88

Some overdue updates, but well worth the wait

88

Last year's iOS 7 update was the largest redesign in the platform's seven-year history, but it didn't add much in the way of functionality. Which is a shame, because although the ecosystem has been robust, it was still missing a lot of stuff that Android users already enjoy. Now that developers have had time to tweak their app designs to fit Apple's vision, iOS 8 is here with features that iPhone and iPad users have long been begging for. Custom keyboards, manual camera controls, extensions that let apps interact with each other, widgets (albeit limited) and actionable notifications are features that Android users have enjoyed for a long time -- and they work well on iOS, too.

That said, the new software isn't perfect. iCloud Drive, Apple's alternative to a proper iOS file manager, is in the early stages. For now, at least, it's easier to access on OS X than iOS, which doesn't currently have its own app. Very little was done to improve the struggling Apple Maps, and while "Hey Siri" is a welcome addition to the digital assistant, I only found it useful in the car, and even then, only as long as I have it plugged in. Finally, while I find myself using Notification Center more than ever, I'm frustrated that I have no way of knowing if anything's in there until I actually take a peek.

Nitpicks aside, the strengths of iOS 8 clearly outnumber the flaws. During our time with the new OS, we couldn't help but wonder where many of these new features have been the last few years. Apple's working hard to stay competitive, matching its rivals feature for feature. iOS 8 isn't a ground-breaking update, then, but for Apple loyalists, this improved user experience is nonetheless great news.

Critic reviews

8.8
8 reviews
  • Ease of use
    7.7
  • Speed
    8.7
  • Configurability
    7.5
  • Ecosystem (apps, drivers, etc.)
    8.9
  • Openness
    8.0

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User reviews

no user reviews yet
  • Ease of use
  • Speed
  • Configurability
  • Ecosystem (apps, drivers, etc.)
  • Openness
9.0
Engadget Sep 16, 2014

iOS 8 feels a bit like Apple playing catch-up; the update includes many features that Android users have been enjoying for years. Nonetheless, the upgrade goes a long way in giving the iPhone and iPad a better user experience.

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9.0
The Wall Street Journal Sep 16, 2014

I'll probably always have gripes, but iOS 8 pulls out ahead of the competition by leveraging the greatest strengths of the iPhone: its apps and ecosystem. After you tap the Update button, those small perks and fixes will make the most difference.

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9.0
TechCrunch Sep 16, 2014

It’s a particularly exciting release in terms of what it can offer developers, so its real impact will be felt later on – and next month should also change things up considerably with the debut on Continuity on the Mac, and ... Apple Pay, in the U.S.

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8.0
Re/code Sep 16, 2014

Though it had a couple hiccups, like the Mail app crashing a few times, it’s a fast, solid and fresh version of iOS that users will like.

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10
The Guardian Sep 16, 2014

As we approach the end of 2014, Apple has made iOS more customisable than ever before - bringing it closer to Android’s flexibility - through Extensions. It’s also added useful touches and more privacy throughout. Should you install it? This is absolutely a no-brainer. Yes, you should.

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8.0
The Independent Sep 16, 2014

iOS 8 will save you time and effort, and makes the phone more powerful than ever before but the real improvements rely on buying into Apple. If you’re just an iPhone user, iOS 8 is a good update; if you’re a part of the Apple ecosystem, it's the future, no questions asked.

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8.0
The Next Web Sep 16, 2014

Even though the additional features here aren’t all world-changing in their own right, they add polish and utility and the way third-party developers take advantage of them via the app updates that start to appear today will very quickly make iOS more ‘your OS’ than ever before.

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First Looks

product preview
Gizmodo Jun 2, 2014

One of the biggest changes in iOS 7 (other than the obvious flatness, of course) was the addition of real, live multitasking. This time around, Apple took advantage of the extra space to make one of the phone's most functional screens even more-so.

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product preview
PC Mag Jun 3, 2014

A number of the rumored features were, in fact, included: a Shazam integration that lets you play "find (and buy) that tune" with Siri; a Health-related app for keeping tabs on your activity; and HomeKit, which will let smart home device makers sync up their gadgets with iOS devices.

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product preview
ZDNet Jun 4, 2014

Sporting a new background wallpaper, there are a couple of additions. You'll note a small icon in the lower-left corner, which allows the user to carry on their work from their Mac, running the latest OS X 10.10 version, like documents and image editing.

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product preview
9to5Mac Jun 2, 2014

Apple announced iOS 8, the next major version of iOS, which includes features like an all new Photos app, a much improved Messages app, custom keyboard support, Family Sharing, and more.

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product preview
BGR Jun 2, 2014

Messaging is very similar to Facebook’s Messenger app in terms of sharing photos and videos quickly as well as voice. Audio and video messages are allowed to delete after a period of time to avoid large files clogging up storage similar to Snapchat and other message apps.

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