Apple

5 cool new features in iOS 8.3

Apple's newest mobile operating system, iOS 8.3, is now available. Cory Bohon takes a look at five cool new features that you can expect to see when you upgrade your iOS device to iOS 8.3.

iOS 8.3

Apple released iOS 8.3 last week, but it didn't really divulge many of the newest features that you can use in your workflow now. After upgrading your device, here are five of the coolest features you'll find in the latest iOS update.

1. Password not required for free downloads

With the iTunes App Store, if you don't have Touch ID enabled for purchases, you can easily tweak the password settings so that you no longer have to enter the password when downloading free items from the iBook Store or iTunes App Store.

Here's how to do this:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Navigate to iTunes & App Stores | Password Settings
  3. Select either Always Require or Require After 15 Minutes
  4. Disable the toggle for Require Password (Figure A)

Figure A

Figure A

Disabling this option will no longer require you to enter your password when downloading free items.

2. Wireless CarPlay

If you utilize CarPlay in a compatible car, you'll love this new feature. With iOS 8.3 and compatible CarPlay systems, you can now use CarPlay from your device without the need to plug your device into your car. Consult your particular CarPlay system to find out how to enable this feature.

3. Siri speakerphone calls

You can now make speakerphone calls using Siri in iOS 8.3. Use Siri as you normally would to call a contact, but add "using speakerphone" after the comment. For example, you can easily call a contact by saying the following phrase to Siri:

"Call [Contact Name] using speakerphone"

When you do this, Siri will initiate a call per normal; however, the call will be placed on speakerphone, allowing you to be completely hands-free with the conversation. Pair this with the "Hello Siri" command to wake Siri when your iPhone is plugged in, and you can start a phone call on speaker without ever needing to touch your phone.

4. Filtering iMessage conversations

The Messages app includes a new feature that lets you easily filter out messages based on people who are in your contacts list and those who are not. To enable this feature, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Messages
  3. Locate the Filter Unknown Senders toggle, and ensure that it's switched ON

After doing this, whenever you navigate to the Messages app, a new toggle will appear at the top of the view that lets you switch between Contacts & SMS and Unknown Senders (Figure B).

Figure B

Figure B

This feature lets you easily determine which messages you want to focus on at a particular time.

5. Report iMessage spam

If a sender is not in your contact list in iOS, and you receive an iMessage from them, you can now report their message to Apple as a junk message. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Select a message thread that you want to report as junk
  3. At the bottom of the message list, you'll see a new button that says Report Junk. Tapping this button will mark the message as Junk and report it to Apple (Figure C).

Figure C

Figure C

Marking a message as Junk automatically reports the sender to Apple.

What other cool new features have your discovered in iOS 8.3? Let us know in the discussion thread below.

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About Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

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