The recent release of iOS 8 brought with it a flurry of third-party app updates to spice up your new or existing Apple mobile device.
Just like the iOS 7 makeover led to beautiful flat redesigns and slick new features, developers are stepping up their game with even more useful features for Apple’s latest software update. From the much requested copy and paste feature in the Kindle app, to the new Safari extensions and Notification widgets, the following are a list of handpicked highlights.
Don’t let me have the last word – let us know which apps have impressed you since the iOS 8 jump in the comments.
Amazon Kindle (Free)
I recently compared Kindle and iBooks and one of the biggest issues was an inability copy text in Kindle, but now you can! You can select and copy text and paste it into a another app, such as an email or in a notebook app. This a major update, especially for students and other readers who like to keep seperate notes as they read.
The Kindle update also includes support for the new Today widget in Notification Center, which shows and links to your three most recently opened Kindle books on your device. This is useful for multi-book readers who want to quickly open a book from the Notification Center.
Note: To add a widget for any supporting app, open Notification Center on your iOS device, tap on Today, scroll down to the bottom, and tap Edit. Use the plus “+” and minus “-” buttons to remove and reorder your widgets.
Day One ($4.99)
My favorite iOS journal, Day One, also added a Today widget that randomly shows and links to past journal entries. It also includes stats of the average word counts for your journal entries, photo counts, and entries per day for the last 50 days.
Bloom also added support for Touch ID, so you can keep your journal even more private and easier to access. It definitely saves a few taps on your device. By the way: Day One is a sponsor of the upcoming 30-Day Digital Journaling Challenge, starting October 1st.
Password manager 1Password also showed up to the iOS 8 party, adding Touch ID access for quicker access to credentials. Agile still requires users enter their master password after a preset number of days, an added security measure, and one that is sure to stop you forgetting your password.
The app also includes a Safari extension, for logging into an account. Safari extensions are enabled by tapping on the Safari Share menu (an arrow pointing out of a box), and scrolling to the right to locate the extension for a supporting app. When you tap on the 1Password app, it opens to the saved login data, which you tap to open and insert it in the Safari account page. If you use Touch ID, this process saves tapping, while also keeping your accounts secure.
The extension also works for supporting third-party apps, such as Instapaper, Slack, and InBrowser.
The tasks manager app 2Do has also received a big iOS update, decked out with a totally new “flat” redesign. Its iOS 8 updates includes over 200 new features, such as a native GTD style Inbox and Quick Add for inputting tasks and lists.
There’s also a pinch zoom action for changing the amount of detail you want see in your list of tasks, a pop-out tags panel, as well as Touch ID for protecting your content. Check out the tutorial guide, accessed in the app’s settings, for more detailed information.
The read later app, Instapaper, is still going strong with its own Notification Center widget that displaces recent articles saved to your account from any location. This might help those of us who save a lot of articles for reading later, but rarely get around to actually reading them later.
Instapaper also provides a single-tap text-to-voice feature so you can have your articles read to you. These updates may well help you get through your reading list, and they may even convince you to subscribe to Instapaper’s premium upgrade of $2.99 per month or $30 per year.
It’s no surprise that the notes manager app, Evernote also brought a set of upgrades to the iOS 8 party. The popular iOS notebook now includes a web clipper extension in Safari, which you enable by tapping on the Safari Share button, and then tapping the More button.
This means articles can be clipped to your Evernote account in the background, without opening the app on the device.
The upgrade also includes a Notifications widget, which enables users to create a new note or to-do list, take or add a photo, or create a reminder starting from the Notifications Center. It would be awesome if notes could be added in the background, from the Today screen as well.
Twitter came out with a fairly nice design upgrade, though you won’t notice it much until you tap for a contact’s bio, which now looks much closer to the web version. The new profile design is less cluttered, making it easier to view and navigate a user’s profile information and tweets, photos and favorites. It’s also removed navigation elements from the top of the screen, perhaps a taste of things to come for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus apps.
Multiple photos attached to a tweet are now presented in a collage format, and you can a respond to Twitter notifications from within any app.
TextExpander 3 ($4.99)
There’s been a lot of excitement about the new third-party keyboards for iOS 8, and SmileOnMyMac produced its own called TextExpander 3, which allows for making shortcut word expansions in any text supported app. Note, this is not an update to TextExpander 2; it’s separate paid download.
After downloading TextExpander 3, you can enable it in Settings > General > Keyboard > Keyboards. You will also need to enable Full Access under the keyboard’s settings, which “allows the developer of this keyboard to transmit anything you type” in order to parse the contents.
Most other third-party keyboards, except for Swype, require full access, so proceed with caution. You can also import all of your Mac TextExpander shortcuts into the iOS version. TextExpander will still work in the background with supporting apps after you replace version 2 with version 3.
The popular tasks reminder app Clear, also busted out its own iOS 8 widget, so that now you can view your scheduled reminders from Notification Center. Note also that Clear now actually requires iOS 8 to run. The developers say that if you need to sync with Clear for Mac that to be sure not to upgrade to the iCloud Drive on your iOS device, until OS X Mavericks is released for the Mac.
And lastly, the visual sharing site Pinterest also released its Safari extension so you can post content from within the mobile web browser. The app also got redesigned for the new larger iPhone screens.
Based on what we’ve seen from the popular app updates, we can expect much more in terms of Notification Center widgets, Safari extensions and Touch ID support from other iOS developers. These kinds of new features allow for better app integration on iOS devices, and a lot less tapping and switching between apps.