News Apple iOS Update And Review : Apple iOS 8.3 Review Check Out All New Features

 With iOS 7, Apple took its aging mobile OS and gave it a much more modern look and added new features, such as Control Centre, that made it quicker and easier to use. With the next version, iOS 8, it's arguably the biggest change the company has made, taking the work it did before and adding a ton of new features that dramatically change (and improve) the way it works, particularly if you own multiple Apple devices. Since the launch of the new OS, we've updated this review to reflect the changes in the latest version, iOS 8.1, which introduces some new features.
As with other Apple updates, it's available for free and for a wide range of older devices. See how to install iOS 8 for more information on preparing your device and for compatibility information. With the new OS comes new features, which will need new apps to make the most of them. Check out our best iOS 8 apps for more information.

iOS 8.3
Only a month or so after iOS 8.2 came out (see below for more details), Apple has released iOS 8.3. Again, there's not a lot in there that will make a lot of differences to most people, but in the UK it means that we finally get Wi-Fi Calling on EE, which works on the Phone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C. When you're on a wireless network your phone can make and receive calls and SMS messages using the internet, rather than the usual cellular network. For times where you're in a reception blackhole, this feature is astoundingly brilliant, particularly, as you don't have to make any changes or fire up an app to make and receive calls: it's completely seamless.

Call quality is very good over wireless; in fact, you could argue that it's better than over the cellular network. You can listen to our call quality test in the Soundcloud below.

 The one issue that we have is that turning Wi-Fi calling on disables Continuity, which is the feature that lets you make and receive calls from your other Apple devices when they're on the same wireless network as your phone. As a result, Wi-Fi calling may be something that you only want to enable when you're out of regular phone range. Our instructions show you how to enable and disable Wi-Fi calling.

Other than that, iOS 8.3 lets you add Google accounts with an Authenticator password, without having to create an app-specific password; you can choose to download free apps without having to authenticate first; there's a wider range of emoticons; and the Spacebar has been elongated on Safari to reduce the risk of accidentally hitting the full-stop. Other than that, there's a list of minor bug fixes and updates.
iOS 8.2
Apple has recently released iOS 8.2, another minor update to iOS 8. It doesn't change any of the features that you'll read about below, instead introducing some more bug-fixes and fixing some stability problems. It's still early days yet to see how much of a difference has been made, but people are still complaining that they're suffering from poor Wi-Fi performance (the 'WiFried' bug). Apple has also pre-installed the Apple Watch app on iPhones, which can't be removed. The app's also a little annoying because its icon's design is completely different to every other Apple apps'. Our advice is to create a folder for Apple Apps you don't want to use and hide them on the last home screen.

It's worth pointing out that iOS 8.2 is worth installing for security reasons, as it also fixes the FREAK security vulnerability, which makes SSL connections on iOS devices insecure.
Look and feel
From a first glance, you can't tell that much has changed with iOS 8, as it retains the same look as iOS 7. That's no bad thing, though. Familiarity helps people pick up the new OS more easily; besides, we largely liked the new icons and look of iOS 7, so it's good to see it retained here. There are a few little tweaks, though. Most noticeable is that the task switcher now displays your most recently contacted and favourite contacts in little round icons. You can disable this feature if you'd prefer not to have it.
Spotlight has also been revamped, so it now searches external sources, as well as just your iPhone. As you start typing, Spotlight will search your phone and Maps, Wikipedia, News, the iTunes and App Stores, and suggest websites to you. It's a big improvement and makes the search a lot more useful than it was. Apple's also simplified the Today screen. You still get the Today screen, which can now house custom widgets from any app, but there's a single Notifications screen for every alert, rather than a separate Notifications and Missed screen. All of the other changes come under the bonnet, with iOS 8 completely revamping the OS and adding in a ton of new features. When iOS 8 launched we found that Spotlight would occasionally return blank results, but iOS 8.1 and iOS 8.2 updates seem to have fixed that.

Interactive notifications
A neat new change is that notifications are now interactive, so you can respond to them without having to open up an app. For example, if you get a new text message, you can swipe right-to-left on the Notifications screen or lock screen and tap Reply. You can then quickly compose your reply without having to open up Messages in full. It's only a small time saver, but the feature could get more powerful if developers make the most of it.
One big change with iOS 8 is the way that it interacts and plays with your other Apple devices. Continuity is a great example of this, letting you share and use resources on one device on another, all seamlessly. For example, if your iPad is on the same network as your iPhone and someone calls you, your tablet will ring as well and you can answer the call from there. Your iPhone 'simply' takes the call and pumps it over your Wi-Fi network. It's brilliant news for those times where you've got your phone on charge or you've left it in another room, but you need to answer that incoming phone call.

Call quality isn't bad, either. There's a slight delay to the call and, as the iPad is a hands-free device only, your speech isn't quite as clear as when using the iPhone itself. Don't get us wrong, the call quality is more than good enough for most purposes. Should you want a bit more clarity, you can go to your iPhone and tap the green banner at the top of the screen to return the call back to the iPhone.

If you're worried about your iPad ringing in the middle of the night when your phone's set for Do Not Disturb (DND), don't worry. Everything on your home network obeys the DND rules on the iPhone. For example, if your phone has Do Not Disturb turned on, your iPad will not ring unless you have a rule to let the caller through. The only other exception is what happens when your phone is unlocked; if you've got this set to overrule DND, then your iPad will also ring.

The one thing that was missing from the original release of iOS 8 was the SMS relay service. Now available, this lets you get your SMS messages on your tablet, iPod and OS X Yosemite computer, in the same way that iMessages are currently sent to all of your devices.

Unlike with the phone call feature, you don't have to have your devices on the same physical network. Instead, text messages that come to your phone are then uploaded to iCloud and synchronised to all of your devices. In addition, you can send SMS messages from any device, with the message going to iCloud before being sent to your phone to be sent over your mobile network. This feature works seamlessly and being able to pick up your messages from any of your devices is brilliant.
For security, any iPad or Mac that you want to use the SMS Relay service with has to be authorised via your phone. This is a simple case of opening up the messaging app on your handset, which will pop up a security number on the screen; tap this number into your phone and you're away. It works brilliantly and means that no matter where you are or what you're doing, you can receive and send important messages. For more on this feature, see how to use Continuity.

While most Continuity features happen automatically, Apple has also added Handoff, which lets you share tasks between your devices. For example, if you've started writing an email on your iPhone, you can carry on writing it on your iPad or vice versa. As you'd expect, switching tasks is incredibly simple. On the device you want to send the task from, you just open up the app (they have to be Handoff enabled) and make a start. On the receiving device, you can then either select the icon that pops up on the lock screen or you can select it from the Task Switcher. Either way you can then continue composing the message from where you left off.
Handoff also supports Safari, so you can send the current page you're viewing from one device to another. It doesn't do anything different to iCloud tabs, though, which already let you view websites open on your other Apple devices. For security, the sending device has to be turned on and the app open. Secondly, Handoff uses Bluetooth for discovery, so it only works at relatively close range. Finally, as only the current app is made available for Handoff, nobody can view all of your open tasks.

As good as Handoff is, it doesn't always work perfectly, and we've had occasions where our iPad couldn't see our iPhone and vice versa. For more information on this, check out our guide to Handoff.
AirDrop has been revamped for iOS 8, allowing you to send files, share links, contacts and more between iOS and OS X Yosemite. When it works it's brilliant, but we've found that discovering devices to transmit to can be hit and miss. We've written a guide to fixing AirDrop, which you can try if you're having problems with it.
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
The good news is that all of these features are available in OS X 10.10 Yosemite, which is a free update. Once you've got this update installed you'll be able to receive phone calls on your Mac, send SMS messages and use Handoff with any of the supported apps.
Automatic hotspot
Creating a hotspot from your phone was an easy way to share its mobile connection, but Apple has made it even easier now. Now, with Continuity you can set up the hotspot from the device that doesn't have an internet connection, most likely an iPad. All you have to do is go to Settings, Wi-Fi and your internet-connected phone will appear - tap it, and its hotspot is turned on automatically, and the requesting device connects automatically. It means you can pull your Wi-Fi tablet out and get online without having to juggle setup on two devices.
Safari has had a few important updates too, including the way that Private Browsing works. With iOS 7, you could start a Private browsing session, where web pages you visit aren't stored in History and anything you enter isn't saved to Autocomplete, and you'd get asked if you wanted to keep or close all current pages. With iOS 8, you don't get this choice. Instead, you can have Private tabs and regular tabs, switching between the modes as you see fit. For anyone that's really paranoid, you now have to shut down all of your Private tabs manually; if you don't and you hand someone else your phone, they can switch to Private mode and see what you were looking at.
Equally important, for some people, is that any video or audio file that you open in Private mode, automatically appears in the playback section of Control Centre, which you get by swiping up from the bottom of the screen. So, if you go into Private mode, watch a YouTube video and then switch back to regular mode, you can then bring up Control Centre, hit Play and the video will pop-up in Private mode and carry on playing.

A bigger and more useful change in Safari is that it can scan credit cards using the phone's camera. Rather than sitting there having to type in your details, you just point the phone at the card and OCR does everything else for you. It's quick to pull in the long card details, but we still had to manually enter the start/end dates and security code.
Safari's been able to store passwords for a long time, but now other Apps can tap into this repository. For example, if you create an Amazon account and Safari remembers your username and password, the Amazon app can pull the same information out. It's neat how this information can be shared and should make switching between the web and an app an easier and more straightforward experience.

Our one issue with Safari is that it's not always the most stable browser. Although it rarely completely crashes, it quite often tells you that there was an error with the current page and that it has to reload it. It's rather annoying, and we'd like to see the browser become slightly more robust.

Apple Pay
Of course, this card scanning technology will come in use when Apple launches Apple Pay in the UK. This will let you store credit cards in Passbook. You'll then be able to use the details to pay for goods online and, with NFC-enabled devices (currently the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch), in stores using contactless payment. At the moment, Apple Pay has only been launched in the US, so we're going to have to wait a while before we see how it works in the UK.

Family sharing
Family Sharing is a much-welcome feature for anyone that lives in a household full of Apple owners. It lets you share purchased films, books, music and eligible apps between your entire household; share photos and videos in a special photo stream; share your location with other family members; schedule events in a family calendar; and track down lost or stolen devices using Find My iPhone. One member is the lead in the family and they pay for everything using their account. Don't worry about bill shock, though, as you can switch on a mode that forces your kids to ask permission to buy an app.
Camera app
Apple has given the Camera app a slight tweak adding in a couple of new features. Time-Lapse is one great new addition, capturing video at a slow frame rate, so you can capture a long event and view it in a short period of time, such as bustling crowds, or clouds floating overhead. It's pretty clever the way it works, too, adjusting the frame rate to match the duration of the video. There's a great explanation of this over at Studio Neat.
With previous versions of the OS, the iCloud cloud storage service was there for backup, photos and documents, but these functions largely stayed separate from one another. With iOS 8, iCloud has changed. For starters, you can save documents from any supported app into your iCloud Drive, which is then accessible from any supported app on your iPad, Mac or Windows PC. Likewise, you can drag-and-drop files from Windows or your Mac into iCloud drive, and then access then from your iPad or iPhone.

It's going to take a while for developers to add in iCloud support into every app, but this is definitely a move in the right direction. Just watch out, as some developers are charging for iCloud access, such as for DocsToGo.
Find my iphone
Find My iPhone gets an overhaul, with a new option letting your handset send its last location to Apple when it runs low on battery. This is a really handy feature if you lose your handset when it's just about to run out of power.
With iCloud you used to only be able to share the last 30 days' worth of images, up to 1,000 photos in total. This meant that on every device, you had your Camera Roll and My Photo Stream, each with different photos. Apple wants to change this with the iCloud Photo Library, which is in Beta with iOS 8.

This will automatically upload all of your photos to the iCloud (including RAW files) and keep them there, so that you can view them from any device. From your iPhone or iPad, you can choose to download the full-resolution versions, or versions optimised for your phone's or iPad's storage.

While you can enable the feature now (it's under Settings->iCloud->Photos), the equivalent OS X app (Photos) has only been released under beta: from a computer you can only view your photos online at As a result, you may want to wait until Photos is officially released with the next OS X update before you upgrade.

If/when you upgrade, you'll need more iCloud storage, so Apple has dramatically dropped its cloud storage prices. This feature is in Beta, but new sign-ups have been closed, so we couldn't test this out. We'll update this review once we've had a chance to use it properly.

Apple has also update the photo viewer in iOS 8, so you can now hide photos that you don't want other people to see, by long-pressing a photo and selecting Hide. All photos that you do this to appear in the special Hidden folder. More useful to most people is that recently deleted photos are moved to the Recently Deleted folder, letting you recover them before they're gone for good.
Apple has made iOS 8 its most open operating system yet. With previous versions, the company was always extremely strict in some areas. For example, you couldn't install a different keyboard and an app couldn't add its own Widget into the Today screen. With iOS 8 that all changes. Now you can download and install your own keyboards, switching between them at will. It's a bit of a faff to do, as you have to download the keyboard app, then select it in Settings as one you'd like to use and then give it full access to the system. However, it's great to see Apple finally taking this step. While we think that its new keyboard is a big improvement, there are plenty of other alternatives out there, such as the excellent SwiftKey.
It's good to see that Apps can now add their own widgets into the Today screen, too, letting you get the information you want much faster. There's still no full home screen widgets, Android style, but both approaches have their merits: Android gives you complete flexibility, but it can look messy and you have to remember which home screen your widget is on; Apple's arguably less flexible, but having everything in one simple menu that you can access from anywhere is extremely useful.

Extensibility goes further, too, letting you carry out an action in one application from another. For example, you can use photos to browse your images, but then open up Camera+ or Fragment to edit the photos. For this to work an application has to support Extensions and you have to enable the operation from each app you want to use it in. Still, it's a great thing to see and having more choice and flexibility in iOS 8 is something that we've all been calling out for.

Apple's keyboard has always been a little basic, but QuickType is a huge improvement. As you type, you get choices of words and phrases appearing above the keyboard, which you can tap to autocomplete. It also learns, so text messages are more colloquial than emails, and you get an easier tone with friends and more formal one with colleagues. It's pretty neat and we found that it really improved our typing speed, while cutting out errors that the old auto-complete system would make.
Messages gets a few new features, including the ability to add voice and video notes directly to a message. We also like the new Group management features, which let you remove someone from a group when you no longer need them or to use Do Not Disturb to mute a thread, so you're not bothered by a cacophony of incoming alert noises.

Although the Email app remains largely unchanged, Apple has improved the way that Draft emails are handled. Now, you can switch back to the main inbox, while the email you're composing drops to the bottom of the screen; just tap it to bring it back into focus. It's much quicker than the old method of having to manually go into the Drafts folder.
Apple's Health app collects together health and fitness data collected by other iOS 8 apps and brings everything together in one place. Heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar, cholesterol, sleep patterns and more can all be measured and recorded on an iPhone through apps such as Nike+. The Health app also lets you create an emergency health card that's available from the lock screen, detailing blood type, allergies and other important information.

Apple hopes that Health and the underlying HealthKit developer software will allow hospitals and medical professionals to receive health and fitness data, allowing medical information to be more easily tracked and monitored. It's early days for the system yet, but we're bound to see more and more apps and devices using it as time goes on.

While it maintains the look and feel of iOS 7, iOS 8 is a big step forward for the company, revamping and completely changing how it works. It's now a more open and customisable OS, with the likes of new keyboards and Extensibility making iOS not such a strict and locked-down system. With Continuity and Handoff more tightly integrating all of your Apple devices, iOS 8 is doing something that simply can't be done in Android or with Windows. As such, this is an essential upgrade for anyone with an older iOS device.
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