Apple iOS 8: five new features you won't want to miss

Apple CEO Tim Cook

From tipping off doctors about your health to getting your house in order before bedtime

LAST UPDATED AT 15:34 ON Tue 3 Jun 2014

Apple boss Tim Cook unveiled iOS 8 at the company's worldwide developers conference in San Francisco this week. The new mobile operating system for iPads, iPhones and iPods, which will be available to the public this autumn, was described as a "giant release". Here are five of the best features announced:

HealthKit app
Apple revealed a new tool that monitors your health and can even tip off your doctor about potentially concerning data, such as high blood pressure. The HealthKit app works in a similar way to Apple's Passbook app – the iPhone's "virtual pocket" for things such as airline boarding passes and cinema tickets, says Mashable. Healthkit aggregates information about your weight, health, fitness and exercise levels from third-party gadgets, such as Nike, to keep all health-related information in one hub.

Snapchat-style self-destruct messages
On the new operating system, iPhone users will be able to send self-destructing picture, video and audio iMessages. Similar to Snapchat messages, these will be set to expire after two minutes unless you opt to keep them. Meanwhile, a new notification system means users can respond to text messages while in another app, by swiping down rather than having to close and switch apps. On email, users can also access other inbox messages while composing an email.

Family sharing
Apple's iOS 8 includes a family sharing app that allows families to share calendars and photos. Users can share purchased iTunes goods with up to six family members. The system will also automatically message parents if their child tries to buy content online, enabling parents to approve or reject purchases, says Tech Radar. "So no need to worry Little Johnny will blow it all on Tiny Zoo."

HomeKit for home appliances
A new HomeKit system will allow users to turn their iPhone into a remote control for their home. The device can be used to open doors, set temperatures and control lights. HomeKit will work in a similar way to HealthKit, acting as a hub for other smart home equipment. These grouped devices can then be controlled via Siri – so telling Siri "ready for bed" would lock your doors, turn off the lights, heating and television and set your alarm all at once.

Sharing between devices
The iCloud service will be given a visible Dropbox-style file system so it will be easier to share files between your Apple devices, as well as Windows devices via a web service. iOS 8 will also enable you to pick up calls on your iPad or Mac if your phone is in a different room, as long as your phone is on the same Wi-Fi network. Its new 'Continuity' features make it easier to switch between using a Mac and an iPhone. For example, you can start writing an email on your iPhone and finish it on your Mac. · 

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