Apple released iOS 8 beta 4, OS X 10.10 beta 4 and an early beta of iTunes 12 for developers a few hours ago. We’ll get to the OS X and iTunes part later, there are some really cool, tiny but important changes in iOS 8 b4.
Here’s a list of some of the most important features noticed in iOS 8’s fourth beta.
The Tips app
So finally, the Tips app (that was hinted at the WWDC) shows up in iOS 8. The Tips app, it turns out, is more of a non-interactive presentation of the various new features in iOS 8. It covers the basics mostly but also has a few good tips about Mail, Messages, Camera etc.
Display & Brightness Gets a New Menu
Finally, Wallpapers and Brightness settings part ways. There’s a new option under Settings named Display & Brightness that now takes care of brightness levels, auto-brightness, text-size and Bold Text.
Control Center Slightly Redesigned
There’s a subtle but neat change in the Control Center icons. The icons lose the hard border. Instead, they’re just over a thin transparent layer. Tapping an icon turns it white to indicate that the setting is turned on.
New settings for Audio & Video file expiration
Under Settings → Music, there are new options that let you configure the expiration time for audio and video messages separately. Note that by default, Apple designed iOS 8 to have these instant audio and video messages you send to expire in a few days.
Showing Contacts in Task Switcher
The switcher shows recent/favorite contacts besides the apps running in the background. If you don’t want the contacts to show up, you can now turn them off. To do this, you go to Settings → Contacts → Show In App Switcher.
Mail, Swipe Options
The Mail app now lets you configure the settings for swipe actions. Swiping left or right over a mail shows you options like Flag, Archive/Trash, Mark as Read etc. You can configure which option shows up where.
Suggested Apps on Lockscreen and Switcher
This is one feature that’s been not very clearly demo’d so far but with iOS 8 beta 4, we’re clear. Suggested apps are app icons that show up on the bottom-left-corner of the lockscreen or the app switcher. These are location-based triggers. When you’re near an Apple Store, for instance, the Apple Store app icon will show up on the bottom-left of the screen.
You can configure this now. Under Settings → General → Handoff & Suggested Apps or under Settings → iTunes & App Store, you have two switches under the label Suggested Apps. My Apps shows apps that you have purchased/installed. App Store makes sure you’re also shown apps from the app store that you’ve not installed/purchased. Turning both the switches off disables the suggested apps feature, obviously.
Live Speech-to-text Typing
The dictation feature in iOS used to wait for you to finish a section of speech/dictation and then printed it out completely on the text-field/screen. In iOS 8b4, there’s a big change. Speech-to-text now works in “live mode” where dictation instantly deciphers what you’re saying and prints it out.
Bing Results in Spotlight Disable
Under Spotlight settings, you can disable / turn off Bing search results if you want to.
MedicalID On Lockscreen
MedicalID can contain all your important medical information (if you set it up). This can come in handy, say, during emergencies. One important change that has been introduced in iOS 8 b4 is that you can turn on/off Medical ID on the lockscreen. Turning it on is recommended because in case you’re involved in an accident and people nearby have lockscreen access to your iPhone, they will be able to view your medical information (and that can be helpful).
There are a few other changes too like, Safari’s bookmark icon now gets a curvy design, the Calories section in the Health app is split into three sections (Active, Dietary, Resting), Emoji icon on the keypad has been redesigned, Bug Reporter app is gone.