8 great tips and tricks every iOS 8 user should know

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apple-iphones-ios8While iOS 7 was mainly concerned with cosmetic upgrades, the new iOS 8 is all about what goes on behind the scenes. Whether you’re already up and running with iOS 8, thinking about buying yourself an iPhone 6 or just wondering whether to download iOS 8 for an existing device, here’s a selection of tips, tricks and secrets to help you master the new features of iOS 8.

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Scan credit cards with the camera in Safari

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Buying a book, DVD or even the weekly groceries online, but don’t want to type your credit card number? In iOS 8, if you’re using Safari and run into a credit card field, you can take a photo of the card to scan the number – it’s then automatically added to the credit card field.

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Subscribe to websites using Shared Links

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This is one of those small but hugely useful features that you will love once you know about it. The Shared Links tab, under the bookmarks section, has always shown links from social networks but you can also subscribe to websites. To do so, visit the website then go to the Bookmarks section shown by the book icon. From here press the “@” icon, select “Subscriptions” from the bottom and then “Add Current Site” at the bottom. You can add and remove sites here, too. This works across Safari on all your devices.

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Private search with DuckDuckGo

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Apple has given you the choice of using DuckDuckGo as your search engine in Safari to help you browse the web without being tracked. To change to DuckDuckGo, go to Settings > Safari > Search Engine and choose DuckDuckGo in iOS 8’s Settings menu.

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Find out what’s using up your battery

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Some apps and processes use more battery power than others, and keeping an eye on what’s chewing up the juice will keep your iPhone or iPad going for longer. iOS 8 has a hidden setting that can tell you exactly what’s using battery so you can spot nuisance apps and shut them down. Go to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage and you will then see a rundown of exactly how long your iOS 8 device has been switched on and how much battery life each app has used in the past 24 hours.

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Find your iPhone or iPad even when the battery has died

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Yes, it’s something that we have all done – dropped the phone down the back of the couch or left the iPad buried under a pile of magazines. Now a new feature for Find my iPhone and Find my iPad means you can track down your iOS 8 device even if the battery has gone dead. Go to Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone/iPad and select Sent Last Location. If you then lose your device and the battery runs out, or it has no signal, then you can quickly check to see where it is. Crisis averted.

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Quickly turn predictive QuickType text on and off

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One of iOS 8’s new features is a predictive text system called QuickType. This isn’t new if you’ve had an Android phone, but it’s new to iOS. You now get a bar that automatically generates suggestions as you type, learning what words you use as you go. There are two ways to turn this feature on or off. One is two swipe up or down from the top edge of the keyboard. The other is to press and hold the “Emoji” icon in the bottom left, which brings up a simple toggle.

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Add to favourites

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Website bookmarks have been replaced by Favourites on the iPhone. To mark a page as a favourite, tap the Search bar and pull down to reveal the new Add To Favourites option. Sites marked as Favourites show above the Frequently Visited section (when you tap Search) and under Bookmarks > Favourites. Drag icons from Frequently Visited to Favourites to save them.

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Stuart O’Connor