Hands-On with Three of the Coolest iOS 8 Tricks

By Eric Limer on at

The beta version of iOS 8 is finally here, and with it comes a whole slew of new features. Among the big ones are a health-tracking app, HomeKit, and the OS X-integrating Handoff, but the real beauty lies in the little things.

Of course, there's still plenty of beta-style kinks to work out, and we've only just begun to explore everything iOS 8 has to offer (we'll have a more in-depth look tomorrow). But for now, here's a GIF-look at three of our favourite new features coming to you in iOS 8.

Swipe to Text

Hands On with Three of the Coolest iOS 8 Tricks

Compared to Android, the iOS Notification Centre has been a little bit lacking. But with widgets, that's about to change. Among the many widgets that will start popping up in the weeks to come, you can finally respond to texts directly from the notification itself.

Focus and Exposure Controls

Hands On with Three of the Coolest iOS 8 Tricks

For anyone with even the most moderate of photographic aspirations, iOS 7's camera app wasn't as power as you might hope. It came with a few filters, slow-mo, and—that's pretty much it. We still don't quite have the same sort of functionality you see in some camera apps out there, the ability to control exposure independent of focus goes a long way towards photo quality.

Contact Scroll Bar

Hands On with Three of the Coolest iOS 8 Tricks

One of the biggest changes in iOS 7 (other than the obvious flatness, of course) was the addition of real, live multitasking. This time around, Apple took advantage of the extra space to make one of the phone's most functional screens even more-so. Just double-click, and you'll be able to swipe along both your favorites and your most recent contacts.