If you have an iPhone and have been debating whether or not to upgrade your software to iOS 8 now or later after reading early reviews focused on frustrating download times and memory demands, I can assure you that there are some travel-related perks to taking that leap of faith.
The new iPhone 6 has generated a lot of buzz since its release, but even if you’re not buying a new phone, you can still upgrade to the iOS 8 operating system, which will run advanced features in some of the apps that travelers use. (Vincent Jannik / EPA)
Several high-quality travel apps have launched updates in conjunction with the iOS 8 release. The best travel apps suited for iOS 8 have upgraded to using “widgets,” which means that users can add the app to the “Today” view on the iPhone.
If you don’t have the iPhone 6 yet, don’t worry. Even my old iPhone 4S was able to download iOS 8 (after I backed up my data, transferred purchases, got an error message, upgraded my laptop to OSX 10.9.5 and then restarting the download of iOS 8, and restoring the previous iPhone content).
There are some travel-related pros to adding iOS 8. Among them:
Timed selfies. Selfies and traveling go hand in hand. With the new iOS 8, you can put that selfie on a timer. Great for trying to take a picture of a group on a portable tripod.
Send an audio message. There’s nothing like a loved one, especially a child, hearing the sound of your voice when you’re out of town. Now, in Messages, you can touch and hold the microphone to record an audio message. Great for business travelers (who aren’t already using What’s App to communicate with friends and family back home).
Auto-organized photo albums. When you click on your Photos app (included on the iPhone), you’ll notice that your images are organized by Recently Added, Favorites, Panoramas, Videos, Recently Deleted, Instagram (if you have it), Time-lapse and more.
Advanced editing in Photos. There are hundreds of photo editing apps in the iTunes store, but now iPhone users can edit a bit more directly from within the Photos app. Click on a photo and you’ll see the familiar crop and filter buttons. But there’s another button to the right that looks like a dial. Open that and you’ll find more options including “Light,” “Color,” and “B&W.” Open those and even more advanced options to adjust the quality of your photo are revealed.
But there are some travel-related cons to adding iOS 8 as well.
I had been warned by friends on Twitter that iOS 8 didn’t work well on the 4S. I couldn’t wait to check it out. I have noticed some delays when I use my phone; my Facebook app takes a long time to load.
If you’re trying to use this app to keep in touch with friends and family back home while you’re running through an airport or anywhere else on the fly, you might want to send a quick text instead.
Also, it seems as though it takes longer to open the video option from my camera app, and I’ve missed a couple of shots.
If I were to do it again, I might wait until I got the iPhone 6, which is on my to-do list once the lines die down and I hear whether Apple responds to the less-than-great reviews about the phone’s battery life.