Whenever Apple releases a new iPhone a ritual begins. As millions of current iPhone users rush to pre-order the next exciting iPhone with new hardware features, many millions more stay at home and wait for an update that’ll bring them many of the same add-ons without the hassle – or expense – of purchasing a new device on a two-year contract. Yesterday, Apple completed the cycle again when it started letting users update to iOS 8, this year’s refresh of its operating system for iPads and iPhones alike.
iOS 8 is absolutely stuffed full of features for users. Those who are picking up an Apple Watch next year can expect for iOS 8 to add compatibility with Apple Pay. iOS 8 also includes dozens of nice to have features, GottaBeMobile staff favorites include Hey Siri, a way to activate the iPhone’s personal assistant in the car of half way across a room without touching an iPhone.
Many of the exciting changes in iOS 8 involve unlocking new features for developers. It’s the apps that will be created with these new features that’ll help the iPhone and iOS 8 endure another year. They are also very good reasons for downloading the iOS 8 update as soon as possible.
Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. Those who already know that are probably wondering why they’re included on this list. How could Amazon, which has had an iPhone app for years, but a good reason to upgrade to iOS 8. It comes down to one tiny feature addition: Touch ID. With iOS 8, Apple gave Touch ID support to developers so that iPhone owners could use the fingerprint sensor to unlock their apps. The new version of Amazon for iPhone supports Touch ID. Buying stuff from Amazon just got even easier if you have an iPhone 5s.
Beach Buggy Racing
Apple has been on a mission to gobble up the mobile game space for years. Last year, the company shocked everyone and announced iOS controllers from its partners. This year, the company realized that iPhone and iPad game developers could compete with the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS if they had better hardware access. The system that gives developers new hardware access is called Metal, and today a hand full of video games in the iTunes Store support it. One of the most interesting looking is Beach Buggy Racing. Sure, it’s like Mario Kart in that you race against friends while firing weapons at them. But it’s free and it’s loads of fun.
OneNote for iPhone
Sharing on the iPhone was always a pain. There were apps and services that made it possible, but too many of them suffered from erratic behavior. iOS 8 added the ability for apps to better directly communicate with each other. Microsoft’s OneNote for iPhone and iPad is one of the first to take advantage of this. Simply put, adding notes to OneNote is as simple as navigating to what you want to share and finding Share in Safari’s menu. Bookmarking apps like Pocket use this feature to their advantage too.
Including one new iOS 8 feature is certainly great. But 1Password manager includes more than one. It used to be that managing passwords in iOS was a pain, the ability for apps to communicate with other apps was limited. In iOS 8 Apple is giving app makers a little more leeway. The new 1Password app uses Touch ID to authenticate user’s identities. It also integrates directly into Safari so hopping between it and Safari to enter a password is no longer necessary.
iPhone owners have been able to edit their pictures on their iPhone for years, but until iOS 8 editing them in different apps required switching to separate apps. No more, PIX2 is one of the first iPhone apps to support direct picture editing from the iOS 8 Picture app. What that means is that users simply tap Edit in the Pictures app and the filters and tools from PIX2 are ready.
Day One for iPhone is another one of those perfect apps that combine more than one new iOS 8 feature to great effect. Day One is a journaling app. Users buy it because they want to chronicle their lives or capture new experiences. Journaling has always been a dangerous endeavor though. What if it falls into the wrong hands? Day One includes Touch ID support so that iPhone users can keep their secrets safe. It also supports a new Today widget so users can look back at their experiences every morning or night. Day One costs $4.99.
Package trackers have been in the App Store for years. Slice, tracks packages, but it’s much more of an all-inclusive shopping package than it is a simple tracker. Users can monitor prices and shop for new items through the app. With iOS 8, Slice is adding Touch ID support and the ability to track packages directly from the Today Screen.
Read: 15 Best iOS 8 Widgets
Like these new app capabilities, widgets are also a new and important addition to iOS 8. We’ve collected 15 of the most important iOS 8 widgets separately. iOS 8 is available for download right now. The installation process could take a few hours, depending on your internet connection.