How to master Messages in iOS 8

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Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Tons of new features make iOS 8's Messages app more powerful than ever. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

I’ve pretty much become a full-time texter these days, using Apple’s Messages app on my Mac and iPhone to send iMessages (to friends and contacts who use iOS or OS X) as well as regular text messages (to people outside the Apple ecosystem).

iOS 8 brings great new changes to the mobile version of the Messages app, some of which might not be immediately apparent. Here’s a look at the new features and how best to use them.

How to use iOS 8 like a boss

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How much is your smartphone spying on you? Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Make the most of iOS 8 with these tips and tricks. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

You don’t need a new iPhone to enjoy the awesome power of iOS 8. Loaded with new features and built-in apps, Apple’s latest mobile OS is its most powerful yet.

As intuitive as it is, there are plenty of tips and tricks that will help you truly get the most out of iOS 8 — even starting before you pull the trigger on the free upgrade. Just in case you don’t feel like reading all 182 pages of Apple’s official iOS 8 user guide, here’s a roundup of Cult of Mac’s most helpful iOS 8 tips and tricks. (We will update this post as we dive deeper into iOS 8 in coming weeks.)

These are the best messaging apps on iOS

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Cult of Mac runs on Slack. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
It's an iOS messaging shootout! Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

I recently watched The Lady try to convince a friend of ours to download WhatsApp. The friend is moving to the United Kingdom, and we want to stay in touch. Our friend tried to say that email would do the job, but we all know that will never work.

Our friend doesn’t want WhatsApp (maybe because it’s owned by Facebook), and she doesn’t own an iPhone, so iMessage is out. Thankfully, there are plenty of free and good alternatives. Some are more secure, some have more features, and none of them is owned by Facebook.

Let’s take a look at what’s available and how these very different messaging apps compare on a number of key features.

See how iOS 8 lets you connect with friends faster than ever

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The upcoming release of iOS 8 brings many new features that will dramatically improve everyday use of iPhones and iPads. While currently contacting your friends can be an annoyingly long process because you must open apps and search through contact after contact, a new feature in iOS 8 eliminates this common hassle.

In today’s video we show how iOS 8’s new quick contacts feature will make contacting your most recent friends much easier. After you update to iOS 8, simply double-click the home button to enjoy this new functionality.

Subscribe to Cult of Mac TV on YouTube to catch all our latest videos.

Facebook’s iOS app will soon get rid of Messaging for good

Are you game?
Are you game?
Photo: Facebook

For at least the last year, rumor has had it that Facebook would soon require anyone who wished to message a friend through its official iPhone app to install a tertiary app, Facebook Messenger, instead.

Up until now, Facebook has held off on that threat. But as the social networking giant tries to spread its services across an entire ecosystem of apps, it looks like the House that Zuckerberg built might finally make good.