Apple’s iOS 14 update is coming later this year – and it’ll affect iPhone and Apple Watch. Here’s a breakdown of its new features…
Apple’s iOS 14 update is coming inside 2020. It will launch alongside the new iPhone 12 range and bring a host of new features to existing iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watch devices. And unlike iOS 13, the iOS 14 update is shaping up to be a rather big one…
Here’s a breakdown of iOS 14’s new features and what to expect from the software update later on in 2020.
Here’s how to update to iOS 14 on your iPhone right now!
iOS 14’s New Features Detailed – 14 Things You Need To Know…
#1 – iOS 14 Launched In Beta In June At Apple’s WWDC Event
Apple unveiled the final version of iOS 14 at its WWDC event in June, before rolling the update out in the fall, alongside its new iPads and iPhone 12 range of phones.
The new operating system is available today in beta and is packed with a TON of new features (see below). Here’s how to get the beta RIGHT NOW!
#2 – iOS 14 Will Make App Organization Easier
iOS 14 will make it easier to view and keep on top of the applications on your iPhone. This feature, called App Library, will allow users to quickly view all the apps on their iPhone by category, such as “Productivity.” The feature will also group apps by those recently added as well as a smart grouping based on what the iPhone thinks are the apps you need to get to right now.
Having the ability to freely arrange applications on your home screen is NOT happening, however, and that really sucks. This is the #1 issue I currently have with iOS. Why can’t Apple just let me arrange my apps as I want? It’s not like it’d be a hard change to implement. And it would make organizing stuff on your iPhone and iPad so much easier.
#3 – Home Screen Widgets. Finally!
Another big headline feature of iOS 14 is the iPhone will now support home screen widgets. Yep, this is similar to Android. Now you can add as many widgets as you want to your iPhone home screen alongside the regular app icons already there. Previously widgets were only available in the Notification Center.
And the widget in iOS 14 will be much more dynamic, colorful, and you’ll be able to choose between three different sizes for each widget. The larger the size you choose, the more information displayed in the widget.
#4 – iOS 14 Will Feature Some Big iMessage Updates
Slack is one of the biggest productivity communication apps on the planet. It has made working remotely (or in an office) a lot easier, thanks to its easy-to-use settings and intuitive features. And inside iOS 14, Apple will borrow a few of Slack’s most-loved features.
iMessage users will be able to tag their contacts in iMessages using the @user-name handle, just like in Slack. On top of this, iOS 14 will bring the ability to retract messages sent in iMessage, even after they’ve been sent to a recipient. Typing indicators for group chats are also making an appearance in iOS 14 as well.
Another cool feature is the ability to reply to specific messages in a thread, just like you can with WhatsApp. You can now also pin important conversations to the top of the Messages app.
#5 – Maps Gets Cycling Directions & More!
Maps is getting some big updates in iOS 14, too. The most useful of which is probably cycling directions. Now you can bike on the route best suitable to the mode of transport instead of having to rely on car directions. Speaking of cars, Maps will now also show electric vehicle charging points on the map.
Another great enhancement is guides. Now the Maps app will offer guides for various cities. These guides will be curated by competent third-parties, like Lonely Planet and Time Out.
#6 – Third-Party Apps Get More Access Inside iOS 14
You know how some of Apple’s core applications properly suck? I’m looking at your Mail. Well, this will change in iOS 14. Apple is giving third-party apps core access to iOS, so things like Gmail and Firefox can now become your default apps instead of Mail and Safari.
Out of all the features on this list, this is the one I am most excited about. It’s time the iPhone became less locked-down and more malleable to the needs and wants of its user.
#7 – Sleep Tracking Will Come To iOS 14
There’s a new sleep tracking feature being developed for use inside future Apple Watch devices. The app will track your sleep patterns (as long as you’re wearing your Apple Watch to bed) and then allow you to view your sleep data on your iPhone. And yes, you DO need an Apple Watch to take advantage of this.
The sleep tracking app for iOS 14 will also integrate with Apple’s Health app and allow users to not only track sleeping patterns, but also set goals as well.
#8 – Shot on iPhone Will Be Added To Apple’s Photos App
“Shot on iPhone” is Apple’s photography competition, whereby images snapped by iPhone users are used in Apple marketing materials. Well, inside iOS 14, you will be able to submit your work directly through the Photos app. The Photos app is also gaining new organizational options.
#9 – Redesigned Dialer Screen
This one is HUGE. Since iOS first came into being, it’s basically had the same dialer screen. This dialer screen took up the ENTIRE display of your iPhone whenever you received a call. But in iOS 14, when you get a new call, you’ll see a slim notification up top. The rest of your screen still shows so you aren’t taken our of what you were doing.
To answer the call, simply tap the green answer button. Or to decline the call, just swipe the notification away.
#10 – Picture-In-Picture Mode For FaceTime
Another massive improvement in iOS 14 is the new picture-in-picture mode for FaceTime. Now when you are FaceTimeing with someone the FaceTime window doesn’t have to take up the full display!
In iOS 14, you can minimize the FaceTime window so it’s just a small rectangle on your display. This frees up the display for other things, like scrolling through the Calendar app so you can check if you have time on Tuesday to meet with the person you are FaceTiming with. Pretty cool!
#11 – Siri Gets Smarter (And Stays Out Of Your Way)
Siri is also getting iOS 14 improvements. The biggest one is Siri will not take up the entire display when you interact with it. Instead, Siri will just appear as a little floating icon on the bottom of the display. Siri results will then appear in a notification at the top of the display.
Siri is also getting better at sourcing answers. Oh, and now keyboard dictation (which is run by Siri) will NOT require an internet connection and run entirely locally on your iPhone!
#12 – Your iPhone Gets More Privacy
Apple is adding a slew of privacy features to iOS 14. The biggest one is “Approximate Location.” This allows you to grant an app access to know your general area, while not giving it your precise location. This means you can let a weather app know you are in New York, while not letting it know your exact address.
Other privacy enhancements include privacy “nutrition labels” for apps, which tells you what data those apps want access to, and Safari now has the ability to alert you when one of your passwords for a website has been hacked in a data breach.
#13 – A Translator App
One of the most unexpected surprises of iOS 14 is the new Translator app. This app allows you to translate your speech in realtime so you can communicate with someone in a different language. It’s a cool app–and all the translation happens on-device, so not even Apple knows your conversations.
#14 – Face Recognition For Home Security Cameras
With iOS 14, major improvements are coming to Home–the operating system’s integration with smart home devices like security cameras and doorbells. Our favorite: now iOS can leverage the people in your Photos library and cross-check the image of someone who appears in your security camera video feed. iOS will then alert you whenever someone who is recognized shows up on your cameras feed.
#15 – Home Camera Activity Zones
Speaking of Home, in iOS 14 you can set “activity zones” for your security camera feeds. An activity zone is an area that you are telling iOS is very important–like the back gate in the feed from the back yard. After defining an activity zone, iOS can send you a notification when there’s movement in that precise location of the feed.
#16 – CarKey
iOS 14 includes support for digital car keys. Yep, you can now start your CAR with your iPhone. You will, of course, need a car that supports digital keys, but once you’ve got that, you’ll have one less thing to carry around in your pocket. Bye-bye old school car keys, hello iPhone!
#17 – Improved CarPlay
Staying with the “car” theme for a moment, iOS 14 will also add improvements to CarPlay. Notably, CarPlay will get support for new wallpapers and additional app types, including electric vehicle charging, parking, and quick food ordering.
#18 Spatial Audio For AirPods
This one is AMAZING. We’re all familiar with surround sound, but with iOS 14, your AirPods will be able to produce what’s called “spatial audio.” This blows surround sound out of the water. Instead of just hearing the left and right channels when listening to your AirPods, the sound will now appear to come from all around you in a 360º sphere. And with dynamic head tracking, the sound will stay synced no matter if you move your head or your device.
#19 Automatic AirPod Switching
Also with iOS 14, your AirPods will now be able to automatically switch between devices without you having to disconnect them from one device before connecting them to another. So if you finish a FaceTime call on your Mac with your AirPods in, and then pick up your iPhone to play a game, your AirPods will automatically connect from one device to the next without you telling it to.
#20 – iOS 14 Will Run on All iPhones (Inc. iPhone 6s & iPhone SE)
And lastly, Apple’s iOS 14 update will be available for ALL iPhone models down to the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE. Furthermore, those using the iPod touch (7th generation) will also be able to download and use iOS 14.
Also, be sure to check out what’s new for Android 12 here!
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Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.