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How to get the best iOS 8 features right now

We show you the best apps and tools you can download right now for your iPhone and iPad, which do the same thing as many of iOS 8’s new features – and most of them are free.

Apple just revealed a bugger-load of new features coming in iOS 8, but a fair few of them you can already get on your iOS 7 iPhone or iPad. Here’s how…

Check out our full iOS 8 features round-up, including lots you might not have heard about…

Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools

Health

With iOS 8, Apple is adding a handy new way to keep track of your health (via the Health app) and share your medical data. You’ll also get an ‘In Case Of Emergency’ feature, which alerts medical professionals to your blood type and emergency contacts.

You can already track your health in a number of ways using various iOS apps. For instance, Symple (£1.99) is a quick and easy way to track up to 20 symptoms at once, by keeping daily notes and even taking photos of your symptoms to see how they change (mmm, that phlegm is more of a greeny-blue than yesterday). You can share this info with your doctor, so they can advise you on treatment.

If you’re more focused on fitness, the likes of DailyBurn Tracker (free), Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker (free) etc. allow you to save and track your work-out and biscuit bingeing sessions.

Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools

And the In Case Of Emergency feature is also already available for iOS 7, in various guises. One of the best is Emergency Contact (free), which allows you to create a custom lock screen wallpaper quickly and easily, with your essential allergy and medical info plus emergency contacts all clearly visible.

All new improved Mail, with gesture support

At last, the iPhone Mail app actually looks vaguely usable in iOS 8, with new gesture support to quickly mark up or delete an email, and the ability to browse your emails while composing. Well, there are plenty of email apps around that already offer gesture control, plus more attractive and feature-packed interfaces.

Two of our favourites which combine smart gesture support with clear and easy-to-use interfaces are CloudMagic (free) and Boxer (69p). Well worth a look on the App Store.

Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools

Combined text, photo, audio and video messaging in iMessage

While we love the new iMessage, which allows you to share your voice, photos and videos with a group of mates (all on a temporary basis if wanted, Snapchat-style), the comparisons with WhatsApp are all too obvious. Homage or rip-off, you decide.

Location sharing

In iOS 8 you can also check up on your family members’ location, something that’s already possible using apps such as Glympse (free) and GPS Location Tracker (free lite version available). Handy to see if your little ragamuffins are bunking off school, or hubby’s taken a detour to the nearest strip joint on his way home.

Which apps are sucking battery

An undeniably useful feature in iOS 8 is being able to see which apps are sucking your battery fastest, so you can stop the little bleeders. However, you can already get this feature on iOS 7, simply by downloading Battery Doctor by KS Mobile (free).

Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools Get the best iOS 8 features right now on your iPhone or iPad, using these great alternative apps and tools

Not only can Battery Doctor tell you how much power each app is draining per minute, it’ll also help you to free up memory and storage space, for a quick n’ easy iPhone tune-up. Nice.

Awesome keyboard, Notification Centre widgets…

Unfortunately, the only real way to get a decent keyboard and proper Notification Centre widgets right now is to jailbreak your iPhone. If you’re not sure, best just to wait a couple of months until iOS 8 hits the UK.

The controversial option

As with any iOS launch, the internet immediately fired off ‘Android can already do that’ bullets – but, of course, it’s hard to argue with many of the arguments. You can easily pair up Android phones and tablets, tweak the notification bar to your liking, call up Google Now with your voice, add thousands of different customisable keyboards, access your favourite contacts in just a tap…

Come on, even Windows Phone already had family sharing, swipey keyboards and various other iOS 8 features well over a year ago.

So, one way to get many of the new iOS 8 features is simply, buy an Android phone.

Did we miss anything out, or are you an outraged fanboy who wishes to disclose some information on our mommas? Let us know in the comments below, and check out our full iOS 8 features round-up to see what else is coming…

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