention, this is a quick way to deal with them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Web pages are often cluttered with ads and menus, all of which can be distracting if you're just trying to focus on reading the text. Fortunately, Safari has a Reader Mode that removes all those distractions and presents the page's text and images in a simple and attractive fashion.