Everything you need to know about iOS 8

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iOS 8 was finally revealed today in San Francisco and while iOS 7 represented a huge visual overhaul of Apple’s mobile OS, its newest iteration is stuffed fuller than a Thanksgiving turkey, boasting new features that make it quicker, more productive and more integrated than ever before.

It’s the biggest update since the invention of the App Store and not only has Apple added tons of developer tools for home automation, beefy gaming performance and extensions galore, there’s a lot of slick new apps and additions that will earn raves from fans once it drops later this fall.

Here’s a GIFtastic tour of the biggest features coming soon to an iPhone or iPad near you:

Photos

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Along with new editing features that give users more control over exposure, shadows and color, Apple is making the Photos app better by adding the ability to search based on location, time or albums.

iCloud Photo Library ensures all your edits are automatically synced between devices. You can favorite photos to keep track of your best ones and if you don’t have enough storage Apple will boost you up to 200GB for $3.99 a month or $1.99 a month for 20GB.

Messaging

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Snapchat, Whatsapp and every other disappearing messaging service were put on notice with some huge upgrades to iMessages today that add the ability to not only send quick video and voice messages, but also the option to make them expire.

iOS 8 adds a new Tap to Talk feature that lets you share video and photos with a simple gesture. Annoying group messages are a thing of the past now too with the option to leave a conversation, label threads, add/remove contacts mid-convo, and the option to add DND to specific threads.

QuickType & Third-Party Keyboards

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Composing messages takes on new forms in iOS 8 with the introduction of a new predictive typing feature dubbed QuickType, that gives users personalized suggestions by taking context into account, making sending off quick notes is quicker than ever.

For those with Android-envy, Apple is bringing third-party to the new update as well so you can Swype with the best of them, or you can find a keyboard where you actually understand when the Shift key is on.

HealthKit

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HealthKit is Apple’s answer for the wave of wearable fitness devices that sync with your iPhone.

The Health app compiles all of your favorite fitness stats in one easy to read application – heart rate, blood pressure, weight, activity, calories consumed and more.

Mayo Clinic and a host of other medical companies are onboard with the HealthKit to give patients better care so your doctor can keep tabs on your lazy ass from the comfort of his office and share it with other doctors – as long as you give him permission of course.

Family Sharing

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Got a ton of apps you wanna share with friends and family without giving them your iTunes ID info? Apple’s new Family Sharing lets you share your apps with up to 6 different people so they can enjoy all your apps without buying them on their own.

The feature ties your credit card to their account, but don’t worry about kids going on a spending spree. iOS 8 will ask you for permission to download apps so your toddler doesn’t run up a high bill.

App Store revamp

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One of the most welcomed additions in iOS 8 is the overhaul of the App Store with new searching features, more categories to pinpoint what you want, and endless scrolling on search results.

Developers also get the ability to make video previews of their apps so you get a better idea what you’re buying, and if you’d like to test new apps, the new TestFlight feature gives devs the ability to send you access. Oh, and there’s finally going to be App Bundling so you can score big deals on a handful of apps at once.

Extras

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iOS 8 is full of tiny tweaks as well. Notification Center now lets users reply to messages from the NC panel. The camera app picked up the ability to set separate focus and exposure points. Handoff will let you seamlessly start a project on your iPhone and finish it on your Mac.

Touch ID can now be used with third-party apps so you never have to enter your password again. Siri can now be pulled up just by saying “hey Siri,” rather than pressing the homebutton. Phone calls can be answered from your Mac, and AirDrop is now compatible between iPhones and Macs.

Like previous betas of iOS, all the features in the iOS 8 beta 1 are subject to change as Apple tweaks and refines the experience, but based on the sampling of today’s offerings and the added APIs for developers, iOS 8 will be the biggest update in years once it’s available later this fall.

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About the author

Buster HeinBuster Hein is Cult of Mac's Social Media Editor. Hailing from Roswell, New Mexico, but now spending his days in Phoenix, Arizona, he wastes most of his time eating burritos and reading Spanish romance novels. Twitter: @bst3r.

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