Apple on Monday released its latest mobile software update — iOS 8.1, which includes the company’s new proprietary mobile payment system, Apple Pay, and lets users turn their iPhones into a single swipe digital wallet.
Users carrying the latest Apple devices including iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 will now be able to pay for purchases via the devices’ Touch ID and near field communication (NFC) systems by simply tapping their handhelds on participating retailers’ credit card readers.
On its website, Apple lists American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo among the more than 500 banks that have signed up to participate in the service. Macy’s, McDonalds, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Texaco, ToysRUs and Bloomingdale’s are among the 220,000 stores in the U.S. and Airbnb, Panera Bread, Staples, Target and Uber are among participating apps. Apple Pay will be made available in additional stores and countries next year.
The update also includes better message compatibility across multiple devices, meaning iPhones and iPads with iOS 8.1 will now be able to seamlessly send SMS messages from mobiles, tablets and Macs running the latest OS X Yosemite software. Users with mobile hotspot features on their iPhones will be able to connect their iPads or Macs automatically when out of Wi-Fi range.
Adopters will be able to store more photos on their iCloud accounts to free up mobile storage space, and a host of bugs causing frequent app crashes since iOS 8 was released have supposedly been fixed.