As expected, Apple just unveiled iOS 8 at its annual developers event. The next major software update for iPhones and iPads will be released later this year, most likely in conjunction with Apple’s next iPhone.
The upgrade isn’t as big of an aesthetic shift as we saw last year with the introduction of iOS 7, but Apple has added some significant new features and tweaks.
Here’s a quick look at the new features in iOS 8, which will be released this fall.
Apple has added a new fitness app called Health. Like most fitness apps, it can measure burned calories and sleeping habits. Health works with third-party apps too, so you can choose to sync data with your Nike FuelBand.
It works in conjunction with a HealthKit companion tool for physicians. For example, doctors will be able to use HealthKit to compare a patient’s blood pressure against the daily readings picked up by the Health app. Apple is working with the Mayo Clinic on HealthKit.
Apple has made some new tweaks to its Mail app on iPhone and iPad. You can now mark messages as read to keep them at the top of your inbox with a single gesture.
You can also access the contacts you communicate with the most often by double tapping the home button.
In iOS 8 you’ll be able to swipe a message you’re currently working on to slide it to the bottom of the Mail app. This makes it easier to see the rest of your inbox as you type.
Apple has introduced a new feature for iOS and OS X called Handoff. If you’re reading an article or working on your iPhone, you’ll be able to pick up exactly where you left off on your Mac and vice versa.
Apple has really made an effort to intertwine iOS more closely with OS X. Another way it’s doing that is through the addition of iCloud Drive. It’s essentially Apple’s take on Google Drive, which means you can store files across all your Apple devices.
The new QuickType feature lets you access other keyboards more quickly and conveniently in iOS 8.
Apple made some significant improvements to the Spotlight Search feature in iOS. With iOS 8, you’ll be able to view results from the App Store, Wikipedia, directions, and movie times, among other types of search results.
Apple has added smart editing features to its photos app. For example, you can adjust the light, brightness and contrast, and shadows directly from any photo. Apple has also made it easier to search for photos, With iOS 8, you can search by location, date and albums you’ve set up. These photos sync with iCloud now too, which means they’ll be available across devices.
There are some new improvements coming to the iPhone’s messaging app with iOS 8. You’ll be able to exit annoying group text messages with a new Do Not Disturb feature. You can also name these message threads. By pressing and holding the new microphone button, you can record an audio message and send it via text.
Siri is getting some new features, too. Shazam song recognition is built in, and you can purchase it from iTunes directly through Siri. Apple has also added 33 new dictation languages to Siri.
Family Share makes it easier to share photos, calendars, reminders, and your location with your family members. You can also purchase content on separate devices using the same account through Family Share.
Developers will be able to add third-party keyboards like Swype. Third-party apps will also be able to take advantage of Touch ID.