5 New iOS 8 Features That Improve Your Productivity

iPhone sitting on table next to MacBook laptop

You might assume that most of the upgrades on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are under the hood. Apple promised a faster processor, improved camera and – long overdue for some people – a larger display.

However, some features in iOS 8 not only are an upgrade over previous versions but also make you more productive without having to download additional apps. Here are a few new iOS 8 features you might not know about that will ultimately make your life a lot easier.

Spotlight Search for iPhone

What previously frustrated many users about the iPhone was its search functionality. Sure, it was easy enough to search for most things just by opening Safari, but beyond finding contacts the iPhone search didn’t include much else. Right on cue comes Spotlight for iPhone – the same functionality you’ve grown to love (or at least have gotten used to) on the Mac, with a few extras to boot.

Spotlight Search on iPhone 6 screen

Going beyond the world of your iPhone, Spotlight search lets you search for just about anything. Spotlight uses your location and your search terms to show you results from everywhere: Wikipedia, the news, iTunes, stuff near you – even movie showtimes.

While Spotlight might seem like a feature that will only save you a couple of gestures, its ease of use and accessibility are something you won’t be able to live without.

Do More From Your Lock Screen

Apple launched some seemingly subtle upgrades in iOS 8, the most subtle being the actionable lock screen. Taking a page directly from the Android playbook, iOS 8 now lets you take more immediate action on alerts that appear on the lock screen.
Message showing on iPhone 6 lock screen

This is particularly exciting if you receive a large amount of alerts and notifications. Instead of having to completely interrupt the task you’re working on, reply to text messages and emails simply by dragging the alert down, which opens up a small text field where you can respond.

Say Goodbye to Typing Credit Card Numbers

While this wasn’t necessarily a pressing issue for many iPhone users, iOS 8 makes it even easier to key in credit card numbers. Safari now includes a “Scan Credit Card” button on the number pad, which will appear any time you tap to enter a new card number.

Credit card payment information screen on iPhone 6

This new feature captures both your name and your credit card number. However, you still need to manually key in your expiration date and security code.

The benefits from a productivity standpoint are obvious: keying in a credit card number, even on a desktop, can be a tedious task. Turning that task over to your iPhone’s camera could prove to be big (and could also make you spend money a little faster than you want).

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Talk-to-Type Is Now in Real Time

There’s a good chance that talk-to-type is a feature you rarely used. Many iPhone users complained that they often had to stop speaking and restart multiple times, so it was faster to simply type out a message manually. iOS 8 has taken this feature into real time, making it easier than ever to dictate a message to your iPhone.

Typing new email message on iPhone 6

Before, you had to press the Done button every so often and wait for the iPhone to convert what you said into text, which interrupted your speech flow. With the real-time update, iOS transcribes your words as you say them, so you only have to press Done once you’re really done dictating your message.

See Which Apps Are Sucking Up Battery Life

The biggest hurdle in productivity is your battery life. While the iPhone 6 Plus comes equipped with a battery large enough to get you through an entire day, many consumers were disappointed with the battery life of its smaller counterpart.

We’ve all been frustrated by our phones’ losing steam at critical times. But at least iOS gives you a clearer picture of which apps are sucking the battery life out of your iPhone.

Battery Usage screen on iPhone 6

In the case above, today looks like a day of heavy Web browsing, while this user’s Trivia Crack addiction seems to have subsided (for now). You can view the battery usage from the last 24 hours, as well as the average battery usage per app over the last seven days.

This helps you identify which apps you need to scale back on using, so you can preserve some juice and keep rocking that iPhone productivity.

Never Miss Another Meeting With Travel Time Calendar Alerts

In the past you might have enjoyed the buffer of being able to blame your phone for being late to a meeting because you only set an alert for 10 minutes prior. Like it or not, that’s no longer an excuse, thanks to the updated calendar in iOS 8.

Travel Time toggle switch screen on iPhone 6

Your new iPhone calendar lets you enter an address for a meeting, which iOS uses to calculate how much time it will take you to get there. It then factors that time into the event alert. The productivity benefits are obvious: not only will you respect your colleagues’ time more, but you’ll be able to stay on top of your own calendar better and avoid overlapping events.

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