iOS 8 Tips: 10 Settings to Change

If you want to get the best iOS 8 update experience you need to get started right by changing these 10 iOS 8 settings.

There are dozens of exciting new iOS 8 features available on the iPhone and iPad, and we’ll show you what iOS 8 settings you need to turn on to start using them right away.

Apple’s iOS 8 update is available as a free download for the iPhone 4s through iPhone 5s, iPad 2 through iPad Air, iPad mini, iPad mini Retina and the iPod touch 5th generation. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus ship with iOS 8 installed.

10 iOS 8 Settings to Change

We’ll walk you through 10 iOS 8 settings that unlock these new features. You don’t need a new iPhone 6 to use any of the upgrades on this list. There are many other settings you can change to customize iOS 8 to your use and needs, but this is an essential start.

For more, check out the iOS 8 manual, that walks you through all the iOS 8 features and settings.

Turn on Hey Siri

Turn on Hey Siri in iOS 8 to quickly summon Siri without touching the iPhone.

Turn on Hey Siri in iOS 8 to quickly summon Siri without touching the iPhone.

The iOS 8 update lets your iPhone always listen for Hey Siri, so you can now launch the assistant without pressing the home button. This only works when connected to power, but that still makes it useful for driving and when it’s on the charger overnight. How to use Hey Siri in iOS 8.

Read: 41 Siri Tips & Tricks

Go to Settings -> General -> Siri -> Allow Hey Siri  -> On to enable this feature.  When the iPhone is plugged in you can say, “Hey Siri” and then ask what’s playing, tell it to set an alarm or get directions — or basically anything Siri can do while you are holding the phone.

iOS 8 Battery Settings

Find apps using your iPhone battery life in iOS 8.

Find apps using your iPhone battery life in iOS 8.

There is one great new iOS 8 setting that you need to know about. Apple now shows what apps use the most battery life in iOS 8. This lets you understand why your iPhone battery is dead so early in the day.

Read: How to Get Better iOS 8 Battery Life

Go to Settings -> General -> Usage -> Battery Usage to see what apps use the most battery life. If it says background activity then it includes updates while you aren’t using this. You can turn off Background App Refresh if you want to prevent this.

On the usage screen you can also toggle on Battery Percent to see how much battery life you have left.

Add a Medical ID

iOS 8 vs iOS 7 Walkthrough - Lock Screen

Create a medical ID in iOS 8.

The iOS 8 lock screen now includes a Medical ID that lists important medical information and emergency contacts. If you set this up a first responder could figure out important information even if you can’t help them.

Open the Health App -> Medical ID – Create Medical ID – > Show When Locked -> On. Then fill out the rest of the information. After you are done, there is a medical ID option on the Emergency Dialer on the iOS 8 lock screen.

Setup the Health App

Setup the iOS 8 health app.

Setup the iOS 8 health app.

The new iOS 8 Health app is still growing as Apple waits to approve new health apps, but you can start using it with the built-in sensors on the iPhone now.

Open the Health App, tap on Health Data. From here you can pick what information to show. Right now there aren’t many apps that can track this and automatically add it, but we should see new Sources soon.

Use a new iOS 8 Background

Use the new iOS 8 wallpapers.

Use the new iOS 8 wallpapers.

Apple delivers a collection of cool iOS 8 wallpapers to choose from. If you are sick of the standard iPhone wallpaper you left after buying the iPhone a year ago, pick one of these.

Read: Cool iPhone 6 Wallpapers

Go to Settings -> Wallpaper -> Choose New Wallpaper and pick from one of the new Still options. You can also use the options below to pick from your own photos if you want.

Turn on Family Sharing

In IOS 8 you can turn on Family Sharing so that all purchases are shared between family members and there is a notification for app purchases and in app purchases from kids that requires parental approval before it is completed.

Choose if you want to share plans and manage family members.

Choose if you want to share plans and manage family members.

Here’s a guide to turn on iOS 8 Family Sharing, and what you need to know about the new option. After you turn this on and family members accept the invite everyone can see apps, movies, music and iBooks purchases on all their devices. This works with different Apple IDs and you can create a child Apple ID as well.

Everyone needs linked to the same credit card for purchases, so you don’t want to invite just anyone into your family.

Use iCloud Photo Library

Sync all of your photos with iCloud Library on iOS 8.

Sync all of your photos with iCloud Library on iOS 8.

In iOS 8 you can turn on iCloud Photo Library to keep all of your photos backed up to all of your devices. This is still in beta, so not everyone may want to turn it on, but things are going smoothly for us so far.

To use this, go to Settings -> iCloud Photo Library -> On. For most users, select Optimize iPhone Storage. The full size originals will still be on the device you took the photo or video with and soon also on your computer.

Custom Keyboard in iOS 8

Here is a look at the iOS 8 keyboard from SwiftKey.

Here is a look at the iOS 8 keyboard from SwiftKey.

iOS 8 finally lets users add a new custom keyboard to the iPhone. There are many iOS 8 keyboards available in the App Store like the free SwiftKey and $0.99 Swype and more. Buy or download a new iOS 8 keyboard to get started. Once the app downloads open it to change settings or customize any predictions that it allows.

Then go to Settings-> General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard -> tap on the Keyboard Name. For some you also need to Tap on the name again and then allow Full Access.

In an app you can then tap the globe on the keyboard to switch. While using one of these keyboards you can not use dictation.

Safari Sharing Options

Customize the iOS 8 sharing options.

Customize the iOS 8 sharing options.

In Safari you can now choose new sharing options and even include apps that let you login to websites. Open Safari and tap on the share icon in the middle of the bottom toolbar. Swipe from right to left on the apps until you see More and tap on it.

Now you can turn third-party apps on and off and change the order so the apps you share to frequently are always at the front. Use the small grab bars to the right to change the order by tapping and moving up or down.

Turn on iOS 8 Widgets

How to add an iOS 8 widget and change order on iPhone.

How to add an iOS 8 widget and change order on iPhone.

Open the Notification Center with a swipe down, scroll to the bottom and then tap on Edit to see your iOS 8 widgets. You can tap on the plus icon to add to the Notification Center or tap the minus to remove one. Use the grab bars on the right to move the order of widgets to fit your needs.

Check out the best iOS 8 widgets so far to get started with new weather, productivity and health widgets to name a few.