Get to know iOS 8

Get to know iOS 8: Changes in the Settings app

ios8 settings closeup

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Get to know iOS 8

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With every new version of iOS, Apple loves to add, tweak, and change settings; unsurprisingly, iOS 8 is no different. Here’s a comprehensive list of just about everything the company has changed in iOS 8 within the Settings app.


The Cellular section used to be hidden in iOS’s General section in previous versions, but was moved to the main screen of the Settings app in iOS 7. It remains there in iOS 8, and for the most part remains unchanged—Cellular features toggles for Cellular Data, LTE, and Data Roaming, along with the menu for using your iPhone as a Personal Hotspot (which, oddly enough, also gets its own listing on the main screen).


Though most of the Cellular settings remain unchanged, the toggle layout has been rearranged a bit.

If you have a sharp eye, you’ll notice that the layout of these toggles has changed ever so slightly: Cellular Data and Enable LTE are now stacked directly on top of each other with a shared caption about usage. They used to each have their own caption.

Scrolling down, you’ll find info on your Call Time, broken down by Current Period and the total Lifetime of your iPhone. Your iPhone doesn’t automatically start these new data periods—if you’d like to track a specific time period, scroll all the way down and tap Reset Statistics to start the count from zero. This won’t affect the Lifetime count. Keep an eye on this section to avoid going over your monthly allotment of cellular call minutes (if your plan has restrictions, of course). 

You’ll also find info on your overall and roaming cellular-data usage, combining uploads and downloads into one usage stat. This is split into Current Period (which is again tied to the time period you set with Reset Statistics) and Current Period Roaming. Roaming usage is super handy for travelers with a data limit, as it lets you easily keep an eye on how much data you’re using and scale back if necessary.

See that long list of apps in the next section? Those are all of the apps on your iPhone that use cellular data—all apps use cellular by default, but you can tap the toggle next to an apps’ name to restrict it to Wi-Fi downloading. This will help tremendously if you’re trying to watch your data usage.

Finally, at the very bottom of the screen, you’ll see a listing for System Services; tap it to see all of the services that use data, and how much data each is using. Uninstalled Apps shows how much data any apps you’ve recently uninstalled used during the current period before you gave them the axe.


This section controls how your iPhone will receive notifications from other apps, and how they’ll appear in your personal Notification Center—the info panel that appears when you swipe down from the top of your iPhone’s screen. As far as settings go, we’ve gone there and back again with Notifications and how it’s listed: When iOS 7 launched, the Notifications section got a new name—Notification Center—but has now gone back to plain Notifications with iOS 8. (It’s probably more fitting, as you monitor all of your notifications here, not just what is displayed in your Notification Center.) 


Goodbye, Today View; Hello, Family and Tips. 

If you’re migrating from iOS 7, you’ll find that most of the same commands are here, but they’re laid out slightly differently. Right away, you’ll notice that the Today View section is gone, which indicated what you’d see in Notification Center’s Today tab. Instead, you can find those controls directly within Notification Center—just tap the Edit button at the bottom of your Today tab.

Back to Notifications. You’ll start by selecting how to sort your notifications, either manually or by time; tap your preferred view to select it.

You’ll then see two lists of apps: Include, and Do Not Include. Include contains each app on your iPhone that has some kind of notification enabled; tap each app individually to control how that notification will be presented. And there is a lot you can control, starting with whether or not you even want to receive a push notification from this app—toggle it off if you don’t. Next, pick how many recent items from this app you’d like to see in your Notification Center; tap the listing to pick between none, one, five, and ten. Select what sound you’d like, whether you want a badge with the app’s icon to appear, and if you’d like notifications for this app to pop up on your lock screen. Finally, select an alert style: None, Banners (a bar across the top of your screen that pops down when you get an incoming notification), or Alerts (which pop up on the center of your screen). 

Depending on the app, you might have a few more options. Calendar, for example, lets you set individual notification commands based on the incoming info—it’s split by upcoming events, invitations, invitee responses, and shared calendar changes. 

Yes, it’s a bit annoying to have to change your Notification settings one app at a time, but the amount of control really lets you customize your app experience. 

Depending on your carrier, you may have a section that allows you to enable and disable Amber and government emergency alerts.

For all you iOS veterans, all of that is old news—just laid out a bit differently. One new feature you’ll find in Notifications is a control for Family Sharing. Family Sharing is a new iOS 8 feature, and it allows you to register up to six Apple IDs to one “family.” Family members can then share app and media purchases across devices, have access to a shared family photo album and calendar, and much more. Here, you can set specific notification types for members within your Family Sharing account. 

Apple introduced a brand new app for iOS 8 called Tips, which gives you a weekly tip to teach you more about your iPhone and iOS 8. You’ll have the option to control Tips’ notifications here, too. 


Your catch-all General settings have largely gone unchanged, save for a few rearrangements and one new addition. 

ABOUT The only change in the About section is the removal of the Diagnostics & Usage item.


Handoff & Suggested Apps are two new features for iOS 8: Handoff makes use of OS X Yosemite's Continuity, and Suggested Apps, well, suggests apps for you to use based on where you are. 

SIRI Siri can now respond to your cry of “Hey Siri” when your iPhone is connected to a power source—just toggle on Allow “Hey Siri” to try this out. This has replaced the Raise to Speak option from iOS 7.

SPOTLIGHT SEARCH iOS 8 introduces two additional categories that can be included in Spotlight Search, which you access by swiping down on the screen. Spotlight Search now digs up Spotlight Suggestions and Bing Web Results. Warning: You might want to check out the Spotlight Suggestions & Privacy disclaimer at the bottom.

HANDOFF & SUGGESTED APPS This is a new section for two new features. Handoff lets you start something on one device and pick it up on another device, linked together by iCloud. Of course, there are some caveats: Mobile devices must be running iOS 8, and your Mac or MacBook must be running OS X Yosemite—which hasn’t shipped yet. This is part of Apple’s Continuity plan, and we can’t wait to put it to the test.

As for Suggested Apps, this feature will recommend apps for you to use depending on your current location and display them on your lock screen. Toggle on My Apps to get suggestions on apps you already have installed; Toggle on App Store for recommendations for apps you don’t own, but that your iPhone thinks will be useful.


Subtle tweaks were made to the tortise and hare icons and VoiceOver controls; you'll notice several other upgrades to iOS 8's Accessibility options. 

ACCESSIBILITY This section has actually changed quite a bit, offering a wider range of options for those who need assistance. Options are broken down into different categories, starting with Vision. To start, the Text Size controls have been folded into Accessibility; you’ll find them by tapping Larger Text, and then use the scroll panel to set the size. You’ll also notice a new toggle for Grayscale, and a new category for Speech controls, with toggles for Speak Selection, Speak Screen, and Speak Auto-text (which used to be found on the main Accessibility screen, but have now been condensed).

VoiceOver has a few tweaks, including updates to the adorable tortoise and hare icons on the Speaking Rate control slider. Where the Use Compact Voice toggle once was, you’ll find an option for Speech, where you can select your dialect based on your language (which used to be a standalone Accessibility control) and add a rotor language. Braille has a couple of more in-depth options, including the braille display’s output and input types (six-dot, eight-dot, or contracted), and a toggle to turn pages when panning. Rotor has two new additions: Audio Ducking and Braille Screen Input. Another new control is Typing Style; iOS 8 supports Standard Typing, Touch Typing, or Direct Touch Typing. 


Accessibility categories got a new layout. 

Zoom houses your controls for magnifying the entire screen, and has a few more options in iOS 8. You’ll find toggles for Follow Focus, Zoom Keyboard, and Show Controller, which reminds you of your zoom gesture controls in case you need a reminder. You can also set your Zoom Region (either Window Zoom or Full Screen Zoom) and select your maximum zoom level. 

When looking at the Hearing assistance options, you’ll notice that the Subtitles & Captioning controls have moved to a new category—Media, which also offers an option for Video Descriptions.

The Physical & Motor category found in iOS 7 has been renamed as Interaction in iOS 8; within this category, the Incoming Calls function has been renamed to Call Audio Routing.

USAGE Usage now provides a deeper a look at what apps are draining your precious battery life, which you can find by tapping Battery Usage. It shows what apps you’ve been using for the past 3 hours and the proportion of battery used by each app. Pretty nifty if you’re trying to find the worse battery offenders to kill in a pinch.

AUTO-LOCK You can now select “Never” as an auto-lock option.

RESTRICTIONS Privacy buffs will surely appreciate iOS 8’s new restriction on location sharing— tap Share My Location to turn this restriction on. In turn, Find My Friends has been removed as a restriction option.

LANGUAGE & REGION Formerly known as International, Language & Region is where you’ll select your iPhone’s language and select your region formats. A few things have been shuffled around in this section—there are no longer controls for keyboards and voice control here, for example, though you can easily find them in other settings controls (keyboards is on the main General page). You’ll also find an Advanced option that will automatically reformat dates, times, and numbers to be the same as the primary language.

Display & Brightness

Formerly Wallpapers & Brightness, this setting gets a new name, icon, and moves wallpaper picking into its own section. iOS 7’s dynamic Text Size picker and the Bold Text switch from the Accessibility section also now show up here.


ios8 settings wallpaper

Yes, you can rejoice—your wallpaper now has its very own section of the Settings app. Here you can, unsurprisingly, view your current Lock screen and Home screen background, as well as pick new backgrounds. iOS 8 adds no new dynamic wallpaper images, but you will find two new static images: the underwater sea shot so prominent in the marketing, and a white shade of the hexagonal wallpaper already available in pink, orange, blue, green, grey, and black.

Touch ID & Passcode

In iOS 8, you can enable access to a few more features on a locked phone if you choose to. Specifically, you can toggle on the Today and Notifications View screens for Notification Center.


With every iOS release, Apple’s privacy settings expand and diversify, and iOS 8 is no exception. The biggest addition to the company’s Privacy settings screen comes inside the Location Services submenu; here, you’ve got a new subsection on sharing your location, more refined control for apps, and new system services toggles.

ios8 settings share my location

LOCATION SERVICES: The Share My Location screen lets you turn location sharing on or off globally, lists any friends you’re sharing your location with permanently (temporary location-sharing friends won’t appear here), and offers a Stop Sharing My Location button for each at the bottom of their contact card.

Apps, too, have slightly more granular settings within Location Services. In iOS 7, you could toggle location services on or off for a specific program; with iOS 8, each app has the “Allow Location Access” submenu, with options for Never, Always, or While Using the App.

Within System Services, you’ll find new on/off toggles for the Find My iPhone service, Location-Based Alerts, Motion Calibration, Share My Location, Spotlight Suggestions, and Improve Maps (relocated from the Frequent Locations submenu).

OTHER PRIVACY FEATURES: In iOS 8, you can choose whether to allow third-party apps access to your Camera, Health, HomeKit, and Motion Activity data; those apps you’ve let in will appear in new Privacy menus named after each of those features.

The Diagnostics & Usage submenu (found at the bottom of the Privacy screen) also has a new toggle: Share with App Developers. If you turn it on, this feature lets third-party developers see anonymized crash data and statistics about how you use their apps.

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