iOS 14 – What You Need to Know

Every year Apple religiously rolls out major software updates for their iPhones. By doing this, millions of iPhone users get a free update that typically includes bug fixes, UX/UI updates and occasionally an evolution in the iOS operating system itself. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for more details.

On the 22nd of June, Apple announced their next update at the digital-only World Wide Developers Conference 2020 keynote, the iOS 14. This next version of the iOS firmware which hit the market on September 16 seems to be truly promising. Apple is on a roll with the development of new technology and the upcoming iPhone 12.

A lot was revealed at the keynote event and here’s what we know so far about the next version of iOS for iPhone. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for all the details.

iOS 14 – What You Need to Know

After using the latest iOS 14 for over a week, I can say with complete confidence that the iOS experience is much more powerful and easier to use that all the previous generations. It’s far different from the iOS 13 and Apple has managed to revamp every aspect of their UI/UX.

The iOS 14 has ungraded the Home screen, Siri, Messages, Phone, Maps, and Safari among other aspects of the User Interface. They’ve also improved minute details such as the User experience with the AirPods. Most importantly, Apple has also provided the user with control over their data. Making it more transparent on how it’s being utilized

Home Revamp

iOS 14 introduces an upgraded and redesigned new Home Screen that allows customization, which includes widgets and the ability to hide apps of your choice. Here are the changes made to the Home Screen in iOS 14.

  • The App Library: Apple has released a new feature called, The App Library that allows you to organise your Home Screen pages. This is situated at the end of the Home Screen swipe. This comes embedded with an App Library search that allows you to find what you’re looking for. You will have a full list of installed applications, sorted alphabetically, along with a sort function to find what is needed, quickly.
  • Widgets: iOS 14 comes with widgets on the Home Screen. This can be done by simply dragging and dropping the widgets to the Home Screen. 


The Smart Stack is a permanent widget that will be displayed on the Home Screen. Here, you’ll have the ability to either choose a widget for it to display or manually cycle through the widgets manually. You’re even able to automatically assign different widgets based on the time of day.

  • Any widget can be added to the Home Screen, the sizes available are Small, Medium and Large, each with different information density.
  • Up to 10 widgets can be stacked on top of each other, both in Today view as well as the Home Screen. Once stacked, the widgets can be swapped by swiping over them.
  • PIP (Picture in Picture): PIP will finally be launched with the iOS 14 and that’s a great feature Apple lacked in their previous versions of iOS. The PIP feature allows the user to multitask while watching a video on the iPhone.
  • It’s a simple feature where if you’re watching a video/movie, simply swipe back to the Home Screen and the video will continue playing in a mini-player at the bottom right-hand side of the screen. You can move it around the screen to a more appropriate position or even zoom in to the mini player to resize the video.
  • Home Kit/ Home App: The Control Center now allows quick access to accessories and scenes through automated suggestions. The Home Kit now comes enabled with Adaptive Lighting for Home-Kit enabled lights and accessories through which you can automatically have the color temperature adjusted throughout the day.
  • Additionally, the Home App includes an on-device Face Recognition, this means that your friends and family will be identified on compatible video doorbells and cameras based on your settings. The Home App and Home-Kit are built to be private and secure so all information stored or shared are end to end encrypted.

The Home screen has become quite amazing, I could even customize the App icons themselves using the Shortcuts App. Basically, you can create a shortcut to any app and replace the standard app icon. Moreover, you can pick a custom image to use as this app icon, making the customization options unimaginable.

Siri 

With iOS 14, Siri has gotten a more compact user interface. Instead of a full-screen Siri page, Apple has remodelled Siri to be minimalistic and simple, making it appear now as a small overlay over the app you’re using. 

  • Translation Languages: Siri now supports over 65 language pairs for translation making it the backbone of the Translate App. You will be able to send audio messages, send an ETA and get directions. Siri also supports broader questions and will search the web for relevant answers. 
  • Expanded Knowledge: Apple claims that Siri has never been more cleaver and is apparently 20 times smarter than it was 3 years ago. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for all the details.

In fact, Siri has gotten so smart that it can answer a lot of complex questions and pull information from all over the web. Siri is also now equipped with the ability to send audio messages and perform keyboard dictation, which ensures more privacy.

  • Apple Translation App includes a conversation mode that can be accessed when you rotate your phone to the landscape mode. Here unlike Google Translate, the app auto-detects the variety of languages spoken simultaneously or within a conversation and allocated them to their respective sides of the screen. 
  • The Translate App comes with an Attention mode which enlarges the translated text making it easier to read if you have to show the translated phrase to someone.
  • The latest iOS 14 update comes with a new feature called Siri Suggestions. This is separate from the smart stack feature. It uses on-device intelligence to recommend and surface suggested actions based on your usage.

I personally found it quite eerie. However, it is sort of useful. What it basically does is shortcut your access through the Siri widget App. For example, If you use the weather app ever morning at 8 Am, Siri will start pushing that suggestion every morning at the same time.

Messages

  • iOS 14 comes with multiple useful features in the Messages App, many of which are beneficial for group chats. You’re now able to customize group chats with Memojis, Animojis and Photos.
  • With the Messages App, Apple allows you to choose what you’d like to see, you can pick from Known Senders and Unknown Senders making it easier to segregate messages. 

This can be done in instances where you don’t wish to see Automated Service messages or messages from people you don’t know. This can be accessed by tapping on “Filters” in the Messages list.

Few of the updated features of the Messages App in iOS 14 are:

  • Pinned Chats: Conversations that are deemed Important can be pinned at the top of the Messages App simply by swiping to the right over the message. In total, Apple suggests that you can pin up to 9 messages.
  • Inline Replies: You can now reply to a specific message in any conversation. This makes it easier to keep track of specific responses in a group chat.
  • Mentions: Messages now come with an @mention feature. Simply type ‘@’ followed by the name of the contact in the group you’re directing the response/question to in order to gain their attention. 
  • Typing Indicators: iOS 14 allows you to see when someone is typing a message without having to open the conversation in the first place. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for all the details.
  • Memoji: Apple stated that their Memojis have been improved and remodelled with new facial and muscle structures, new hairstyles, headwear, face masks and age options. You’d also receive new Memoji stickers for ‘Hugs’, ‘Fist-bumps’ & ‘Blush’.

Phone Calls

The phone call interface has changed quite a bit with the iOS 14. Unlike previous generations where the phone calls used to take up the who screen, the phone call now shows up as a banner at the top of the display.

You can swipe up to dismiss it or swipe down to see more phone options. On the right side of the banner, you’ll find the call and decline buttons.

Of course, when the phone is locked you can still the phone call take up the whole screen. It’s just that when it’s unlocked it much less irritating. Apple has really elevated their UX with the iOS 14. Most importantly it also applies to Facetime and other third party call apps.

Maps

Though there were not many changes made to the Maps Application, Apple surely introduced a handful of features for cyclists and those who own electric vehicles. The updated Maps feature buildings, parks, marinas, beaches, airports, roads and more. 

Some notable updates to Maps are:

  • Cycling Directions: In iOS 14, Maps provide information for cyclists on bike lanes, bike paths and bike-friendly roads. This includes how busy the street is and the elevation at which you’re biking. 
  • Electric Vehicle Routes: Highlights the directions to the nearest electric charging station and ETA for the charging time. Simply pair the vehicle with your iPhone and Maps will keep track of the current charge along with the type of charger to provide the most appropriate route to the nearest compatible charging station.
  • Guides: This was introduced in iOS 13 under the name “Collections” to allow people to list out their favourite places or frequently visited places. In iOS 14, ‘Guides’ can be accessed through the Maps App and Apple has partnered with a number of brands to provide curated guides, specifically designed to assist people to find new places to shop, eat, and visit across the world.
  • Speed Cameras: With the upgraded Maps App, Apple has embedded a feature that enables you to check the map for speed cameras and red light cameras. The new Maps app will also notify you if you’re approaching a speed camera or red light camera.

Safari 

With iOS 14, Apple has claimed that their Safari browser will deliver 2x faster JavaScript performance than when you run Chrome on Android. 

Some significant changes made are:

  • Translator: The new Safari also comes packed with an in-built translator that can translate websites to Spanish, Chinese, German, French, Russian, Portuguese or simply English. 
  • Privacy Report: Safari also comes with a new feature called Privacy Report. This allows users to understand how websites treat their privacy and selectively decide whether they should surf that website or not. 
  • Password Monitoring: Safari also throws a warning when a password is insecure by monitoring your saved passwords to ensure they have not been compromised in a data breach. 

AirPods

You will now be able to switch between devices faster than ever with the new iOS 14. AirPods will receive spatial audio and dynamic head tracking making the user have a movie like experience. 

  • Automatic Device Switching: Apple has enhanced the Airpods software so the AirPods and AirPods Pro will be able to switch between your iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, this enables a more streamlined audio swapping experience. 
  • Optimized Battery Charging: Along with the new AirPods features, Apple has implemented ‘Optimized Battery Charging’ which prolongs the battery life of your AirPods. AirPods that are paired with your iPhone will now provide a notification in case your AirPods battery is running low and has to be charged.
  • AirPods Pro Motion API: Apple has also developed a Motion API, beneficial for fitness apps and games that allows developers to access rotational rates, user acceleration and orientation for the AirPods Pro. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for all the details.
  • Spatial Audio: By applying directional audio filters and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, spatial audio can place sounds virtually anywhere in space, creating an immersive surround sound experience.

Augmented Reality

Apple confirmed that all devices with an A12 Bionic chip or later will receive support for extended face tracking via the front camera. 

With the iOS 14 Apple has included the following:

  • Location Anchors: This lets you place AR experiences at specific coordinates so that they can be viewed from around the world.
  • RealityKit: In RealityKit, you will be able to add video textures to any part of a scene or virtual object enabling them to come to life and appear realistic.
  • ARKit Extended face tracking support: Now more users can partake in AR experiences via the front camera. This is possible for devices with the A12 Bionic chip or later.

Health App

After upgrading a host of Apps and the User Interface, Apple has also managed to revamp the Health App by adding new sleep goals, modes, health checklist and schedules. The new features including the sleep tracking feature will also be introduced in watchOS 7. 

  • Customized Sleep Schedule: Now, you’re able to set goals for how long you want to sleep each night and create daily schedules for your bedtime and when you wake up.
  • Sleep Mode: Also known as DND or Do not Disturb, Sleep Mode hides your notifications and also dims the screens display brightness. This can be set to be carried out automatically based on your sleep schedule.
  • Health Data Types: The Health App now supports new data types for health records, mobility symptoms and ECG. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for all the details.
  • Health Checklist: With the revamped Health App, you can manage the health features that matter to you the most. You are permitted to track and manage your health and safety.

Car Keys

With iOS 14, you will not only be able to unlock your car, but you can start it too. You can share keys with family and friends and even revoke access to the keys at any time you like. Some significant changes made to Car Keys are:

  • Start your Car: You will be able to start your car by placing the paired iPhone on a reader or wireless charger situated in the car.
  • Unlock your Car: You can unlock your car by tapping the door handle via NFC. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for all the details.
  • Share Keys: After adding Car Keys to your Wallet, you will be able to share the same key with friends and family via the Messages App.
  • Power Reserve: You will be able to unlock your car even when the iPhone battery is dead. Car Keys with iOS 14 allows you to start your car up to 5 hours after your iPhone’s battery has drained completely.

CarPlay 

CarPlay is going to receive a few updates when iOS 14 is launched. The most notable are:

  • App Categories: CarPlay now supports third-party EV charging, parking and food ordering apps. This has been made accessible to developers in order to provide the users with a safer, smarter way to utilize their iPhone while sitting in their car.
  • Share ETA via Siri: Being integrated with Siri allows you to share your ETA with friends and family members via the Messages App.
  • Refreshing UI: Apple has added a Wallpaper feature for the CarPlay Dashboard and Home Screen giving it a fresh new look.

App Clips

An innovative application that is new to iOS 14, App Clips let you use an app for the moment you need it without having to download the full application.

For example, if you wish to read a recipe from Drop Recipes, you can get it done in half the time and without the trouble of installing the app. Once you’re done using an App Clip, it goes away and is not stored on the iPhone.

  • Availability: App Clips are not traditional apps and are usable just for those few seconds you need it the most.
  • Launch: Recent App Clips can be accessed from the Recently Added category in the app Library. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for more latest stuff
  • Download the App: You’re allowed to download the full application once you’ve used an App Clip variant of it.
  • Works with Apple Pay: App Clips will use Apple Pay to complete your transactions without having to enter credit card information.

Privacy

With iOS 14 Apple has provided the user with control over the data that is being shared making it more transparent on how it’s being utilized. 

  • Approximate location: A new privacy setting that allows you to share your approximate location rather than your precise location.
  • Privacy information and the App Store: Every product page in the App Store has been updated to display the summary of the privacy practices of the respective application. Check out our “iOS 14 – What You Need to Know” for more latest stuff
  • Limited Photo Library Access: For those applications that request permission to access your Photo Library, you can now select what you want to share or you can choose to share the whole library.

Compatible iPhones that will support iOS 14

The iOS 14 is available to the all iPhones that ran on iOS 13. The list of iPhones which can be upgraded to iOS 14 when it is launched are:

  • iPhone 6s/6s Plus
  • iPhone 7/7 Plus
  • iPhone 8/8 Plus
  • iPhone SE (2016 model & 2020 model)
  • iPhone X/XR/X/XS Max
  • iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12/12 Max/12 Pro & 12 Pro Max (preinstalled, straight out of the box)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

Is iOS 14 stable?

The first edition which was launched on September 6th still had a few issues like the browser and mail settings to reset after restarting every time, issues that prevented camera previews and network connectivity issues.

While the first edition was a little finicky, the updated and current version, The iOS 14.0.1 which was launched on September 24th is much more stable as it addresses most of the issues. Of course, these minor issues are to be expected and will be refined over time. Needless to say its an amazing OS. Check out our guide to iOS 14 – What You Need to Know for more details.

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