[Update 9/17: iOS 8 is available to download… NOW! You might not have an iPhone 6 at your disposal, but you can still give your phone a serious upgrade with Apple’s latest, greatest operating system. Below is a look at what to expect. Woo!]
With no big iPhone 6 reveal, no mention of the word wearables and BARELY a Dr. Dre appearance, we weren’t exactly breathless over the WWDC that we anticipated so highly. Even though we don’t know exactly what our next Apple smartphone will look like, we at least know what the ones we have are going to be able to do this fall with the slew of new updates packed into iOS 8. You might have to wait until September-ish for the release, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start getting excited about it now! Here is a rundown of 30 shiny new iOS 8 features. Better start clearing out that cloud now…
1. Interactive notifications: You’ll be able to really multi-task now thanks to interactive notifications that let you respond to texts, calendar invites and reminders straight from the drop down banners. Cross things off your to do list, text your friends, RSVP to a Facebook event and star an email all without leaving the app you’re in.
2. Name group texts: The group message will never be the same. Every time you’re in one in iOS 8, you can tap Details in the top right to name a conversation if you want to dig it up later.
3. Leave group texts: Done with this group message? Leave it! Or delete someone else. Add and remove threads from your inbox/life.
4. Apply Do Not Disturb to group texts: Never again be in an important meeting with your phone buzzing every few seconds with friends trying to plan the upcoming weekend.
5. Send self-destructing selfies: You can send video and photo messages to friends that will disappear later so they don’t take up space.
6. Send voice memos: Using the new “Tap to Talk” feature you can send audio messages to friends who can simply hold the iPhone to their ear (like they’re making a call!) to listen to them.
7. Spy on your friends: You’ll have the option of disclosing your location to people you’re iMessaging with in the next iOS update to ultimately answer the question “where are you?” if you so choose.
8. Read your texts on your computer: Apple is making it easier to sync up all the devices in your digital life, including reading SMS on your computer and placing calls on your Mac, which you can then use as a speakerphone.
9. View convos like blogs: Tap to browse photos and videos in a thread and see everything you’ve sent back and forth in each conversation.
10. Share files across all devices: With iCloud Drive, you’ll be able to to store and access any kind of file across different devices. Start writing an email or tweaking a presentation when you’re on the train, then send it to your computer for the finishing touches.
11. Enhanced double tap: When you press the home button twice, you’ll be able to call, text or FaceTime people you’ve recently talked to from the top scroll and access your Favorites if you swipe to the right.
12. A Spotlight that really gets you: Enhanced Spotlight seems like an NBD update, but it means more information with each search and might lead to less bouncing around between apps.
13. Reach Inbox Zero in less time: The new mail features promise to save you some time. Straight from your inbox, you can now swipe to mark an email as read or flag it for follow-up similar to inbox clutter busters like Mailbox.
14. Go between messages: Bring multi-tasking to Mail with the ability to swipe down while you’re working on an email to search through your inbox for another one.
15. Get instant notifications: Mail will recognize reservations, flight confirmations and contact info and see if you want to add them to your calendar or contacts.
16. Updated parental controls: Now that family members share devices and iTunes accounts, parents have even more to oversee — like purchases. When your kiddies go to buy a new iPad game, an add-on to their favorite app or want to rent Frozen AGAIN the parents’ device will get to automatically approve or deny the purchase.
17. Have (more) fun with the family: With Family Sharing, up to six family members can share purchases from the iTunes store (that’s music, apps, movies and more) across all of your devices — talk about a sweet family plan.
18. Make family photo albums: Some of you might already be using iOS 7’s similar function to share pix with fam and friends, but now Family Sharing will automatically set up a family photo stream for you to add vacation and bday memories to show up on all of your devices.
19. Share a family calendar: Once you’re all linked, the chalkboard paint calendar in the kitchen finally has an easy-to-access digital home. Keep everyone super organized with one calendar and set up reminders for everyone with important events.
20. Better-than-ever AutoCorrect: Your keyboard gets a whole new IQ enhancement in the predictive department. It takes things a step farther and instead of assuming the word *it* might use, it will pick up on how you talk to each contact to get a better sense of the word *you* might use.
21. Text suggestions: If someone texts you“want to go to dinner or a movie?” the keyboard will recognize that and offer you the option of clicking “dinner” or “movie” to respond.
22. A better Photos app: With Instagram trying to lure you away from your phone’s native digital camera app, Apple is upping their game with more smart editing controls to edit pix closer-to-Photoshop levels.
23. A huge photo library: Find and flip through every picture across all of your devices. New suggested search will even give you options of things to dig up based on favorites, different time periods and your location.
24. Make Time-lapse videos: Get ready for a cloud selfie or two hundred — the next update will introduce a whole new camera mode for taking time-lapse videos!
25. A home for all your health: The new Health app will be a one-stop profile for your physical activity and health, pulling in data from any apps and wearables, then communicating the info to whoever needs it (think: other apps, your trainer and even your doctor).
26. Track your stats: Organize and manage what you’re tracking just like you would in a digital notification center — except here we’re talking about fitness, lab results, sleep, nutrition or vitals.
27. Another emergency option on lock: Create an emergency card with your ID and important info (like blood type and allergies) that can be accessed from your Lock screen.
28. Direct line to your doctor: HealthKit is a new developer tool that will allow health and fitness apps to access your health data and even communicate your stats straight to and from your doctors. Mayo Clinic is the first healthcare provider to join.
29. Test apps: New program dubbed TestFlight will allow developers to invite users to beta test their apps. Get in on that.
30. Preview apps: Developers will be able to show off more of their apps’ experience with video previews in the App Store that give users a test drive before they buy.
What Apple news are you still holding out for? Which of the above features are you most excited about seeing on your future phone?