Become an iOS 8 Power User with these Four Simple Tips

Every year at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple announces its newest technologies. This year, we received iOS 8: Apple’s most recent update for your iPhone and iPad operating system, which was released to the public in September. If you’ve had experience with previous updates, you’ll know that each update requires a slight learning curve to become proficient in the use of its new features. With iOS 8 comes a multitude of new features that can help boost productivity in your practice, including those blatant features such as predictive text, real-time talk to type, and audio text messages. But, there are a number of new features that are not so obvious.

These are four key features to take advantage of now.

“Hey Siri”

This hands free feature works wonders while driving. Say you are on your way to court and you need to call your client. Or, maybe you are stuck in traffic and need to know what time your next meeting begins. Just speak “Hey Siri” and then give your command (i.e. call “Sarah Smith” or “What time is my first meeting today?”). With this update, Siri acts more like a sentient being; next stop, AI.

To activate “Hey Siri”, go to Settings > General > Siri.

Note: Your phone must be connected to a power source to use “Hey Siri.”

hey-siri

Safari Extensions

Arguably one of the most significant advances of iOS 8 is Apple’s “Extensibility” technology, which allows developers of third-party applications to further integrate with iOS. One result is an expansion of sharing and action items in Safari. Click on the share icon in Safari, and you can customize those items.

Slide all the way to the right and click on “More” to add certain third-party activities and to reorganize your items. For example, you can add 1Password, a password manager application, for easy access to your passwords; add your task manager of choice to create tasks with one click; or add Evernote to save a webpage directly to an Evernote notebook.

safari-extensions

Widgets

If you have not been using the Notification Center, now is a good time to start. With iOS 8, you can customize your Notification Center with third-party widgets, enabling quick access to essential information. Pull down from the top of your screen to view your Notification Center. Scroll all the way down and click on “Edit.” Not interested in reviewing stocks on a daily basis, then just remove it from the Notification Center and add a more relevant widget like your task manager or read later service. For more apps that can be installed as Widgets, take a look at Macworld’s list, here.

Bonus tip:  Previously, it was a hassle to disable all notifications for individual apps. But, with iOS 8’s “Allow Notifications” button, the process is simple. If you don’t want any notifications from a certain app, all you need to do is hit that button. You can find it in Settings > Notifications.

ios8-notifications

3 Mail Features

iOS 8 has endeavored to enhance email management with a number of new features. The following three features, in particular, can help you minimize the time you spend handing email on a daily basis.

“Notify Me” Button

First, the new “Notify Me” button can help you avoid constantly (obsessively) checking email. For important email threads, click on the bell icon in the Subject line to set an alert that will notify you when someone responds to the thread. Now you can focus on preparing for trial rather than checking your inbox for a response from opposing counsel regarding your settlement offer.

mail-bell-w-arrow

Mail Swiping Features

Second, iOS 8 improves swiping features in Mail. When you swipe a message left or right in your email, you’ll be given a number of options. Click on “More” and you’ll have even more options (including “Notify Me”).  Swiping can be customized in Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar > Swipe Options. With one long swipe to the left, you can delete (or archive with Gmail) emails quickly with one quick step, bringing you closer and closer to achieving Inbox Zero.

mail-swipe-options

Drafting Emails and Multitasking

Third, you can now multitask while drafting emails on your iOS device. This means that you can draft an email or multiple emails and then return to your Mail. Swipe your draft to the bottom of your screen while you access information from your email that might be needed to complete the message. Pull up from the bottom of the screen and your drafts will reappear.

mail-swipe-multitasking

Featured image: Bloomua / Shutterstock.com

About Heidi Alexander

Heidi Alexander
Heidi S. Alexander, Esq. (@heidialexander) is a Law Practice Management Advisor at the Massachusetts Law Office Management Assistance Program (MassLOMAP), where she advises lawyers on practice management matters and provides guidance in implementing new law office technologies. She frequently makes presentations to the legal community and contributes to publications on law practice management and technology. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.

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