iOS 8: A Take Control Crash Course
by Josh Centers

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Apps to Try in iOS

You could get by with only the apps included in iOS 8 and those Apple provides for free in the App Store (see A Look at Apple’s Apps), but much of the fun of iOS is discovering innovative apps from developers big and small. In this chapter, I offer up a few you may like, some of which you can see below .

① 	The App Store offers a universe of great apps. Here are a few of the best.

① The App Store offers a universe of great apps. Here are a few of the best.

1Password

iCloud Keychain can create and store secure passwords, but it pales in comparison to the power of 1Password (free, with in-app purchases), which can store more types of information and syncs with the popular Mac version, as well as with versions for both Windows and Android.

Thanks to Extensibility in iOS 8, 1Password can now be called directly from the Safari share sheet; previously, you were forced to use an awkward internal browser, or to copy and paste login credentials. Even better, you can now unlock your 1Password vault with Touch ID on supported devices .

② 	1Password + Touch ID = magic.

② 1Password + Touch ID = magic.

Note: Several of these apps integrate with the new Today view and have extensions that work with Share sheets; see New! Today View Widgets and Managing Share Sheets in iOS 8 for details on these features.

Amazon

The free Amazon app obviously lets you shop at Amazon.com , but it’s also a handy comparison shopping tool, as it lets you scan barcodes on physical products to search for those items in Amazon’s store. In iOS 8, you can now log in to your account with the magic of Touch ID.

③ 	Why leave your couch to shop for the holidays?

③ Why leave your couch to shop for the holidays?

Dropbox

iCloud Drive provides more file sharing features than iCloud used to, but Dropbox remains the preeminent cloud storage service. The free Dropbox app offers access to your files in the cloud, and can upload photos from your photo library for syncing and safe keeping. In iOS 8, it can send stored files to other apps via Extensibility and offers a Today view widget to show recent changes in your Dropbox.

Evernote

For note taking on any platform, Evernote is king. The Evernote app lets you create notes with rich text, lists, photos, voice memos, and more. In iOS 8, you can send Web clippings to Evernote from a Safari Share sheet, and the app offers a Today view widget to start a note. The basic service is free, but for $45 per year, Evernote Premium offers additional storage, offline notes, and more.

Fantastical

A great alternative to the built-in Calendars app, Fantastical offers a slick interface, natural language event and reminder creation, and Reminders integration .

④ 	If you live and die by your calendar, Fantastical is unbeatable.

④ If you live and die by your calendar, Fantastical is unbeatable.

Note: Learn more about Fantastical by reading Federico Viticci’s detailed review.

Google Maps

Despite its poor (but improving) reputation, Apple’s Maps app works fine in many areas (see Mapping in iOS 8). But in some cases, the free Google Maps app works better. Google Maps has the same basic features as Apple’s Maps, such as turn-by-turn spoken directions, but it also includes public transit directions, which Maps lacks. Even if you’re happy with Maps, it’s a good idea to keep Google Maps installed as a backup. Be careful, though or you may end up preferring it for all your navigation.

Instapaper

Combining the capabilities of Reading List and Reader View in Safari, along with a slew of other useful features, Instapaper offers a clean, streamlined interface for reading saved Web articles on essentially any platform. If you also use 1Password, Instapaper can import your login information from it, and even use Touch ID to do so. In iOS 8, Instapaper offers a Safari Share sheet extension so you can easily save any Web page.

Overcast

Apple’s built-in Podcasts app is sufficient, but there are many better podcast clients on the App Store . My favorite on the iPhone is Overcast, which offers unique features such as Smart Speed, which intelligently speeds over silence, thus reducing listening time without making people sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

⑤ 	Overcast is one of the better podcast clients for iOS, with a number of unique features and a great interface.

⑤ Overcast is one of the better podcast clients for iOS, with a number of unique features and a great interface.

Paper (Facebook)

The official Facebook app works fine, but I much prefer the alternative Paper app, which offers a better interface, is more reliable, and—unlike the Facebook app—still includes built-in messaging functionality.

Games to Try

PCalc

Scientists and engineers have sworn by PCalc for decades, thanks to its power and flexibility. A free version, PCalc Lite, is also available.

Reeder

Safari now offers basic RSS reader functionality, but it’s hard to beat Reeder . Reeder lets you subscribe to RSS feeds directly on a single device, or sync your subscriptions between devices using any of a slew of RSS services such as Feedbin, Feedly, and Feed Wrangler.

⑥ 	Reeder lets you keep tabs on your favorite Web sites.

⑥ Reeder lets you keep tabs on your favorite Web sites.

TextExpander

iOS features built-in text substitution (see Typing Timesavers, earlier), but TextExpander does it faster and better. In iOS 8, TextExpander provides a keyboard replacement that lets you use your text snippets in any app.

Tweetbot

The official Twitter app gets the job done, but Tweetbot is the gold standard of Twitter clients, offering light and dark mode, gestures, and mute filters.

Vesper

If you want a better alternative to Apple’s included Notes app, but one that doesn’t lose the simplicity of Notes, Vesper is worth a look. It offers photo attachments, an intuitive tagging system, cloud sync, and a beautiful interface .

⑦ 	The App Store has many note taking apps, but none as beautifully simple as Vesper.

⑦ The App Store has many note taking apps, but none as beautifully simple as Vesper.

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“Overwhelmed by all that’s in the App Store? @jcenters has some good recommendations in his iOS 8 Crash Course. ”

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