In Part 1 of the iOS 8 review, we looked at the features added in iOS 8, and then we reviewed the Mail, Messages, Photos, and Camera apps. In Part 2 we’ll go over the remaining apps and features in iOS 8.
OK, so when Apple updated Safari I think they overlooked a few things. First of all, it seems that Apple set up Safari that when you open something in a new tab, it keeps the data in your cache until you move to the tab that it’s in; once you tap on the tab it then loads the page. I find this frustrating and slow. I personally thought that the iOS 7 Safari was just about perfect. You could open a practically unlimited number of tabs, with no problem. Now, if you open too many, the webpage sometimes doesn’t even load because there’s too much information in your cache. That’s definitely a con.
However, not all of the updates were bad. One that could go either way is the new clear history function. Whereas in iOS 7 you could only clear all of your history, now you can, “Clear Last Hour,” “Clear Today,” “Clear Today and Yesterday,” and “Clear All History.” Usually when I clear history I just clear it all anyway (You should consider doing this. If you have a lot of items in your history, after a while those can add up and eat storage space on your device), to save space on my iPad, but this could come in useful at some point. For instance, if you have a family iPad (or iPod, whatever), and you’re buying Christmas presents, you might not want to clear all of the history, but you certainly don’t want your family to know what you’re getting them.
Another update that isn’t really good or bad, necessarily, is that Apple redid it’s address bar to be more like Chrome. Now, just like Chrome, when you scroll down a page, the address bar is hidden. This might work well on iPhones since they have a smaller screen size, but on iPads screen size isn’t an issue. I personally found that hiding the address bar was a little annoying, because I constantly switch between tabs. Having to scroll up every time I wanted to switch tabs was a bit frustrating. We haven’t been able to get an iPhone 6 yet to review, but if we do, you can be sure this function will get tested on a smaller device! Another update to the address bar was just a reorganization of icons. So now, the history and bookmarks icon is on the left of the address box, instead of the right. That’s really the only major difference. Also, the blue bar that indicates how fast the page is loading is not in the tab anymore; it’s in the address box.
Conclusion: we like some of the features, but it needs some work. A combination of the iOS 7 browser and the new iOS 8 features would be good. I’ve found myself using Chrome for a lot more now than I used to because it’s faster and doesn’t cache your pages. It just loads them normally, like a web browser should.
Apple created a version of Tips for iOS now, but it’s not quite like the Mac application. Currently the Tips tell you almost nothing. Eight tips come preloaded when you install iOS 8, but mostly they just introduce you to the new Mail, Camera, and Notifications functions. Currently Tips isn’t very helpful now, but hopefully Apple will add more tips that are helpful. (By the way, Apple released a new tip this morning that has to do with .com shortcuts.) Tips is a pro for this review, because of its intended productivity in the long term. However, right now it isn’t very useful yet.
Apple changed things up in settings a bit in the iOS 8 update. Icons changed, and navigation through the app changed a little bit. Things like battery usage are now buried deep within settings. This is neither a pro nor a con, really. Basically nothing changed and the features are still the same.
In the update, iCloud got a bit of a makeover, and iCloud Drive was added. iCloud drive is supposed to work like DropBox and Google Drive. Unfortunately, you only get 5 GB of free space (whereas you get 15 with Google Drive); however pricing options are pretty good. A list from Paste Magazine tells us that it’s $0.99/month for 20 GB, $3.99/month for 200 GB, $9.99/ for 500 GB, and $19.99/month for 1 TB. So while only 5 free GB a month isn’t great, the pricing options are pretty good. If only used for documents, the 5 GB might work, and certainly the 20 GB option would. $12 a year isn’t bad for cloud storage. We’ll go in depth later in another post on iCloud and iCloud Drive, so be sure to follow to be notified when it is released!
Control Panel was improved so much in this update. It’s funny that I say that, because basically nothing changed — except one important thing. Remember in iOS 7 how the Control Panel swipes up and is bright, but the rest of your screen gets darker? Well, it still does that, but now when you change the brightness, it brightens the rest of the screen so you can see how bright you’re actually making it (and then goes back to bright Control Panel and dim everything else). Before, it was kind of a guessing game as to how bright your screen really was. This alone made Control Panel ten times better. Control panel: Pro.
Notifications (which unfortunately doesn’t have a logo):
This got better. A lot better. One of the things that makes the Notifications in iOS 8 so good is the new “Swipe to Address” function, where basically you just swipe a notification to address it right there, without opening any apps. You can still tap on the notification if necessary, but for things like Messages this is really helpful. Now, instead of tapping on the notification to go to Messages to reply, you just swipe the notification down and it opens a little text box right there in the notification, and you type, send, and then swipe the Notifications bar up to dismiss. This is great for when you’re browsing the web or in a meeting or something, and you don’t want to close the app that you’re in; you just swipe, type, swipe. Done. Notifications is a huge Pro for this review.
In conclusion for this iOS 8 review, the update is great(ish). The new Notifications functions are great, Messages is pretty cool with its new functions; the integration with Notifications is amazing. iCloud Drive? We haven’t looked into this much, but we’re going to go more in depth on iCloud Drive soon, so be sure to follow! Camera and Photos are better (that’s the goal in an update), and Control Panel is much improved. Safari and Mail could use a little work, since Mail has a couple of bugs and Safari uses the cache in an unhelpful way, but the new features are good. They just need to fix the old ones that they messed up!
Ultimately, should you upgrade to iOS 8? Yes, you should; the pros definitely outweigh the cons.
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