Best Hidden New Features in iOS 8

BY Jason

Published 17 Sep 2014

iOS 8 has a ton of features, including Interactive Notifications, QuickType, third-party keyboard support, Messages and Handoff, Family Sharing and lots more. But there are many other features in Apple’s biggest iOS release that you may not have heard of.

Here are the top hidden features in iOS 8:

Flyover City Tours

Apple’s Maps app has a mode called Flyover that lets you explore a city’s skyline and monuments in a 3D view from air. iOS 8 makes use of this Flyover mode in a new feature called Flyover City Tours, that take you on an aerial tour of the city’s most popular monuments and structures. The feature is available only in a few cities.

To initiate a Flyover Tour, you’ll have to search for a supported city in the Maps app, and after pressing enter, you should see a prompt to start a 3D Flyover City Tour below the search bar. Press on start to initiate the tour. The tour takes over the entire screen, but at anytime, you can tap and bring up the navigation controls, and end the tour.

Flyover City Tours

Battery usage by app

OS X Mavericks added a really useful feature that let you zero down on apps that were consuming significant energy. iOS 8 add a similar option to let you see battery usage by app, so that the next time you see an unusual battery drop, you know who to blame. You can check this by launching the Settings app and navigating to General > Usage > Battery Usage. It even shows you battery usage for Home and Lock screen. You can check the battery usage in the last 24 hours or the last 7 days.

iOS 8 - Battery usage

Kids can ask permission to buy games

As a part of Family Sharing, Apple is now allowing children below the age of 13 to make iTunes account. If they want an app or game, they can request their parents to buy it right from the App Store. Parents gets an alert on their iOS device, and can allow or deny the purchase.

ios 8 family sharing purchases kids

➤ Read more: Family Sharing

Find my iPhone: Send Location before Batter Dies

Find my iPhone has a new toggle to automatically send the last known location of the iOS device when the battery drains to a critical level. This can be quite useful, especially if your device is lost or stolen. The option is available in Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone.


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Recover Accidentally Deleted Photos

The Photos app in iOS 8 also includes two new options namely ‘Recently Added’ and ‘Recently Deleted’ under Albums. All deleted photos go into the Recently Deleted album, and you have an option to recover photos from there, if you pressed the trash icon accidentally.


➤ Read more: How to recover deleted photos and videos in iOS 8

Free up Storage space quickly

There’s a new option in Settings > Photos & Camera to “Optimise iPhone Storage”. When you enable that, iOS will now store device-optimized versions on your iPhone, which will reduce the storage space used for photos and videos on your device.

Optimize iPhone storage - iOS 8

Time Lapse Camera Mode

The Camera app gets a new mode called Time-lapse, which Apple says will let you capture the experience of the sun setting, a city street bustling, or a flower blooming in a whole new way. Recording time-lapse videos in iOS 8 camera app is quite similar to recording a video. Swipe on the screen to choose the Time-Lapse mode (its to the left of Slo-mo mode), and let the camera record the scene as long as you choose.

iOS 8 - Timelapse

Self Timer

The Camera app finally gets a feature long present in third-party Camera apps: A self timer. Just tap on the timer icon at the top, set a 3 second or 10 second timer and get into position.

iOS 8 Camera app - Timer

Separate controls for focus and exposure

In iOS 8, you finally get separate controls for focus and exposure in the Camera app. When you tap to focus, in addition to the square indicating the focus area, you’ll also see a brightness scale, which is the new exposure control. Dragging your finger along the scale will make the photo lighter or darker.

iOS 8 Camera app - Exposure controls

Rearrange Share icons

You can now rearrange the options in the new Share sheets by tapping and holding on the options and dragging them around. You can disable sharing options such as Twitter and Facebook altogether either by tapping on the new “More” option when you swipe to the left, which is quite nifty.

iOS 8 - Share options & Custom Actions

➤ Read more: How to add, remove or re-order share options and actions in iOS 8

Request Desktop Site In Safari

Safari on iOS 8 has an option to request the desktop version of a website, if you find that the mobile version isn’t good enough or not functional. This option has been in Chrome for iOS since quite some time, and Apple has finally added it to Safari as well.

iOS 8 Request Desktop Site

➤ Read more: Safari in iOS 8

➤ Read more: How to add a website to Favorites; Request Desktop site in Safari in iOS 8

Autofill Credit Card information with Camera

When filling credit card forms on websites in Safari, you’ll see a new option to “Scan Credit Card” on top of the keyboard. On tapping the button, the camera will appear, with an indicator that you can position over your credit card. Once you’ve done that, iOS should automatically scan the info from your credit card and populate it in the form. Apple’s also using this feature to let users add their credit or debit cards to Apple Pay.

iOS 8 Safari Credit Card scan

Safari Saved Passwords in Native apps

You’ve likely got a lot of passwords saved in iCloud Keychain, from entering them in Safari on iOS and Mac. With iOS 8, you’ll now be able to autofill these passwords in native apps too. Users don’t have to worry about privacy, as Apple requires developers to go through a series of steps to verify that the app and domain are indeed owned by the same entity.


➤ Read more: iOS 8 lets apps access Safari saved passwords to speed up login

Peer-to-Peer AirPlay

AirPlay is great for streaming content like videos, photos and games from your iOS device or Mac to your Apple TV. With iOS 8, AirPlay can work without a Wi-Fi network, instead using peer-to-peer technology to move data. This eliminates the hassle of contacting both devices to a Wi-Fi network, and ensuring both devices are on the same network.

peer to peer airplay

➤ Read more: iOS 8 adds Peer-to-Peer AirPlay, makes setup easier

Private Browsing Per Tab

Safari for iOS lets you start private browsing sessions since quite a while, but it was an either or situation, unlike on the desktop, where you can have one normal window and one private window. iOS 8 brings similar behaviour to Safari with per tab Private browsing. So you can have a private browsing session on one tab, and a normal session on the other, without having to close either of those.

Active Siri Handsfree

You can now say “Hey Siri” and Siri will activate and start listening for your command. The catch is that this feature works only when the iPhone is connected to a power source. It’s great for times when you’re driving, and want to ask Siri for something, but don’t want to take your eyes off the road.

➤ Read more: How to activate Siri without pressing the Home button in iOS 8

Disable Notifications for an app with one switch

iOS 8 finally brings a very easy way to disable notifications for an app. Before iOS 8, you had to turn off various settings to completely disable notifications from an app. But in iOS 8, there’s a new Allow Notifications toggle in Settings > Notifications > App name that works as a global switch to enable to disable notifications.

iOS 8 - Allow Notifications - enabled

➤ Read more: How to quickly disable Notifications for an app in iOS 8

Zero Conf Instant Personal Hotspot

If your Mac or iPad isn’t getting Wi-Fi, and your iPhone is nearby, you’ll automatically see your iPhone’s hotspot in the Wi-Fi menu, and with just one click, you’ll be able to access the internet via your phone’s data connection. You don’t need to fiddle around with your iPhone’s settings, there’s no need to enter a password, the connection is just available whenever you need it, as long as your iPhone’s nearby.

instant hotspot

➤ Read more: Instant Hotspot makes Personal Hotspot much simpler