18 hidden iOS 8 features you probably didn’t know about



iOS 8 is the biggest release from Apple ever, with hundreds of new APIs and features that will completely change the way you use your iPhone. Features like Handoff, Health and Messages will be huge draws for customers looking for something new from iOS, but Apple’s engineers have also crammed dozens of new little features throughout the mobile OS.

Improved camera tools, battery statistics, new Safari tricks and more are included in today’s gigantic update, but you need to know where to look to find the true gems. Here’s a rundown of 18 incredible iOS 8 features you probably didn’t know about.

Locate battery-hogging apps


iOS lets you pinpoint which apps are killing your battery. To find out, just head to Settings >> General >> Usage >> Battery Usage.

Recover deleted photos

Deleted photos can now be recovered with the new Recently Deleted album in iOS 8. To retrieve any pics that were accidentally deleted just go to the Recently Deleted folder, select the photos you’re missing and tap recover.

Mark all iMessages as read


The Messages app in iOS 8 also has a new “Read All” option under the Edit feature so you can get rid of notifications without bothering to see what your momma just texted you. You can also choose to store messages for a 1 year, 1 month, or forever under the Settings menu.

Request desktop websites


Stop diddling with mobile websites on your iPhone. Safari picked up the ability to request desktop versions of websites. Tap the address bar and swipe up to find the new feature.

“Dark Mode”

Yosemite picked up a new Dark Mode and while iOS 8 doesn’t have the exact same feature, the new Grayscale mode in the Accessibilities settings will give you the next best thing by switching your gorgeous iPhone display into a black and white version.

Buy Shazam’d songs off Siri


Not only has Siri picked up the ability to recognize songs, via Shazam, but you can also purchase those songs in iTunes right from the Siri menu. It also works for any other iTunes content Siri pulls up, and you don’t even have to ask Siri “what song is playing?” to Shazam them. Just hold your home button and Siri will start analyzing the music after a few seconds of silence.

Organize iBooks by category or series


Apple decided to make iBooks a default app in iOS 8 and they’ve added some new organization features to go with it. Your books can now be organized by series and the categories button now filters sections by titles, authors, or categories

FaceTime call waiting

FaceTime still doesn’t have group calling, but Apple did add a Call Waiting feature to its video chat service that lets you decline incoming calls, or end your current call to accept the new one.

Get transit directions quicker


Starting in iOS 8, users will be able to run a search for locations in Apple Maps and use either Apple’s own driving and walking directions, or switch directly to another app already installed on your device via a simplified menu. The small UI change gives users quicker access to use transit directions and other services that were rumored for iOS 8’s Apple Maps but didn’t make the cut.

Timer with Burst Mode


Nearly every camera app in the App Store has a self timer but Apple is just getting around to adding its own in iOS 8. The setting can be toggled from the top of the app, includes 3 & 10 second options and shoots in Burst Mode so you get plenty of frames to choose from.

RSS feeds in Shared Link


Safari also picked up the ability to add RSS feeds to your Shared Links feed. To add a new RSS feed just visit the website in Safari, open up your shared links, go to Subscriptions and tap “Add Current Site.”

iTunes Radio Lockscreen

itunesradiolockscreen (1)
iTunes Radio is a lot more friendly with the lockscreen on iOS 8. Songs can be added to your wishlist by tapping the star. When you skip a track you get a notification of have many skips are left and there’s a new buy button to help juice iTunes sales.

Insert credit card deets with camera

iCloud Keychain will keep track of all your credit card details, but if you’re placing an online order and want to use a new card you can now use your camera to scan all the information off your card and insert it into the required fields.

Individual Private tabs in Safari

keeptabsprivateSafari (1)

Safari can now multi-task between Private mode and regular. When switching from Private mode, iOS 8 now asks if you want to keep your naughty tabs or close them before shuffling you over to the regular and totally trackable version of Safari.

Lockscreen shortcuts


iOS 8 displays new app shortcuts on the lock screen based on your location. If you’re walking past Starbucks you might see their app shortcut pop up. Some users have also reported getting app suggestions on the home screen for stores like Costco and the Apple Store even when those apps aren’t installed.

Switch search to DuckDuckGo


Google might be the king of search but DuckDuckGo is our engine of choice at Cult of Mac. It’s a pain in the ass to use if your browser doesn’t integrate with it, but luckily iOS 8 is adding that ability. Turn it on under Settings >> Safari >> Search Engine >> DuckDuckGo.

Manage Apple ID

editAppleIDiOS8 (1)

Rather than managing your Apple ID through iTunes or the App Store, iOS 8 has a new section under iCloud settings that lets you view and edit your personal information. You can also change your password, add credit cards and add members to your Family Share plan.

Emergency contact card


Now anyone can figure out how to help out your unconscious body without unlocking your iPhone, thanks to the new In Case of Emergency card on the iOS 8 lockscreen that you can be setup in the Health app

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56 responses to “18 hidden iOS 8 features you probably didn’t know about”

  1. Tallest Skil says:

    I assume you’re sourcing gifs from somewhere? Otherwise you’d probably have held on the last frame of these for longer than “no delay” (thanks, Adobe). The greyscale interface example, for example, is useless.

    Having said that, thanks for the tips. REALLY happy to see there’s a desktop site option. Mobile sites have absolutely no right nor reason to exist.

    • Nathan Walters says:

      Besides the fact that mobile browser usage is skyrocketing?

      • Mundoman4 says:

        Just because I do most browsing on a moble devise, doesn’t mean I want a degraded website. I bought an iPhone partly(mostly?) because it had a browser that was usable. As more and more sites have a moble option for the “toy” phones, being forced to use it has degraded my experience, I’m sick of constantly having to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the real website!!
        Hopefully this will fix that issue, was just thinking the other day I might need to investigate 3rd party browsers again it’s gotten so bad.
        Thanks for trying to keep the best experience Apple!!

      • DJBabyBuster says:

        The jailbreak tweak to always display desktop versions of sites is awesome.

      • Qix says:

        Mobile site != degraded site. That’s on the site developers.

      • Nathan Walters says:

        If a mobile site is that bad, complain to the developers of that site. There is nothing inherently wrong with websites optimized for the mobile; they’re only a problem when the developers fail at their job.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        I said nothing whatsoever about mobile browser usage. Mobile sites have no right nor reason to exist. The idea behind the iPhone is that you get to see the REAL INTERNET. Not a dumbed down version of the website, as was available before 2007. Instead, people have been complete idiots and decided to make MORE mobile sites, not fewer. There’s something deeply wrong with the brains of web designers.

      • Nathan Walters says:

        If a version of a website is so dumbed-down as to make it less useful that the desktop site, that’s on the developers of that site. A properly designed mobile site should be more usable and just as useful as a desktop site, especially given the relatively small sizes of the screens on mobile devices.

      • Tallest Skil says:

        That’s what I’m saying. Idiot web developers have made more mobile sites since the creation of devices that don’t need them than ever existed before devices didn’t. The only considerations in web design that needed to be made after the introduction of the iPhone are the removal of hover states (or dual hover/click states) and standardizing a minimum hitbox size.

    • Christine says:

      If your battery is about to die, having greyscale on will keep it alive for a bit longer. I find that useful because I always like to have access to a working, at least 50% charged phone just in case I need it.

      • tanyet says:

        why? iPhone is IPS. The backlight is always on no matter what the screen looks like.

      • I think if anything this makes the battery life worse what with re-rendering the display in grayscale and all

      • Tallest Skil says:

        No, that’s not… no.

      • Barry Allen says:

        So greyscale won’t help that battery at all? Ugh, if that’s the case, I wish they had just made an actually dark mode instead of this greyscale nonsense.

      • hyhybt says:

        Why would a dark mode help battery life? You’re still using the backlight, only you’re also using power to block that light by making the pixels black. Surely, if there’s a meaningful difference at all, you’d want a screen with as much white space as possible.

      • Jimbles Notronbo says:

        Galaxy S5 has greyscale mode that legitimately improves battery life drastically.

      • hyhybt says:

        A grayscale mode might well reduce power usage. But that’s not what the person above me was asking for.

    • BusterH says:

      created all the gifs myself. Added a delay on the grayscale mode one just for you.

    • hyhybt says:

      Some mobile sites are easier to use on a small screen than the desktop version and/or take less bandwidth, both good reasons to exist so long as they also work right and you can get at everything.

  2. tt says:

    Hope your lice condition clears up soon. :)

  3. crateish says:

    Does anyone know if you can ‘avoid highways’ in the Maps app now?

    Like you can in Google and most GPS apps like Navigon.

    • hyhybt says:

      Do you know of any that let you search for something (say, a gas station) along or near your *route* rather than just your current location?

      • Mark Langston says:

        I’m with you there. Although I prefer Apple Maps to Google Maps I wish search results were better.

        Search results are limited to within a few miles of your location where as Google Maps gives you nearby results but reveals more as you zoom out. With Apple Maps you have to zoom out then search again.

        Not a deal breaker but a bit of a nuisance nonetheless.

      • hyhybt says:

        It’s good to have both. Though last week, *both* of them tried to send me to the other side of the Atlantic for something I knew was only 20 miles away.
        Google also still tries to send me out of my neighborhood by a street that’s been closed since 2001, while Apple uses the current road.

  4. aardman says:

    How does two factor authentication work with manage your Apple ID on the same device that Apple messages to send you the four-digit verification code? It would be pointless if the code is texted to the same device that yjr verification request came from.

  5. raindog308 says:

    Request desktop site…oh, like I’ve been doing in Google Chrome on my iOS devices for a year now.

    Two things are missing for the web browsing experience on iOS: (1) Set Chrome as my default browser, and (2) allow the use of extensions like AdBlock Plus.

  6. Gillberg_theGreat says:

    I cant wait for the new BlackBerry to come out

  7. Preston says:

    Can someone tell me where the neck Home kit is??

    • Pendulous says:

      Look in privacy in settings. It isn’t something you interact with. It’s an API that apps will use, requesting access via switches just like apps do with the mic, etc.

  8. Ely Mantz says:

    I can’t get the request for desktop websites to work. I tap the bar and swipe, then nothing. is it working for everyone else?

  9. Jonez86 says:

    Duckduckgo was in iOS7

  10. Lindsay says:

    Does anyone else notice that some of the screens on your phone don’t have all the icons/features that the screen shots above do? For example, my phone keypad screen doesn’t show the “medical ID” icon in the bottom left. And yes I have updated to IOS 8 just last night but some minor things like that aren’t the same on my phone as they are shown here.

    • hyhybt says:

      The Medical ID button only exists if there’s something you’ve told your phone to display there. Open the Health app, then at the bottom right of the screen, tap “Medical ID” and fill in as much or as little as you like.

  11. REDRUM says:

    its weird but my Galaxy s3 does ALL of this already.

  12. ed lanum says:

    so is there really a buster heine?

  13. DCOY-1 says:

    Android already has all these for years .and you iphone users are all hyped up for 2 year old specs .u guys are a joke

  14. Ben V Hoff says:

    I want for Siri to not take up the whole screen. Sometimes I have things like phone numbers that I’d like to show from background and not be covered by Siri.

  15. Dave says:

    After installing ios8 my iPhone 5 battery won’t last a day; my one year old iPad last about 1/3 as long as before. I have to rethink getting an iPhone 6 now. Will Apple have a fix for this?

  16. Atul says:

    Another good feature is Mail detects the Signature if it has phone numbers and provide you the suggestion of adding the user to Contacts.

  17. onlymiah says:

    I still haven’t seen this feature listed anywhere and it is one of the most important for me. To access prior attachments for iMessage it used to be you manually had to keep tapping “load previous message” and scroll through thousands of messages to find a picture. Now in the iMessage screen for any conversation you can hit “Details” at the top and it loads a status page for that contact with ALL attachments grouped together in one handy, easy to find place. I am so glad Apple finally did something about this! :-)

  18. Jesse says:

    How do you take a screenshot photo with iPhone 6

    • hyhybt says:

      I don’t know for certain they haven’t changed it for the iPhone 6, but for all other iOS devices, you press the home and power buttons at the same time.

  19. Esteban Carpio says:

    How do you make Siri to tell you what song are you listening to without asking? I tried holding the home button as you said and it interpretates the lyrics as if I were speaking… It’s a great feature but kinda weird if you’re in a club and you want to know the song’s name and you have to ask Siri in front of everyone…

  20. Rajesh says:

    I have a query. I was using TOP HITS in the homescreen search. I am missing in ios8. Is there any way to get in it.

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