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iOS 8 offers more features and options than any other iOS release. The tips in this article will help you get more out of iOS 8.
If you use an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, chances are you have upgraded to iOS 8. After a rough start, Apple’s newest mobile operating system is very robust and stable. I find it to be the best iOS release ever. With so many features, it’s easy to miss some of the convenient ways to interact with your device. Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks that will improve your iOS 8 experience.
Pinch to View Tabs in Safari
Safari for iOS 8 now has the ability to provide a birds-eye-view of all open tabs. You can launch this feature by tapping the tabs button at the top right, but there is an easy shortcut. Simply pinch the screen with two fingers and you’ll see all of your open tabs. Tap on any thumbnail to bring it into focus.
Private Browsing in Safari
Private browsing has been available in Safari for a few years. They moved this feature in iOS 8, making it a bit more elusive. First, tap on the tabs button on the top right, then tap on “Private” at the top. All of your private tabs will be opened in this new private screen, enabling you to move back and forth between private and non-private browsing. I think this is an improvement over the last design, which forced all tabs into private mode.
Clear Specific Items From Browsing History
Prior to iOS 8, clearing your history in Safari would delete every item. It is now possible to remove specific items from your browsing history. First, go to the History menu and swipe from right to left on any item you wish to delete. You can also tap Clear at the bottom and Safari will present a list of options: Clear the Last Hour, Clear Today, Clear Today & Yesterday and Clear All History. Using Private mode is the best way to keep your history free of unwanted entries.
Display Desktop Version of Site
I dislike mobile sites. I don’t even like them on my iPhone, but I really don’t want to see them on my iPad. Unfortunately, many websites will detect your device and assume you want to see a mobile version. It isn’t always easy to find the link to switch to the full desktop version of a site. Some sites do not provide this. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to view the desktop version of a site. Simply swipe down on the Safari search panel to reveal options. You can also tap the top bar, above the address bar, where the time is displayed. There are two options: Request Desktop Site and Add to Favorites. Tapping on Request Desktop Site will load the full desktop version of the site. You will no longer have to put up with the watered down mobile version of a website.
Arrange Favorites in Safari
Icons on the new favorites panel in Safari can be arranged, much like with other Apple products. First, tap on the address bar to reveal the favorites panel. Next, hold your finger down on an icon you would like to move. The icon will enlarge and fade, indicating that it can be moved. Keep holding your finger on the icon while sliding it into the desired position. When your icon is in place, Safari will pop up options to delete or edit the favorite. If you simply want to delete or edit the favorite icon, without moving it, just hold down your finger until it enlarges and fades, and then release your finger. Then pick the appropriate option — delete or edit.
Clear Individual Notifications
Notification Center now makes it easy to delete specific Notifications. Simply swipe left to right on the Notification and then tap Delete. This gesture also works in many stock Apple apps. Give it a try whenever you wish to delete a specific item.
Add Widgets to Notification Center
Mac OS X introduced Widgets to consumer operating systems. These small apps make it easy to get quick, interactive information. With iOS 8, the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch now have the ability to run widgets in Notification Center. For more information on installing widgets, please read “iOS 8: How to Install Widgets“.
Add Custom Keyboards
iOS 8 introduces new customization features that Android users have enjoyed for a long time. The implementation is a little different. While you can now customize your iOS device, Android still offers more freedom. Apple errs on the side of caution, protecting their users, for good reason. When you install a custom keyboard, you are sending every keystroke to a third-party company. Sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, user names, and in some cases, passwords, can be stored on another company’s servers. While they might not do anything nefarious with this information, they could get hacked. Users can disable third-party keyboards from sending information, however, this hobbles the keyboard’s ability to learn and predict.
For many people, this is a small price to pay for the speed that a custom keyboard can deliver. If you aren’t invested in touch-typing, learning to use Swype or other third-party keyboards can accelerate data entry. For more information on custom keyboards, check out “iOS 8: How to Install a Keyboard“.
Answer Call With a Text Message
If your phone starts ringing and you can’t answer it, iOS 8 offers a great solution. You can answer a phone call with a text message. You can even make your own custom text replies. These text replies will then be shown on the screen when you get a call. Simply tapping the reply will send the selected text message to the caller. Tap on Settings > Phone > Respond with Text to configure this feature.
Use Siri to Find a Movie
If you want to watch a movie and don’t know what’s playing, just ask Siri. She will provide a list of movies playing in nearby theaters. You can even watch trailers, buy tickets and read reviews. (continue…)