iOS 8 Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

Some advice on how to make iOS 8 work for you.

iOS 8, Apple's latest mobile OS, introduces a ton of new features that promise to make using your iOS device a whole lot more efficient and even more fun. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of iOS 8.

Find out which apps are draining your battery

Given how much people use their iOS devices, battery drain is a pesky problem a lot of people have to deal with. Thankfully, in iOS 8 Apple has made it easy to figure out which apps in particular are using more than their fair share of battery power.

To check this, simply go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage and you can quickly determine which apps are draining your battery. Given that some apps run in the background, you might be surprised to see which apps are the worst offenders. More importantly, this enables you to be smarter about your app usage when battery life is a concern.

Use Siri hands-free with "Hey Siri" command

Apple in iOS 8 has made Siri even easier to use. With a new setting, Siri is always listening. In order to awaken it, simply say "Hey Siri" and then state your query. Note, though, that this feature only works when your iOS device is plugged into a power source.

To get this feature up and running, simply go to Settings > General > Siri and then toggle on the Allow 'Hey Siri' feature.

Quick access to recent contacts and favorites

iOS 8 makes it easy to access your most recent contacts. To do so, simply double tap the home button and the normal multitasking interface will appear. But located above it will be a listing of your most recent contacts. From there, simply tap on an individual photo to bring up options to text message, call, or FaceTime. Tap a photo again to return to the main view. And as a cool hidden feature, if you swipe your list of "Recents" to the right, you're then presented with quick contact buttons for people you've previously designated as your "Favorites."

Get notified when important emails come in

If you send out an important email and are waiting for a reply, there's no need to keep checking your email in iOS 8. Instead, you can create a flag for a specific message so that iOS will notify you when a response comes in. To do so, simply swipe to the left on any particular email message and hit the "More" button, where you can then select "Notify Me..." You'll then receive notifications when anyone replies to the email thread.

Quickly send an audio message to friends

A fun new iOS 8 feature is the ability to send quick audio messages to friends. To get started, you’ll note that there's now a microphone icon situated on the lower right-hand corner of the Messages screen. If you tap and hold the icon, it will bring up a window that will automatically start recording an audio message.

Quickly listen to audio messages by raising your iPhone

When you see that you have an audio message, all you have to do to listen to it is raise your device to your ear and the message will begin playing automatically. Note that this feature is on by default but can be turned off by going to Settings > Messages and then scrolling down and toggling off the "Raise to Listen" button.

View detailed weather information

When looking at the weather for a particular city, simply scroll to the bottom, where you'll be presented with a slew of additional weather information, including the details regarding the chance of rain, barometric pressure, humidity, and even how fast the wind is blowing.

Optimize your iPhone storage

If you use iCloud for your photos, you can save space on your iPhone by only saving optimized photos to your iOS device. To do this, go to Settings > Photos and select "Optimize iPhone Storage." This will ensure that the photos stored on your phone aren't full quality, which isn't always necessary on the smaller screen.

Set a timer with the iOS 8 camera

Among many new camera features, iOS 8 introduces the ability to set a pre-set timer for photos. To do so, fire up the Camera app and you'll see a clock icon towards the upper right part of the screen. If you tap on that, you'll then be presented with the option to set the timer for 3 or 10 seconds. Next, tap the shutter button and the timer will then start counting down, give you ample time to set up the shot and get everyone, or everything, in place before the camera goes off.

Find your iPhone's last location

With iOS 8, Apple has added another feature to make it easier to find your iOS device when it seems to have disappeared. The feature is called "Send Last Location," and as the name implies, it will automatically send you the last known location of your iOS device when the battery gets down to a low level. This is great because once the battery is drained, Find my iPhone is of no help. Knowing where your iOS device was before it ran of out juice, however, is a godsend.

To activate it, go to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone and then toggle on the "Send Last Location" button.

Record Time-Lapse video footage

One of the great new iOS 8 features is the ability to take time-lapse video footage. All in all, it's a great way to add an element of "time passing" to your video footage. Using it is as simple as can be: simply fire up the Camera app and swipe until you're in "Time-Lapse" mode. Note, though, that in order to really see the wonder that is time-lapse, make sure you record footage for at least 45 seconds. Some time-lapse video suggestions include sporting events and weather.

Pre-load websites in Safari for faster viewing

Safari in iOS 8 has a great new feature that promises to make web browsing even faster. If you go to Settings > Safari > Preload Top Hit and toggle the feature on, Safari will pre-load the top hit from your search results. If data usage is a concern for you, you probably want to toggle this feature off.

QuickType in Messages for faster typing

Messages in iOS 8 now includes more enhanced predictive typing, where iOS tries to predict what word you might want to say next. What makes this feature incredibly cool is that Messages will learn your writing style with respect to each person and will make more informed predictions the more you use it. That way you can receive formal word predictions when you're communicating with your boss and more slang-oriented terms if you're chatting with one of your buddies.

If you're not into the QuickType feature, you can quickly disable it by tapping and pressing on the globe/emoji icon next to the keyboard, then toggle on and off "Predictive."

Quickly send a video message

From the main Messages view, tap and hold the camera icon on the lower left corner of the screen. Next, tap the red button to quickly record a video message for one of your friends. Tap the red button again to end the video and then tap the upward facing arrow to send it.

Request the desktop version of a mobile site

With a powerful and capable browser like Safari, sometimes we don't want to view a website's awkward and sometimes less-functional mobile site. Thankfully, Safari makes it easy to request a website's desktop site. To do so, simply tap on the Safari URL bar once to bring up Safari's Favorites window. Next, simply scroll downwards to reveal an option to add that site to your Favorites list or view the desktop version of that site.

Keep your web browsing private with DuckDuckGo

Apple in iOS 8 added DuckDuckGo as a new search engine option. DuckDuckGo is privacy-oriented and, as opposed to Google, doesn't track what you're searching for or the sites you're visiting. To select DuckDuckGo as your search engine of choice, simply go to Settings > Safari > Search Engine and select away. Note that Yahoo and Bing are additional options.

Hide private photos

If you have photos that for whatever reason you want to keep private, iOS 8 makes it easy. Simply tap and hold on a photo and you'll see an option to "Hide." Select that and you're good to go. Note, though, that doing this simply removes photos from your Years > Collections > Moments view. The photo is still viewable from within the "Albums" view.

Automatically delete Messages after 30 days

Messages can, quite stealthily, use up a lot of your storage space, especially if you're prone to sending or receiving a lot of photos. To avoid this, it's possible to have messages automatically delete from your phone after 30 days or after a year.

To do so, go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages and select the option you're most comfortable with.

Scan your credit card into iOS 8

Instead of laboriously entering in your credit card information on iOS 8 Safari, users can now take a photo of their credit card and iOS will auto populate all the requisite fields. To do so, go to Settings > Safari > Passwords & AutoFill > Saved Credit Cards > Add Credit Card. There you can enter in your credit card manually or use your camera. This will be especially useful once Apple Pay becomes active.

Record Slo-Mo video footage at 240 fps

With iOS 8 and Apple's new iPhones, the bar for video recording has been raised. You can now shoot slo-mo video footage at a whopping 240 fps. When you're in the Camera app, simply swipe to the right until "Slo-Mo" is selected and you're good to go.

Search for a word on a webpage

This is actually an old iOS trick but it is so helpful and useful it's worth mentioning. If you're on a webpage and want to search for a specific word or phrase, simply tap the URL bar and start typing the word or phrase in question into it. Next, you'll be presented with a few Google Search suggestions. Ignore those and scroll to the bottom where you'll see a section titled "On This Page." Tap that and you can then cycle through each instance of that word or phrase.

See what time a message was sent

Originally introduced in iOS 7, this is a great feature that's worth mentioning for any new iPhone users out there getting acquainted with iOS 8. With Apple's Messaging app, it’s extremely easy to see when each individual message was sent. To do so, simply swipe to the left from the messaging screen and the time will appear to the right of each message.