Where iOS 7 was style, iOS 8 is substance.
Last year, our favorite apps got a facelift, but this year, they’re actually becoming a lot more useful. How? iOS 8 offers a whole range of features that let apps extend themselves — into other apps, and even into widgets inside notification center.
It’s still early in the game, so most developers haven’t yet updated their apps to take advantage of iOS 8, but we’ve found a few that set a great example for what’s possible in the coming weeks and months.
Afterlight, one of the most popular photo-editing apps, now lets you add circular frames, light leaks, filters, and more, with one tap from your camera roll.
Our favorite photo-editing app, VSCO Cam, now takes advantage of iOS’ fine-tuned camera features like manual focus, shutter speed, and white balance. The app hasn't implemented extensions yet, so you can't use VSCO's photo editor inside other apps, but the company says it's coming soon.
Quick lets you add text overlays to your photos without ever leaving your camera roll.
The New York Times
In iOS 8, Top Stories from The New York Times live right inside notification center’s Today view. Also, with Handoff, you can start reading on your phone and pick up right where you left off on your iPad, or on your Mac once OS X Yosemite launches.
Yahoo News Digest
Our favorite bite-sized news app, Yahoo News Digest, is now a useful widget in your notification center.
Finally. With today’s update, Pocket now lets you save links to read later from any app that supports iOS 8, like Medium, The Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, and of course the Safari browser. Pocket even supports Handoff, which means you can start reading on your phone and pick up right where you left off on your Mac.
Your Instapaper queue now lives inside a widget, ready to be tapped whenever you have a free moment. When you want to add something to your queue, tap Share inside any app, then tap Instapaper.
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Getting things done
Today’s update to OmniFocus lets you view and complete tasks, all from a widget inside notification center. When you get a notification for a task, you can snooze or complete it using iOS 8’s interactive notifications.
Our favorite casual to-do app Clear now shows your daily tasks inside Notification Center. You can’t complete tasks for Notification Center, though — for that, we’ll have to wait for iOS 9.
Add things to your Things from anywhere in iOS using the app’s new sharing extension.
Checking the numbers
Track how much you’ve been listening with Audible’s new notification center widget.
Swipe down on notification center, and ETA can tell you how far away you are from work and home. With a tap, find out how to get there using your favorite maps app.
Simple pedometer app Pedometer++ now tracks your steps inside a widget.
Discover's new app lets you keep tabs on your credit card balance, right inside notification center.
CloudMagic now includes interactive notifications, so you can mark emails as read as soon as they come in, and a document picker that lets you attach or save files with Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and other apps.
Email app Mailbox will soon let you snooze or archive an email right from your lock screen. This update is coming in a couple weeks.
Pro email app Acompli will let you interact with emails, right from your notifications with an update coming soon.
Keep your secrets safe
Use your fingerprint instead of a passcode to check your finances with Mint’s TouchID integration.
At last! 1Password for iOS 8 lets you auto-fill passwords without ever leaving Safari or 100 other popular apps. With TouchID support, your fingerprint becomes your "one password." Also, 1Password has gone freemium, meaning you can try it for free, then add Pro features later.
Keep your journal safe with Day One’s new TouchID support, then check how often you’ve been writing using the app’s new notification center widget. Also, you can now share text and photos to Day One without even leaving the app you’re using.
With a tap, you can now convert any photo from your camera roll into a hyper-legible scan with Scanner Pro.
Evernote’s iOS 8 app is a game-changer. Not only can you clip photos, text, and links from any app, but you can even do it from a "Quick Note" notification center widget with five convenient buttons.
If iOS’ limited calendar widget doesn’t fit your fancy, the next Sunrise update (coming in a couple weeks) shows a list of upcoming events inside Today view. Also, you can RSVP to event notifications on your lock screen with a swipe.
Always be posting
Facebook’s iOS integration has been underdeveloped, to say the least. But with iOS 8, you can finally post — and tag — photos to Facebook right from your camera roll.
Tumblr now lets you post just about anything, from the app you’re already in.
Pinterest is for pinning, but unfortunately, until now you’d have to open Pinterest on mobile to do any pinning. Now, pinning a picture or website is right in any app's Share menu.
The widget we always wanted is here. Sports scores in your notification center is finally a reality with SportsCenter.
Hours is a clever new app that tracks how you’re spending your time. In iOS 8, the app lets you start and stop timers without even opening the app.
It’s a calculator, right in your notification center. Now, calculating tips takes a few less taps.
Stop Googling for tracking numbers. Package-tracking app Slice keeps track of your orders, and shows when one is out for delivery.
The new Kindle widget helps you keep track of what books you’re reading, then access them quickly when you have a few minutes to spare.
Dropbox now displays recent activity inside notification center, just like it does on desktops. Also, you can now use Dropbox as a source for finding and saving files inside other apps.
Now you can access everything you’ve stored in Box from any app that supports iOS 8’s document picker. Also, from within Box, you can tap a document to edit it in your favorite app, whether it’s VSCO for photos or Byword for text.
With Twitter for iOS 8, you can now retweet, follow, and even favorite right from a notification.