A complete guide to iOS 8

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iOS 8 looks to be one of the most feature-packed updates to Apple’s mobile platform since the launch of the App Store. Learn how to use it with our comprehensive guides.


iOS 8 is now available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, bringing new functionality and features to the platform.

Custom keyboards, better sharing between apps, widgets, an improved Camera app, and new Messages features are all included in Apple’s new mobile software. The list doesn’t end there — below you will find the complete guide to becoming an iOS 8 pro. We even uncover some hidden features not discussed by Apple during the iOS 8 announcement in June.

This post will be updated as new content goes live, so be sure to bookmark and check back often.

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Get started with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus

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iPhone Comparison


Congratulations, you’ve snagged yourself a brand-new iPhone. But before you get to playing with your new device, you’ll probably want to get to know it and set it up. Thanks to iOS’s step-by-step activation process, Apple’s made it pretty simple to get started; but just in case you need some extra help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide for activating your new iPhone, transferring data from your old phone, and some suggestions for exploring its new features.

Transfer your data

You’ve moved to the latest and greatest in the iOS world, and to do so, you’re leaving your old device behind. But before you send it off with a fond farewell, you have to decide whether you want to transfer its data to your new iPhone. Here are the various ways to do so, depending on whether you’re moving from an old iPhone, a different smartphone, or a feature phone.

Upgrade from an older iPhone

If you’re upgrading from an older iPhone, you can transfer all its apps, data, and settings to your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. (Depending on where you’ve purchased your music and video collection, you may still have to sync your new phone with iTunes for those items.) To do so, you’ll need to make a backup (via iTunes or, if you’re running iOS 5 or later, via iCloud) of your information. You can then restore that backup onto your new phone during the setup process.

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iOS 8: The best new features, and a few hidden gems

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You’ve just installed iOS 8 on your shiny (OK, slightly battered) iPhone. At first glance, it looks rather similar to iOS 7 — but don’t let looks be deceiving! There are lots of cool new features in iOS 8 just waiting to be discovered, such as widgets (!) and the long-overdue ability to install third-party keyboards such as Swype.

Read on to discover our favorite new features of iOS 8 — and if you have one that isn’t listed here, be sure to let us know in the comments. At the end, we’ve included a few “hidden” features of iOS 8 that you may have missed.

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Can Apple Pay Succeed Where Others Have Failed?

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Apple wants to replace plastic credit cards with the Apple Pay mobile wallet and the new iPhone 6. Will it finally be the one to succeed?

Apple Pay

by Marguerite Reardon  @maggie_reardon
/September 11, 2014 9:17 AM PDT

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will come with an NFC chip that will allow users to pay for things by tapping their phone.
The new Apple Pay service is not much different from other mobile wallets already on the market, but it’s likely to have a better chance than any other solution of getting people to use smartphones to pay for things.
Google, PayPal and joint venture Softcard (formerly Isis) — made up of three of the nation’s largest wireless operators — are just a few of the companies that have spent years and millions of dollars trying to convince consumers that they should chuck their plastic credit cards and instead pay for things with a smartphone or mobile app.
Now Apple is getting into the game, unveiling Apple Pay this week at a splashy event that also introduced the Apple Watch and the big-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to the world.
But so far, consumers have not seen a real need to stop using the plastic cards that already line their wallets. As a result, very few people have actually ditched other forms of payment in favor of using their phones. The number is so small in fact, most market research firms aren’t even tracking it.
“Contactless mobile payments is a rounding error for the big payment networks,” said James Wester, global research director for mobile payments at industry analyst firm IDC Financial Insights.
The reason? It’s simple. Consumers don’t have a problem paying the old-fashioned way.

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Apple pulls HealthKit apps from its iOS 8 launch after discovering a last-minute bug

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Well, iOS 8 is here and, assuming you can get through to the servers and free up enough space on your device, you’ll have a shiny, new operating system to play with. But, a last-minute hiccup has prompted Apple to remove third-party apps from its App Store that had enabled day-one HealthKit support.

MyFitnessPal, which just announced miCoach support, has removed its latest update from the store and is working with Apple to resubmit a new version without HealthKit functionality.

CARROT Fit’s HealthKit update has also been pulled from the App Store.MacRumors reports that developer Brian Mueller posted on Twitter that HealthKit is “broken and isn’t ready to launch” with no ETA on a fix, but those tweets have since been deleted.

wwdc 2014 898 730x486 Apple pulls HealthKit apps from its iOS 8 launch after discovering a last minute bug

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Nokia 635: The Doorway to the Smartphone World

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Nokia 635

Foster Braun, 9/4/14

Foster Braun

Most of us Americans are so used to the array of smartphones with all the bells and whistles in every 7 Eleven, Best Buy or AT&T store that it’s hard to imagine a world without them. We ho-hum the latest version of the Yazoo phone because it only has 16 GB of internal storage, quad-core processor etc. Unfortunately for manufacturers that razzle dazzle end of the smartphone market is slowing down because in our country and most of the “First World, markets are saturated. However, there are literally billions of users around the world just waiting for the right device to move up from their feature phones. Enter the Lumia 635 offered in the US on AT&T.

This creates a strange dilemma for this reviewer. To wit: Do I compare apples to apples or mix up my fruit selection? On the face of it, for the majority of US smartphone users, this device would be a step down. It sports a mere 8 GB of internal storage (up to 128 GB more on a micro SD card), just 512 MB (that’s right campers MB) of RAM and no rear facing camera! What?! No selfies?! BUT for folks who have only been able to afford feature phones this is a massive step up with a 4.5” LCD Touch screen made of Gorilla Glass premiering the new and improved Windows Phone 8.1 with Nokia Cyan Mod.

As in past reviews, I will leave the technical review to the experts and one of the most thorough ones I have ever found is at GSM Arena. My focus is on the personal experience with the Nokia 635 on AT&T (who kindly provided the device for testing.) Now with full disclosure made, let’s get to the point.

Getting Down to Details

You need to understand that at the time I was using the 635 I was also using an iPhone 5. They are identical in size and outward appearance; so the “hands on feel” i.e. tactile experience is pretty much identical. What was a bit disorienting was Nokia’s decision to move all the buttons to the right hand side. On previous Nokia devices and the iPhone, the rocker buttons for the volume are on the left and the power button is on the right, which is very handy for a righty like me. On the other hand, the rubberized texture of the 635 was much more comfortable in the hand than the iPhone 5.

Buttons on the 635 are all on the screen and have the unique Windows 8.1 functions attached, e.g. holding down the left button for a second brings up a screen with all the active windows allowing you to scroll to the one you want to use or to simply “X” out of the single windows one by one. As with most smartphones, holding down the center button brings you back to the home screen with the unique Windows live tiles that are being imitated with varying degrees of success by Android and Apple.

Walled Gardens

A quick word here about smartphone operating systems. Increasingly phone OS are becoming the determining factor in device selection. Every one of the big players: Android, Apple and Microsoft are shooting for hooking you on their system. I won’t go into a long dissertation about the respective merits of the individual systems except to say that I believe that Windows 8.1 with rare exception can run with the best of the OS’s, particularly following the recent Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade. For instance Microsoft recently introduced Word Flow keyboards to Windows Phones that will work just like the immensely popular Swift Key on Android (also soon to be imitated in Apple’s iOS 8). The bottom line is that if you enjoy the Windows Phone 8.1 OS then you will love this phone. It is worth noting that the Nokia 635 (along with two other devices) are the only Windows Phones to come with the most recent version of Windows Phone 8.1 installed out of the box.

App Rhymes with C***

One outstanding problem, however, are the applications which are carbon copies of main Android and iOS programs…without the polish in many cases. The most glaring example for me is the horrible version of my favorite note taking app, Evernote, which is just plain buggy, slow and clumsy. However, it is hard to blame the current leaders at Microsoft for this since the problem is twofold: 1. the competition was way out front in the development of money making apps and 2, the original Windows Phone 8 team deliberately kept developers from seeing the OS until it was launched for “fear” of someone stealing their “secret sauce”. This handicapped the Windows Phone developers and was hardly enticing to them since they could already make a ton of money on Android and iOS. Why develop anything for Windows? The result has been a lot of low grade knock offs of existing software (e.g. Evernote) or pure misleading apps and scams. Microsoft is finally flushing out the garbage, but it’s too little, too late for many.

There is a redeeming factor in the Nokia 635 and that is the excellent Nokia software on board:

Windows Phone 8.1 brings a plethora of new features and UI improvements, while Lumia Cyan build on that and delivers Nokia’s exclusive apps such as the Nokia Camera, Creative Studio, Storyteller, plus it adds some additional options on selected Lumia smartphones, such as Miracast Wireless Display support and Dolby Surround Sound capturing.” (GSM Arena).

This is not the typical junk that Samsung and/or the carriers slathers on user interfaces, but really helpful, well done programs (like the Here mapping programs and Drive+) you find native to this and pretty much all Nokia devices.

Hello Cortana

Finally let us not forget Cortana, the new vocal assistant which is mounting a serious challenge to both Apple’s Siri and Google Now. I won’t go into detail but I will say that I found this to work much more smoothly on the 635 than Siri does on my iPhone 5. Personal taste perhaps but you should keep this in mind as an increasingly important component to any phone device.


Before I wrap this up, I do need to admit that there are some hardware limitations to the Nokia 635. The processor runs on just 512 MB of RAM but is not noticeably sluggish. There is only one camera and it is just 5 MP but with the excellent Nokia Camera software it was more than a match for the iPhone 5 I use on a regular basis and has been horribly disappointing. Obviously if you are a photog, this little phone won’t fit your bill, but then neither would a little Kodak Brownie! Remember, this is an entry level device in the smartphone category.


I think the decision to buy a Nokia 635 boils down to two things:

  1. Your comfort with the Windows Phone 8.1 OS, which in my opinion is a match for either of the other contenders except in terms of some software and that is improving daily.
  2. Your price point. Right now AT&T, the primary Nokia 635 carrier, is offering mind-bending deals that range from $.99 (2 year contract), to $5.84/mo. “Next” installments (24) or the very reasonable $139.99 No contract deal.

The Nokia 635 is a sound piece of hardware from the leading smartphone device maker in the world. It is an entry level device without a lot of restrictions for someone who is just getting into smartphones, seniors on a fixed income, college students with financial restraints and kids just breaking out of the feature phones and into the “big leagues”. At the prices AT&T, one of the biggest cell providers in the country, is offering, this is a virtual no brainer unless you “owe your soul to the company store”, i.e. Android or Apple.


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DALLAS, sept. 4, 2014AT&T* announced today that its 4G LTE network – the nation’s most reliable — now reaches more than 300 million Americans.*

“The strong performance we saw in our mobility business in the second quarter is continuing, not only because of our new service and device plans, but because more customers can get it all on a fast, reliable 4G LTE network that now covers more than 300 million Americans,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. “Great service and strong customer loyalty begin with having a great mobile network for customers where they live. That’s our number one priority and that’s why our mobile business is hitting on all cylinders.”

Apple TV Live Streams iPhone 6 Release

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On the off chance that you can’t tune in to the usual witty banter between yours truly and our own editorial director, Jason Snell, as we live blog September 9’s Apple event, good news: Apple will be streaming the whole shindig on its site, in living color.The page, posted on Thursday, features a countdown clock, merrily ticking away the seconds, minutes, hours, and days until Apple releases, well, whatever the heck it’s going to release. Apple promises that live video from the event “will be right here,” adding tantalizingly, “And so will a whole lot more.” The stream kicks off at 10 a.m. Pacific/1 p.m. Eastern on Tues.

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Cortana vs. Siri vs. Google Now: AI Cage Match

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Hi Cortana

by    @jdolcourt  April 14, 2014 5:00 AM PDT

Not everyone likes speaking commands into their phone, but for those who do, Microsoft’s new Cortana voice assistant for Windows Phone 8.1 is exactly the viable competitor to Apple’s Siri and Google Now that the company needs to keep its Windows Phone OS current.

Like Siri and, to a lesser extent, Google’s voice actions, Cortana is a personable (or vaguely person-like) voice-activated system for taking dictation, looking things up, and opening apps. (Yes, Halo fans — Cortana is named for Master Chief’s AI companion, and even voiced by the same talent: actress Jen Taylor.) Even in its early beta stage, Cortana mostly keeps pace with its rivals, and introduces one or two minor innovations that Apple and Google can learn from.

While Cortana isn’t revolutionizing the field of voice assistants, it does give Windows phones a sorely-needed boost in the voice option department — the previous generation, fueled by TellMe, was limited and impersonal. Out of all the additions to the Windows Phone 8.1, it’s Cortana that pulls the most weight keeping the Windows Phone in the OS game.

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Five ways to keep your student’s digital life safe

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As students return to school, technology goes with them. That technology—and the data generated by it—is valuable not simply as a means for getting school work done, but also as entertainment for those brief hours between one assignment and the next. It’s for this reason that it pays to plan for disaster. With a single massive power burst, storage media that suddenly heads south, or interaction with a light-fingered ne’er-do-well, the technology your student depends on can vanish. Take these five tips to heart, however, and the loss of a device or data need not be catastrophic.

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