Apple’s iOS 8.1 has been released, adding the promised Apple Pay support which was first announced back in September.
Alongside support for the new payment system comes the ability to send or receive texts and phone calls from the iPhone on a Mac computer, and a triumphant return for the Camera Roll album which disappeared from the Photos app in iOS 8.0.
The iCloud Photo Library has also been added as a public beta service. The library can be enabled via the iPhone’s settings and can sync and store all photos and videos across the Apple devices a user owns. Currently, the service is only built into the iOS Photos app, with a Mac app expected in early 2015. Note that any photos and videos stored via this service will still count towards a users iCloud allotment (5GB for free users).
The new mobile payment solution is only available to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users, and currently only in the US, but its future impact could see this release feature as a turning point in Apple’s long history – especially when it rolls out across Europe, which is expected throughout 2015.
The new feature will allow users to pay using their phone or iPad (compatible with the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3) by using near field communication (NFC) along with Touch ID to verify payments when the device is held near compatible, contactless readers. The iPhone stores your card details in a secure enclave on the device that can never be accessed.
Apple Pay will also be possible in apps using Touch ID for verification, meaning users will no longer have to enter card details multiple times. When the Apple Watch is released it will also let owners purchase items by holding the wrist by the readers. Apple Pay will initially be compatible with MasterCard, Visa, and American Express from major banks in the U.S. at around 222,000 stores.
Messaging & Calls
The other significant development in iOS 8.1 is the ability to receive calls and messages at your desk. Of course, Mac users could already receive iMessages through the Messages app on the Mac, but now even messages from ‘green bubble’ friends (those not on Apple devices) will make it through.
This is another feature that could have made it in iOS 8.0, but like many of the fixes and tweaks, Apple had to wait until OS X Yosemite was ready, and it was, following its release last week.
iOS 8.1 is available now and can be accessed by going to Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone.