Apple is in a state of perpetual change, consistently releasing new devices and softwares. The newest — iOS 8. Since Apple’s release of the first operating system OS X in 2007, the softwares have been developed and improved exponentially. However, technology is never perfect. Even the ringleader of the tech world inevitably releases software with bugs. Before deciding to download the new iOS 8, evaluate the new features, benefits and potential problems.

The Basics of iOS 8

First and foremost, iOS upgrades are always free. Also, with iOS 8, there are no drastic visual changes. The design is extremely similar to iOS 7 with clean, modern-looking aesthetics. iOS 8 does however offer a multitude of important new features for users as well as app developers.

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A big concern in downloading the new iOS software is among those who haven’t upgraded to the newest iPhone or iPad models yet. According to Macworld, anything including and later than the iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPad mini 1, and iPod touch 5G will be able to run iOS8. But note that installing a more advanced software on older models may result in slower performance issues.

New User Features

For the less tech savvy, Apple offers a solution with iOS 8: the Tips app. It’s automatically downloaded along with the software and provides users with daily tips on how to navigate the iPhone and learn how to use the new features. That alone makes the new software installation less daunting.

The Messages and Mail components now provide the option to multi-task by sending a message down to the bottom of the screen while checking or copying material from another message. Then, with a single click, you can return to the message draft and complete it.

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Group messages are also organized more conveniently. There’s a “Do Not Disturb” option on a per-thread basis, and you can leave a thread at any point. The days of being bombarded by 50 texts against your will are over.

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Another new feature is the option to send Voice and Video Messages through the Messages application. Since they take up quite a bit of memory, they self-destruct after a certain period of time. If you think that’s cool, prepare yourself to be wowed. Voice messages appear in the lock screen, indicated with a wave graphic, and the voice message can be heard by simply lifting the iPhone to your ear. The reply is just as simple. Without pressing any on-screen controls, speak back into the phone just as if it was a phone call. When you lower the phone, the message is sent.

Continuity, another one of the most enticing new features, affects the Mac OS X Yosemite software as well. Continuity is the compatibility between desktop and mobile platforms, enabling users to answer calls and messages from their iPhones, iPads or Macs.

The new Health feature is less to do with technology and more to do with improving your lifestyle. With the download of iOS 8, just like the Tips application, comes the Health application. It offers a variety of health and fitness-related elements, even including the option to set your phone to count the number of steps you take each day.

iOS 8 has created a new way to bridge families with the Family Sharing feature. Up to six family members can create a family network, which will automatically configure photo and digital media sharing as well as location tracking. For families with younger children, Family Sharing includes a parental lock feature to avoid the unapproved purchase of dozens of game apps. When a kid tries to buy an app, a permission request appears on the parent’s device.

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The TouchID feature has also been brought to a new level with iOS 8. Instead of simply using the TouchID to unlock your phone, third-party apps are adopting the feature so the fingerprint safety feature can be used to log into banking apps, make secure payments, etc.

Along with certain bugs that may occur in exceptional cases, as of now, iOS 8’s only notable con is the amount of storage that is required to install. If you have a lot of music, videos, or photographs, you may have to delete some data in order to install the new software.

However, perhaps the most important aspect of the new iOS 8 software is that Apple is making it impossible for the police or the NSA to access users’ data, even with search warrants. Apple ensures that with iOS 8, all personal data such as photos, messages, e-mails, contacts, call history, notes, and more is placed under the protection of your passcode. With the new software, the data will be safely encrypted.

Sit back and relax knowing iOS 8 is adding a new world of features to your devices as well as Apple’s new privacy policy to help you organize and protect your valuable information.