The first major update to Apple’s iOS 8 will be released later today, and iOS 8.1 will bring a number of changes to Apple’s mobile operating system.
Additional Continuity Features
While users who have devices running iOS 8, and OS X Yosemite installed on their Macs can already use Continuity features such as Handoff in apps like Pages or Numbers, and make and receive phone calls on their iPhones via their Macs, MacRumors notes that other features will be enabled today with the release of iOS 8.1. These features include SMS Relay and Instant Hotspot.
SMS Relay allows users with Mac running Yosemite, or an iOS device such as an iPad, to receive SMS messages that have been routed through a users’ iPhone, Previously iPads and Mac could receive iMessages, however SMS messages were limited to iPhones. When SMS Relay is turned on, SMS messages will be forwarded to a user’s iPad or Mac, and can then be read and responded to from any of the devices. You will also be able to start an SMS message conversation on a Mac or iPad.
Instant Hotspot, also due to be enabled via the iOS 8.1 update, will allow a Mac running Yosemite to remotely initiate the Personal Hotspot capabilities of an iPhone that is nearby. The Mac will automatically detect a Hotspot capable iPhone, and will enable connecting to the iPhone via the Mac’s Wi-Fi menu without needing to manually access the iPhone.
Camera Roll and iCloud Photo Library
Apple’s much-missed Camera Roll will be reinstated with iOS 8.1, alongside beta iCloud Photo Library access. iCloud Photo Library allows storing all of a user’s photos and videos in iCloud, using as much of your iCloud storage space as your current iCloud plan allows. iCloud Photo Library will store full-sized versions of your photos, while smaller versions will be kept on the device itself, taking up less storage space on the device.
iCloud Photo Library will be available to Mac users with the release of the upcoming Photos app for the Mac, but until then, it will be available only to iOS 8.1 users.
Not to be forgotten, iOS 8.1 will also enable the kickoff of Apple’s mobile payments solution, Apple Pay. When the service is activated on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices, users of those devices will be able to pay for goods and services at any participating merchant that accepts contactless payments.
Ideally, iOS 8.1 will also bring bug fixes for problems plaguing iOS 8 users, including the widely reported Bluetooth issue preventing some users from pairing their iPhones with Bluetooth devices and in-car entertainment systems.
Apple hasn’t announced a release time for the iOS 8.1 update, although it will likely drop to users sometime around mid-day. MacTrast will tweet to alert you when the update becomes available.