One of the most anticipated announcements at every WWDC conference is the next iteration of iOS. This year Apple announced iOS 14 with many new features long overdue.
New features include widgets for the Home screen, the application library, picture-in-picture, and application clips.
Home screen widgets
Appropriate widgets are finally arriving on iOS 14, with the possibility of integrating them on your home screen. These are available in a variety of sizes, which you can place according to your taste. Apple says it has learned from the way apps work on the Apple Watch. You can also stack widgets so that they take up less space on your Home screen.
There is a specific widget gallery where you can find them on your phone. Currently, there are only native iOS apps with widgets appearing on the home screen. However, with third-party applications already available as widgets, it can be assumed that making them available on the home screen will be an ability open to developers.
Another new feature introduced in iOS 14 is the app library. This automatically groups your applications by type. For example, all of your social apps will appear in one folder. The application library is available at the end of your home screens.
Due to the addition of this feature, you can now hide specific groups of unwanted apps on your home screen, but they still appear in the app library.
Apple has introduced various small interface changes that will have a significant impact on the use of the device. For example, the interface of an incoming call has changed. Instead of taking up the whole screen, iOS now displays a small notification at the top of the screen.
If you don’t want to take the call, you can simply delete it and continue using your phone. The phone call will end without you having to refuse it.
Another feature called Back Tap lets you navigate the phone menus by tapping on the back of your device. You can configure it for two or three taps, and shortcuts can also be configured.
Apple will also allow you to change the default applications that your phone uses for messaging and web browsing. You can now configure Google Chrome or Gmail as the default application instead of Safari and Mail.
Picture in picture
Picture-in-Picture allows you to continue watching videos while using other applications. For example, you can reply to a text message or an e-mail while watching a TV program. It’s a small but welcome.
Apple allows you to use an app without having to download the entire heavy app. You can use only specific application features instead.
For example, if an app can get you a discount in a restaurant, you can use the Clip App to simply download the functionality required for the discount. Apple calls them “light and fast” and you access them via a map that appears at the bottom of your screen. Later, you can choose to download the full app directly from the app clip instead of having to go to the App Store.
Siri has been redesigned for iOS 14, and now the voice assistant won’t take up your entire screen. Instead, Siri’s reactions will only appear as small notifications on the top of the phone. Apple says Siri is now smarter and more useful than before and will provide more accurate translations. Siri can now also send audio messages for the first time.
The Messages app now has the ability to pin conversations at the top of the screen. For character customizations, Memoji now offers 20 new hairstyles and hairstyles. Face covers are also included (for a real 2020 look).
Group discussions have also improved. There are now online responses for specific messages as well as @mentions for individuals who work like Whatsapp and Slack.
Apple has also included other upgrades to iOS 14:
- Apple Maps now includes guides, editorial content about a place. Likewise, the app will also show you quiet lanes for cycling in certain specific cities (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and some cities in China for now).
- Apple Carplay will allow you to unlock your compatible car via your iPhone with “digital keys”. Currently, this specifically concerns the next BMW 5 Series 2021, but should also happen soon on other car models.
- All apps will require your permission before tracking your location. Likewise, you can choose to share your approximate rather than exact location with apps.
- Safari will allow you to see the ad tracking tools associated with any website you browse.
- For hearing impaired users, you can now configure your iPhone to listen to specific sounds. (For example, a fire alarm or a siren. If the phone hears the noise, it informs the user.)
For anyone wondering if their device will be able to run iOS 14, here is the official list of compatible devices:
- iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone SE (first generation)
- iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
- iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR
- iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (second generation)
The beta version of iOS 14 is currently available for developers. A public beta version will likely be released between mid-late July. Apple has not officially announced a release date for iOS 14, but based on past experiences, it should be released around mid-September with the next iPhone. Stay tuned for more details.
In addition to iOS 14 / iPadOS 14, Apple has also announced a host of new changes for its latest iteration of macOS – macOS Big Sur.
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