Apple just updated everyone’s iPhone and iPad with the free 8.3.1 update - bringing some big changes, and quite a few little ones.
The headline news - at least for emoji fans - is that Apple has added a whole lot of the little faces used to emote in text messages, including (for the first time) some racially diverse emoji.
Anyone on EE will also be able to call friends via Wi-Fi for free once they have downloaded and installed the update - meaning many users will get MUCH better reception in their homes.
The update is available for all recent iPhones and iPads, and (as ever) is accessed via the General menu on your device, by choosing Software Update.
It is available for all iOS devices running iOS 8 (which includes most modern devices) - and users should really install it, as it includes bug fixes and security updates which will keep your device running smoothly.
Lots of emoji
Emoji - for the uninitiated - are the little face icons which users add to evoke emotions in apps such as text messaging.
Apple’s decision to add ‘racially diverse’ emoji gained a lot of publicity when it was announced - adding darker faces as well as a yellow ‘ethnically neutral’ Simpsons-esque shade.
The different skin tones are only available on some emoji - mainly plain faces.
To access them, you tap on the face, hold down your finger, then select skin tone.
Apple has also added new emoji in several categories, and speeded up selection by letting users scroll quickly through all the pages of emoji by sliding them along with a finger.
The new emoji are instantly available once you’ve installed iOS 8, and will appear in the Emoji menu (a smiley face in the keyboard) in iMessage and other messaging apps such as Email.
For a full rundown of the new selection, check out our feature on New Emojis With iOS 8.3 - The Full List.
Phone users on EE will be able to make calls via Wi-Fi using the new update - and its as simple as making a call via the phone network.
Instead of ‘routing’ the call via the mobile network, EE diverts it via Wi-Fi - meaning that many users will be able to get better signal within their homes.
Calls sent via Wi-Fi don’t count towards a user’s monthly minutes, either - and you are only charged for the data for calling and receiving calls from abroad.
Calls on the London Underground
Many Londoners will go pale with horror at this idea - but the new update makes it easy for iPhone users to make calls on the Tube.
Users will have to be on the EE network, of course, and signed up to the Wi-Fi network available in some parts of the Tube, but will be able to make calls as easily as they would above ground.
So far, no other networks offer the chance to call underground - but the functionality is built into the new version of iOS, so it’s a very real possibility that others will follow suit.
Other fixes and updates
If you’ve had problems with your iPhone or iPad disconnecting from Wi-Fi networks, the new update may well offer a fix.
Among numerous bug fixes are a suite of updates to iPad’s Wi-Fi, designed to prevent iPhones and iPads disconnecting from Wi-Fi networks and requiring you to enter passwords again.
The new update also improves iPad’s responsiveness with keyboards, speeds up apps generally, and adds more languages to Apple’s voice control ‘assistant’ Siri.