All The Gifts iOS 8 Has Given Us

On Monday, we warned you about the dangerous and evil accidental selfie plaguing the newest iPhone update. But despite that inexplicable decision, Apple's iOS 8 has several new shortcuts that will make your life a lot easier. And no, there is still nothing to be done about the errant selfie sending, other than a renewed sense of caution with your camera mode.

Many tech bloggers were underwhelmed by iOS 8's debut, commenting that it had little to offer in the innovation department. But the subtle bells and whistles in the system are worthy of the newly included "Tips" app that installs automatically with the update. No, this isn't a 2007 visual overhaul. And no, it probably won't dramatically change the way that you look at the iOS systems, but Apple is expanding its reputation for intuitive user experience and keeping with the basic, familiar framework of previous versions of the system.

The beauty is in the small things. While toggling between devices is one of the most notable innovations introduced by iOS 8, there are many day-to-day accessibility features that Apple has included. There are also some pretty annoying ones, too, but we'll clear up how to disable some of the worst ones.

How to get rid of predictive text

When I first saw the predictive text feature in the updated iMessage, I immediately assumed that along with updating my phone to iOS 8, Apple had sucked me into a time warp and spit me out in the mid-2000s. The predictive text was a baffling throwback to the pre-autocorrect days that is quite distracting while typing out a text. Luckily, there is an easy way to turn it off.

Head down to your keyboards function (the one you use to switch to emojis), and there will be an option to toggle off predictive text. Whew! You're back in 2014!

Audio messages

Your keyboard now has the option for audio messages. Unlike the pesky selfies, you can review these before you send them. To activate, simply hold down the microphone the right of the text field. The recording will start automatically.

Use Siri hands free

For all of the times that you're laying on the couch and know that Siri is the only one that could answer your question, yet she lies SO FAR from you — all the way on the coffee table — and you haven't the strength to get the phone and hold down the home button. Fear not, cushion comrades. You now have the "Hey Siri" option.

In your general settings, scroll to "Siri." Then allow "Hey Siri" to be able to access her infinite knowledge handsfree. To activate it, simply say, "Hey Siri."

And look! She also listens to music, too!

Siri is now powered with Shazam for even quicker access to the song bank.

The selfie timer

Apple has made it increasingly easy to be narcissists, and we love them for it (but not as much as we love ourselves). The selfie timer, accessible in the general camera mode by clicking on the clock at the top of the screen, allows you to set it at 3 or 10 second intervals. The selfie timer also takes pictures in burst mode, so you'll have options.

Now you can take fun, hand-free selfies like this one, which I took yesterday while having a very good time at the library working on my thesis proposal! YAY.

Quick-reply texting

This new feature allows you to reply to texts without opening iMessage. I never realized how much toggling to iMessage could interrupt whatever else I was doing until this option became available. This might be my favorite iOS 8 rollout.

Your recent contacts

Double-tapping your home screen still brings up your running applications for an easy way to shut them down, but now it also brings up recent contacts that you've texted, called, or Facetimed.

By clicking on the name, it brings up more options without taking you into the contact list.

New and improved Spotlight

The Spotlight feature has now expanded beyond searching your phone. It brings up Wikipedia and related searches, too, including anything that you might have in your phone. To activate Spotlight, simply pull down anywhere on the home screen.

Battery usage

Ever wonder what's draining your battery so much? Go to Settings>General>Usage and your phone will show you what apps are eating up your precious, precious battery life.

I'll report back if I figure out how to turn off that selfie mode.

Images: Abby Johnston (12)