Apple has unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 8, with a promise to modernize the user experience on its popular iPhone, iPad and iPod devices.

The software will be released as a free update for iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina display, iPad Air, iPad mini and iPad mini with Retina display sometime later this year.

While you wait, here’s a look at some of the new features Apple executives announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on Monday:


Enhancing “continuity” between iOS and OS X devices, the next iOS will allow users to smoothly transition from mobile devices to desktop computers. 

When different devices are signed in to the same iCloud account, users will be able to start a task on one and finish it on another. Users will be able to start an email on their iPhone and finish it off on their Mac, for example, or start browsing the web on their computer and continue from the same link on their iPhone or iPad. Users will also be able to receive phone calls on their non-iPhone devices as long as they’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network.   


The new health-focused app will give users a dashboard of their health and fitness data. The app, developed in partnership with Mayo Clinic, will allow users to aggregate data about heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar level and cholesterol level into one easy-to-access hub, even if it’s collected by compatible third-party monitoring devices not made by Apple itself. Users can also create an emergency card with crucial health information, which will be available when the phone or tablet is locked. 


Apple’s updated photo editing software will make digital pictures available across devices, and will ensure that edits made on one will be visible on another. Users will be able to adjust their images with new composition, filtering, and editing tools. iOS cameras are also getting a time-lapse video feature.

Text messages

A new feature in iMessages will allow users to send audio clips from within the messages app, which feature a self-destruct button, similar to Snapchat, for audio, photo and video messages. Users will also be able to start a group conversation, which includes a Do Not Disturb button that will appear only in group conversations, in order to mute specific threads.

Users will also be able to alert other iMessage users of their whereabouts by sharing a map which pinpoints their exact location.

Keyboard changes

Apple says iOS 8 brings the biggest changes to its keyboard since the iPhone debuted. A new “quick type” feature will include word suggestions based on writing style, and the keyboard will also include an option of swiping over the keys rather than typing each character individually.

Family sharing

Apple’s iOS 8 will allow users to share music or movies purchased on iTunes with up to six family members. A shared calendar will also allow users to add and update events on a calendar that can appear on all family members’ devices.

Battery usage by app

Android users have enjoyed battery usage information on an app by app basis for years, and now Apple users will also be able to track how much power a specific app is using.


The search start-up DuckDuckGo will be available in iOS 8, giving users an extra search engine option, which that doesn’t track users for advertising purposes.