So Apple has just released iOS 8.4, with the Music app overhaul grabbing all the headlines. Meanwhile, the iBooks app has had a quiet update of its own. So what’s new?
The biggest change is that audiobooks are now a part of the iBooks world. You can browse, listen and download audiobooks right from the app. There’s a new Now Playing feature, “designed specifically for audiobooks”.
This is likely to avoid further complicating the already cramped, feature-rich new Music app. Giving audiobooks their own space alongside conventional reads is smart and should make organizing and listening to them much simpler.
Previously, any books that are “Made for iBooks” – that is to say, anything designed and published with Apple’s free iBooks Author tool – would only work on an iPad or a Mac. This new update changes that, making all Made for iBooks content compatible with the iPhone as well.
This is good news for publishers wanting to reach a larger audience, and for readers who were previously limited to enjoying certain books only from a particular device.
iBooks now has the ability to search upcoming releases from the library. If there’s a book coming out that you’re keenly anticipating, you can pre-order it in the app and it will be downloaded as soon as it becomes available.
Apple also made some under-the-hood improvements, which should make everything run a lot smoother. Issues with iCloud and the ‘Hide Purchases’ feature should be resolved, plus there’s a new Chinese font, general accessibility improvements for iBooks Author and the ability to turn off the Auto-Night theme.
How to update
iOS 8.4 is a free update for all iOS users with compatible devices, and is available as an over-the-air update. To install it, open the Settings app and tap General followed by Software Update, then follow the instructions. It can also be installed through iTunes by connecting your device to a computer via USB.