iOS 8.1 is Ready for Your iPhone: Here's What's New

By Gerald Lynch on at

With OS X Yosemite now sliding its way down phone lines and onto Mac computers the world over, Apple's just pushed out the complimentary iOS 8.1 update to iPhones, iPads and iPods. As well as a number of bug fixes and new features, arguably its most exciting new trick is the way it lets our mobile devices communicate with your Mac computers. Here's a quick rundown of everything iOS 8.1 allows your Apple phone to do.

Continuity and Handoff

If your iPhone, iPod or iPad is in the vicinity of your Mac laptop of desktop machine running Yosemite, each can now seamlessly communicate and share data with the others. With all devices linked to the same iCloud account, iCloud lets you start a task on one device (say, sending an email or woking on a Pages document) and carry on exactly where you left off on the other.

Other Continuity features allow your phone to quickly act as a mobile hotspot for your computer without the need for a complicated set-up process, as well as answering calls and receiving SMS messages at your Yosemite-running Mac.

Welcoming the iCloud Photo Library

If you're looking for a simple way to back up photos and videos from your iPhone to the cloud, were not a fan of Photo Stream and haven't discovered the delights of Dropbox, the iCloud Photo Library is for you. All your clips and snaps can be automatically pushed to your iCloud account, visible in Yosemite's new iCloud Drive area. If you still trust iCloud, that is.

Return of the Camera Roll 

If it ain't broke, don't fix it -- a phrase clearly Apple hadn't heard of when putting out iOS 8. It removed the perfectly-fine Camera Roll in favour of a "Recently Added" photos area. Everyone hated it. Everyone complained. Apple have put the Camera Roll back. PEOPLE POWER.

Apple Pay

OK, so Apple Pay won't be ready for business in the UK until some undefined point in 2015, but iOS 8.1 does pave the way for its introduction over here too. Visa is said to be in talks to introduce Apple's payment systems on European turf. Apple Pay ties in to your bank account, and uses an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus's NFC chip in tandem with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner to allow for and authenticate contactless payments. Your phone, effectively, becomes your wallet.

Getting Out the Bug Spray

As well as introducing brand new features, iOS 8.1 introduces plenty of fixes for Apple's mobile operating system. These include fixing Bluetooth connectivity problems introduced with iOS 8, and notifications for when a device is running low on storage space ahead of shooting in Time Lapse video mode. Data encryption and TLS certificates in iCloud have also had vulnerabilities patched up, with the problematic SSL 3.0 POODLE security flaw has also been plugged up.