Become a master of iOS 8 and iOS 8.1 with our helpful list of iOS 8 tips and tricks that let you do more with your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running the latest iOS 8 software updates. From the older iPhone 4s and iPad mini to the iPad Air 2 and iPhone 6, you’ll learn something cool you can do with your iPhone and iPad.
You don’t need to read a manual to learn about these cool iOS 8 tips and tricks, just follow our to the point guide of features, tricks and tools that you can use to do more on the iPhone and iPad. You need the free iOS 8 update for these to work, and for some you will need OS X Yosemite on your Mac or the most up to date iCloud for Windows software.
You don’t need to jailbreak the iPhone or iPad to use any of these features. Most of these iOS 8 tips and tricks will work on all of the devices that run iOS 8, but some require the newer devices to work. We’ll outline those when sharing the iOS 8 features.
Apple shares some of these iOS 8 tips and tricks in the iPhone 6 ads, but you don’t need the iPhone 6 to make them all work. At least half of these iOS 8 and iOS 8.1 tips and tricks are hidden inside Apple’s apps and in settings on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Most of these iOS 8 tips and tricks are free to use, but a few will require apps or accessories to fully utilize your iPhone and iPad. You can use these on the iPhone on any carrier and on the WiFi or LTE iPad models.
Forget reading the long iOS 8 manual, and learn about the best iOS 8 tips and tricks right here.
41 iOS 8 Tips & Tricks
Use these iOS 8 tips and tricks to unlock the full potential of your new iPhone or iPad. Our iOS 8 hidden features show you exciting options and capabilities that you will not find in the iOS 8 manual, which can help you get more for the money you spent on the iPhone, iPad, iPad mini or iPod touch.
Make a Call from Your iPad or Mac
With iOS 8 you can make a call from your iPad or Mac, using your iPhone to start the call. This turns the iPad or Mac into a big speakerphone or allows users to plug in headphones to talk through those. This is not the same as FaceTime audio, which can only call another Apple device. With this set up, you can call any phone number you want. You need iOS 8 or higher on all devices and OS X Yosemite on Mac.
To place a call, you can go to Contacts on your iPad and tap on the phone icon for the person you want to call. You can also tap on numbers in Safari. On OS X Yosemite, you can download Continuity Dialer. To Answer a call, you just need to click Accept on the Mac or tap or slide to accept on the iPad.
For this to work you need to use the same iCloud account on all devices, be on the same WiFi network and signed into FaceTime using the same iCloud account. Here’s more on setting up your Mac to answer iPhone calls.
iMessage Tips & Tricks
Apple delivers a major upgrade to Messaging for iOS 8 that makes it easier to be more productive with your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and your Mac. We’ll outline these tips and tricks, and there are more details on how to set them up in our 10 iMessage Tips and Tricks for iOS 8 guide.
- Do Not Disturb for a single message – Open Message -> Tap on Details -> Turn on Do Not Disturb
- Leave a Group Message – Open the group message -> tap on Details -> then Leave this Conversation.
- Share Your Location – Open the message -> tap on Details -> Share my Location.
- Rename Group Message – Open the group message -> tap on Details -> At the top tap on Group Name and enter the new name -> tap done
- See All Photos in a Conversation – Go to the message -> Tap on Details -> scroll to the Attachments section -> Tap on one to scroll through like photos.
- Send Audio Messages – Open the message and tap on the microphone icon on the right side and hold down to record a message.
- Send a Video Message – Tap and hold on the camera icon to the left side of the text area. Slide right to take a video or up to take a photo.
- Check Texts on Mac, iPad or 2nd iPhone – Settings -> Messages -> Text Forwarding -> Toggle on and then enter the six digit code shown on the second device.
- Block iMessage or Text – Settings -> Messages -> Blocked -> Add New.
- Set a Custom Vibration – Go to Contacts, find the contact you want and then tap on Edit. Next, you need to scroll to Text Tone and Vibration. Tap on Vibration and then onCreate New Vibration.
Make Mobile Payments
You can make mobile payments at many stores with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Many stores support Apple Pay, but you need an Apple Pay bank for this to work. Read this guide to set up Apple Pay. You can scan in the card using the iPhone camera.
After you are set up, you just need to hold the iPhone close to the credit card reader and press your finger to the Touch ID sensor.
Shortcuts To Your Favorite Apps
The iOS 8 share menu includes shortcuts to many of your favorite apps, assuming they are updated for iOS 8 and support this new feature. You can quickly send a link or item to an app like Evernote, Asana and many others.
Go to Safari and tap the share icon at the bottom of the screen. slide over on the middle row until you see More and tap on it. Here you can turn on the apps you want and change the order so that the apps you want to use are up front.
This isn’t limited to Safari, but it is an easy place to configure this. You can use these items in other apps from Apple and from the App Store.
Manage Your Passwords
Appel includes iCloud Keychain to manage your passwords between the iPhone, iPad and Mac, but it only supports Safari. A better option is LastPass. This service is $12 a year and it works on your iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows PC and right on the web. Your passwords sync through all of the devices you use.
With LastPass you create one super-strong password and then it creates random and complex passwords for your apps and services. You only need to remember one of the passwords. If you are on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or iPad Air 2, you can log in with Touch ID.
In Safari you can tap the share icon and then scroll to More and toggle LastPass on to use this service to login to webpages you are browsing in Safari.
iOS 8 Camera Tips & Tricks
Watch the iOS 8 camera tips and tricks above to figure out how to master the camera on any of your iPhone or iPads running iOS 8. Some of these are new features that you need iOS 8 for, but a few will be familiar from iOS 7. There are 10 iOS 8 camera tips and tricks
- HDR – take multiple photos that the camera merges together to deliver a photo that shows dark and light subjects and adds details to the shadows.
- Lock Focus & Lock Exposure – You can tap and hold on a spot to lock the focus and lock the exposure this is handy if you need to get the focus or exposure set up and then change the position of the subject to get a better looking photo.
- Tap on the Subject – The single most important thing you can do to take better looking iPhone photos is to tap on the subject. This sets the focus on that person or object and auto sets the exposure. We’ll show you how to manually change exposure below, but many times tapping on the right spot delivers night and day differences.
- Panorama – The video also covers how you can take a panorama on the iPhone with iOS 8. This allows you to move the camera from one side to the other to capture a wide-angle view of landscapes and other subjects.
- Filters – You can use filters while setting up your photo by tapping on the filter option to the right of the shutter button. This lets you add an Instagram like filter while you set up the shot for an easier way to get the photo you want.
- Manual Exposure – Tap the small sun icon and slide it up or down to adjust exposure before taking a photo.
- iOS 8 Camera Timer – Tap the small clock icon near the switch camera icon to set a 3-second or 10-second timer.
- iOS 8 Time Lapse Video – Slide to the time lapse option and record a long video that is compressed into seconds.
- iOS 8 Slow Motion Video – On the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus you can record super-slow motion at 240 frames per second. The iPhone 5s can shoot 120 frames per second slow motion and on the iPad Air 2.
- iOS 8 Burst Photo – With iOS 8 on the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Air 2 you can take a lot of photos really quick by holding the shutter button.
Instant Hotspot for iOS 8
In iOS 8, you can use the Instant Hotspot to connect to the iPhone hotspot from your other Apple devices without going in and turning hotspot on every time. This includes connecting a WiFi iPad to an iPhone or an iPad with LTE and to connecting a Mac. The Mac needs to run OS X Yosemite for this to work.
On the device you want to connect, go to the WiFi settings and look for the iPhone name. This will show you the battery life and signal strength. Click on it to connect to the Instant Hotspot. This guide includes more details on how iOS 8 Instant Hotspot works.
Use iOS 8 Widgets
Apple still doesn’t include widgets on the home screen, but you can now add iOS 8 widgets to the Notification Center. To do this, pull down to see the Notification Center -> scroll to the bottom and tap Edit. From here, you can tab the plus icon to add more widgets. You need to add apps with widgets to your iPhone or iPad by downloading them from the App Store. Check out our best iOS 8 widgets for some apps to get you started.
Handoff For iOS 8 & OS X Yosemite
With Handoff, you can quickly open up and access the document you were working on with your iPhone on your iPad or Mac. You’ll need to turn Handoff on for your Mac with these directions.
- Open up System Preferences.
- Click on Bluetooth and turn it on if it isn’t already.
- Now go back to the main System Preferences page and click on General.
- Checkmark the box that says Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud Devices.
And then you’ll want to turn on Handoff on your iPhone or iPad using these steps.
- Open up the Settings app and tap on Wi-Fi. Go ahead and make sure that it’s on and connected to the same WiFi network as your Mac.
- Go back and tap on Bluetooth. Turn it on.
- Go back and navigate to General > Handoff & Suggested Apps, and turn onHandoff.
Handoff apps will show up on the left of your Dock on the Mac and on the lock screen on your iPhone or iPad. Tap or click to access the app and the document you were working on. Check out more about how to use Handoff on iOS 8.
Use a new iPhone Keyboard or iPad Keyboard
iOS 8 finally adds support for third-party keyboards like SwiftKey, Swype and many others including one-hand keyboards like the one shown above. You can use these on the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You need to download new iOS 8 keyboards from the App Store and then select the keyboard in settings.
To turn on a keyboard, go to Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard -> tap on the name of the keyboard. On some, you will need to tap on the name and Allow Full Access.
Check Battery Usage in iOS 8
iOS 8 includes the ability to see exactly what apps are using your battery life. This makes it easier to figure out why you are getting bad iPhone battery life. It can also show you if your bad iPhone battery life is due to a poor signal.
Go to Settings -> General -> Usage -> Battery Usage from here you can look at the last 24 hours and the last seven days.
Share Apps, Music, Movies and Books
You can finally share your purchases with family members even if you don’t all use the same Apple ID. To do this, you need to set up iOS 8 family sharing.
You’ll need to follow the longer set of instructions in that guide to organize your family and set up a credit card for payment. After this is set up, you can invite your family members to join.
On the iPhone family members can go to Purchases in apps and see the apps, music, movies and books that other family members purchased. For apps, go to App Store -> Updates -> Purchased.
Store All Your Photos on iCloud
Forget only seeing 1,000 photos on PhotoStream. iOS 8 lets you use iCloud Photo Library to store all of your photos in iCloud so they are accessible across all of your Apple devices and online at iCloud. This is still in beta, so you may want to wait until 2015 for this to leave beta. To turn this on, follow these directions.
- Open up the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap on Photos & Camera.
- Turn on iCloud Photo Library (Beta) by tapping on the toggle switch so that it turns green.
Choose if you want to optimize iPhone storage with smaller versions or to keep the full size originals. Check out more about how to turn on and use iCloud Photo Library on iOS 8.
Use iCloud Drive to Keep Your Files Synced
iCloud drive lets users store all kinds of files on the iPhone, iPad and your Mac. This keeps the files in sync between all of your Apple devices. To turn this on for the iPhone or iPad go to Settings -> iCloud -> iCloud Drive –> On and you may want to turn off Cellular Data to keep your data plan in check.
Right now you need iCloud Drive apps to view and use the files on your iPhone or iPad. Check out how to turn on iCloud Drive on Mac and Windows as well as other tips to use this new feature as well as how to buy more iCloud storage.
Use Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone isn’t new in iOS 8, but it is an essential feature that you need to use on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. With Find My iPhone turned on, you can track down a lost or stolen iPhone, wipe it if you need to or just play a sound when you misplace it at home. There is one handy new feature you need to turn on.
Go to Settings -> iCloud -> Find My iPhone and make sure to turn it on. On the next screen, toggle Send Last Location to On. This will allow you to see where your iPhone is using another iPhone and the second option makes the iPhone send it’s last location before the battery dies. Here’s more on how to set up Find My iPhone on iOS 8.
Use Quick Contacts
Apple added Quick Contacts to iOS 8, which shows your most recent or favorite contacts on the multitasking menu. Double tap the home button to see your recent contacts. Tap on one to see options including email, messaging and phone calls.
To turn off recent contacts, follow these directions;
- Open up the Settings app and navigate to Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Show in App Switcher.
- There will be two options to choose from: Phone Favorites and Recents. Turn off both options
Track Your Health on iPhone
The Health app in iOS 8 allows you to track your health and activity using built-in sensors, other apps and accessories.
Open the Health App and then tap on Health Data. From there you can scroll through the options to find things you want to track. Some items you will need to manually enter, others will enter through the sensors in the iPhone 5S and newer. You can also tap on Sources to select apps to include in the Health App data.
The Medical ID option lets you create a quick ID with contacts and important health information that is accessible on the lock screen of your iPhone for first responders.
Edit Photo in Other Apps Fast
If you want more photo editing power than Apple includes in the Photos app, you can use other apps from the app store right from your Photo library.
If you download an app like Camera+ it will show up in the options to edit your photos from inside the Photos app, and then you can save the photo right to that same spot.
Tap Edit. Then tap the small circle with three dots. Next, tap on More and then toggle on the apps you want to use. This will set it up and from now on, just tap the three dots and then the app icon.
Use the iOS 8 Emoji Keyboard
You don’t need to buy or download a Emoji keyboard for iOS 8, but you will need to turn it on. To do this, go to Settings -> General -> Keyboards -> Keyboards again -> Add New Keyboard -> Tap on Emoji.
This adds it to your keyboard options. When typing, tap on the globe on the keyboard to switch to the Emoji keyboard. Tap on the Emoji you want to use and check out other iOS 8 Emoji tips.
Connect a Bluetooth Keyboard
You can connect a Bluetooth keyboard to the iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to get more done when you need to type a lot. You should be able to use any Bluetooth keyboard with your iOS 8 devices, but there are some special cases with keyboards that iPad owners should check out. Here are the best iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus Bluetooth keyboards.
Turn on the keyboard and it should start searching for a device to pair to. Go to Settings -> Bluetooth -> tap on the keyboard name at the bottom of the screen to pair it and start using the keyboard.
Use Siri Without Touching Your iPhone or iPad
You can allow the iPhone or iPad to always listen for a phrase, “Hey Siri” which will start Siri without the need to touch the iPhone. The iPhone or iPad needs to be plugged in for this to work, so it’s handy in the car or on your night stand.
Go to Settings -> General -> Siri -> Allow Hey Siri. To use this, just say, “Hey Siri” when the iPhone is plugged in or in a battery case.
AirDrop to a Mac
AirDrop is an easy way to share files, photos and links to the iPhone, iPad, iPod and now the Mac. We use this to send photos from our iPhone to the computer almost every day. This works with the iPhone 5 or newer, iPad 4 or newer, iPad mini and newer and the iPod touch 5th generation. You’ll also need a Mac that is from 2008 or newer. Depending on the model it may need to be as new as 2010.
AirDrop appears in the share menu on the iPhone, and you just need to tap on the Mac name to send the file. There are more detailed instructions about how to use this to send from the iPhone to Mac, Mac to iPhone and iPhone to iPhone in our OS X Yosemite & iOS 8 AirDrop guide.
Scan a Credit Card with the Camera
The iPhone camera can scan in a credit card when you need to make a purchase in Safari. This doesn’t work in apps right now, but if you are checking out online it is a fast way to enter your credit card information.
When you are checking out, tap in the credit card spot and the AutoFill Credit Card option will allow you to scan a credit card using the camera. iOS 8 can also save this for you, so you don’t need to do it again.