Now that iOS 8 is out in the wild, I thought I’d share 5 features that are really cool and make iOS that much better. So in no particular order, here we go with 5 iOS 8 features that you don’t want to miss:
Turn on “Hey Siri”
Up until now if you wanted to use Siri, you had to hold down the home button to activate her. Now you can turn on the “Hey Siri” feature in the General Settings. If your iDevice is plugged into power (such as your car), you can just say “Hey Siri” and use Siri as you always do while keeping your hands where they are.
See which Apps are using up your battery
Now in iOS 8 you can go to Settings->General->Usage->Battery Usage and see which apps are using your battery life and the worst offenders.
3rd Party Apps can Now use Touch ID
If you have an iPhone 5s or iPhone 6/iPhone 6 plus then your home button is also a fingerprint scanner (Touch ID). In iOS 7 this could only be used to unlock your iPhone or allow you to download content from the iTunes store without having to enter a password. Now 3rd party apps can take advantage of this very secure “unlocking” method. On of my Favorite Apps, 1Password can now be unlocked with the touch of a finger! I couldn’t be happier.
Get 1Password here .
Attach multiple pics to a SMS/iMessage much easier
Now you can tap the camera button when composing a text message/iMessage and choose more than one picture from your camera roll without having to go back and forth between the message and the insert command. Bonus Tip: Sending an iMessage? If you hold down the Camera icon you can instantly record a video to send.
This is probably the feature I’ll use the most. Keyboard suggestions are awesome and more importantly iOS 8 learns and offer better suggestions based upon who you’re talking to.
I moved into my new place and needed to measure a window. Sure I have a very nice tape measure that was packed away in a box somewhere, but I needed to measure this window right now. I thought that there must be an app for that. Sure enough there are a few of them. However, the 1st ones I tried were only geared to measuring things that were no bigger than the screen on your iDevice. I needed an app that would allow me to measure several inches. Ruler Pro + fit the bill nicely. The app has a simple UI (user interface). Once you launch it, it displays a ruler on screen that is as long as your screen. However, once you line up your screen with the top of whatever it is you need to measure, just put one finger on your display and slide the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. The ruler will scroll. Lift your finger once you get the iDevice as far down as you can go for the next measurement and put your finger down again. Just keep doing this until you get to the end of whatever it is you’re trying to measure and you’ll have the measurement. The app worked perfectly! However, I do have one complaint. You’re limited to 50″. I can’t for the life of me figure out why it would be limited at all, let alone at 50″? I needed to measure about 80″, so I had to mark it at 50″ and start again to get the rest. Other than this one limit the app does exactly what it’s supposed to. If I could suggest a feature, it would be nice to tap and be able to have the app jot down the measurements as you take them. This would save me from having to switch to a different app to actually write down the measurements or use pen and paper.
You can get Ruler Pro + here from the
When Instagram opened up the door to allowing people to post short 15 second videos, all of a sudden you were able to see a little more into the lives of the people that you follow. The Instagram app itself allows you to record and post videos directly complete with trimming and effects. Sometimes you need a little more! So here are my top 3 picks for apps to have in your toolkit when it comes to posting videos on Instagram.
Hyperlapse from Instagram
This is Instagram’s newest app and it’s pretty cool. It let’s you record a longer video, but keep it to the 15 second max by allowing you to speed up the video. This is great for time-lapse, but without having to record for hours. Simply bring up the Hyperlapse app, press the record button to capture the motion in front of you and then once you’re done it will allow you to pick the speed. It will auto adjust the speed to keep it down to 15 seconds or less.
You can get it here as a Universal App for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
Crop Video Square Free
While Instragram now lets you post videos from other sources, unfortunately it offers nothing in terms of making the video fit the square aspect ratio of Instagram. Luckily there is this very cool app called Crop Video Square Free. It allows you to crop/size your videos down to fit perfectly on Instagram.
You can get it here for free
Instaweather Pro is a great app for posting nice weather information overlays over the pics you take and share. However, the latest version also lets you do this with videos too! You can create some cool weather broadcasts from your favorite spots and let Instaweather Pro do all the work of gathering the information and overlaying it on your video either in real time or afterwards. This is one of my favorite apps for Instagram and with the video feature it’s even more awesome.
You can get it here
Also see 9 Must Have Apps For Instagram Users
If you travel internationally then you know the joys of long Customs lines upon your return. It’s for this very reason that I signed up for Global Entry as soon as it was available. However, even without Global Entry, I always wondered why Customs was such an analog process. As your plane nears the United States, the flight attendants start handing out Customs forms. Of course most people don’t even have pens with them these days, but anyway you fill out the forms and then present them to a Customs agent after standing in a long line. They form asks the same basic questions about what you’re bringing back into the country.
Well now this process has finally gone electronic!
If you have the NEW Mobile Passport App you can now create a profile including taking a CURRENT photo of yourself (nope the app doesn’t allow you to choose one already saved on your iPhone), the same info that’s on your current passport and save it in the App with a pin number. You can then answer the questions in advance on your iPhone. It will create a digital receipt with a bar code that can be scanned at a kiosk upon your return, therefore bypassing the long lines. Since this is NEW, it has limitations. The first being the airlines. Currently (as of the writing of this review) it’s only supported on Aeromexico, Air Canada, Air France, Air Tran, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Lufthansa, KLM, Korean Airlines, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic. The second and perhaps the biggest limitation today is that it’s only supported at ONE airport and that’s nation’s busiest airport Atlanta (ATL). If that bugs you, just stay turned. These things take time to roll out. The same was the case with TSA PreCheck. It was only at a few airports at first and only supported by a couple of airlines. Now it’s at just about every airport I’ve flown through in the past year.
The Bottom Line
I’m happy to see this process go electronic for the masses! I don’t think this app will benefit me as a Global Entry member, but it will certainly help when I’m traveling with family members, friends and colleagues that aren’t in Global Entry. By the way, you still need to bring your Passport! This app is only to speed up your return. You still need your regular Passport/IDs for travel. Thanks Dave Helmly for the heads up on this app. The app is iOS only at this point with a “Soon on GooglePlay banner on the developer’s website”.
Sometimes your iPhone battery will drain at what you would consider a normal rate, throughout the day and other times it seems to be draining much faster than usual. After you’ve done the normal things such as lowering the screen brightness, if the excessive drain continues, then more than likely there is an App to blame that’s running in the background and sucking up all your juice. But which one? iOS 8 is supposed to let us know, but iOS 8 isn’t out yet. In the meantime, there’s an App called Normal: Battery Analytics. This app aggregates anonymous (with user permission of course) data from hundreds of thousands of users so that it can accurately pinpoint data hogs running on your device. Once the battery hogging app(s) have been identified it gives you recommended actions to take. In most cases you can simply quit (not just close) the app to resolve the problem. You can also turn off background App refresh in the offending apps.
I’ve been running this app for about a week now and it has made a difference. If you need to see which Apps are killing your iPhone battery, Normal will help.