iOS 14, the upcoming version of Apple’s mobile operating system for its iPhones was launched earlier today, and this might be one of the biggest updates to iOS yet.
iOS 14 Release date
The iOS 14 developer beta will be made available today June 23rd, and the public beta and the stable version will be released in July and September respectively.
It is not recommended to install the beta versions of iOS 14 on your devices if you do not have any spare iPhone with you. This is because these beta versions are largely unstable and come with several bugs and are not ideal for daily usage.
iOS 14 device availability
According to the official information from the iOS 14 preview page on Apple’s website, iOS 14 will be available for install on all iPhones from iPhone 6S till the upcoming iPhone 12 devices releasing this September or October, later this year.
iOS 14 Top 14 features and updates
With iOS 14 Apple introduces a ton of new features and updates that significantly changes the way you use your iPhone. This is also probably the first time Apple has added customizability options to the home screen besides being able to create folders for your apps.
So, here are the top 14 new features and updates that were introduced in this year’s WWDC 2020 by Apple for iOS 14.
iOS 14 home screen updates
Home screen widgets
Probably the biggest update to iOS 14 in terms of design change is the ability to add widgets to your iPhone’s home screen. Previously you can only access widgets on your iPhone by scrolling left from the home screen, but with iOS 14 you can add them in the main home screen along with your apps and folders.
There is also a new widget gallery where you can access all the available widgets and add them to your home screen and place them anywhere with small, medium, and large sizes based on your preference. You can also create a widget stack by adding multiple widgets on top of each other, and they would also be automatically updated based on your interaction and the time of the day.
App library is similar to the app drawer feature on Android, where all your apps would be automatically organized and stored in separate categories on a new page at the end of your apps screen. It also has a suggested apps section that will automatically display apps based on your usage, location, time of the day, and other factors.
The App library also has a list view that displays the list of all the apps installed on your iPhone. You also have the option to hide your home screen pages if you prefer to use the App library instead. You can also search for all the installed apps, and access the recently installed apps from the automatically categorized section.
Design and interface changes
Compact screen for incoming calls
With iOS 14 the incoming calls on your iPhone won’t take up the entire screen and will just be displayed as a compact notification at the top of your screen. You can tap on it to attend the call, or just swipe up to dismiss or ignore it and continue what you were doing. This feature is also applied to incoming calls from FaceTime or any other third party app with VoIP support like Skype or Whatsapp.
Compact UI for Siri
The UI for Siri has also been made compact similar to the incoming call UI in iOS 14. Even Siri will just be displayed as a compact icon at the bottom of your screen instead of covering your entire display. You can also access search results or suggestions from Siri by clicking on the results interface which will appear at the top of your screen similar to a notification.
Features and changes to iMessage
Apple has also added several new Memojis to use in iMessage in the iOS 14 update. These new Memojis include new hairstyles, headwear, new expressions, more age options and even a Memoji with face mask.
If you are a member of a lot of group chats in iMessage then you would find this new feature in iOS 14 really useful. It basically allows you to reply to a specific message sent by someone in a group by focusing on the message. You can also see all the related messages you have replied for in their own view.
Reply with audio messages
You can now use Siri in iOS 14 to reply with Audio to your messages and even send audio messages to your contacts by just asking Siri to send a message to the selected contact. Apple has also included the ability for developers to incorporate these features into their apps using SiriKit.
iOS 14 feature updates
There is an all-new Translate app in iOS 14 which also has an on-device mode that works offline by downloading the selected languages. The app can currently provide translation in 11 different languages including, English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, French, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Arabic.
You can rotate your phone to enter into the conversation mode in the Translate app which will automatically detect the language being spoken and will display its translation and the original text on the left and right half of your screen. The app will also play audio of the translated text for easier understanding.
Website translation in Safari
Safari in iOS 14 gets a translate option as well, where you can just tap on the translate icon at the top of the app to translate any web page you are in. Safari currently can translate web pages in 7 different languages including, English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Russian, or Brazilian Portuguese.
Password Monitoring in Safari
This new feature in Safari will constantly monitor your password using a secure cryptographic algorithm to check whether your password has been involved in any recent data breaches. If your password has been breached, then Safari would recommend you to either move to Sign in with Apple or to change your password to a more secure and uncompromised one.
An app clip is a part of an app or a single page from an app like the booking page or the catalog page, which you can use it like using a web page without having to download anything to your iPhone. You can access these app clips by scanning an NFC or a QR code or even by tapping on a link in Safari or messages.
Upgrade to Sign in with Apple
Apple has also added the ability for developers in iOS 14 to upgrade their app accounts to allow the users to sign in with Apple. This way the users won’t be losing their existing data or customization, but will still be able to enjoy the benefits that come with signing in with Apple, like improved privacy and security.
Picture in Picture mode
iOS 14 will finally support picture in picture mode for both FaceTime and other VoIP calls made using third-party apps like Whatsapp or Skype. You can just leave the app while you are in a video call and the call would be turned into a floating screen that could be placed anywhere on your screen while you continue to use other apps on your iPhone.
The Picture in Picture mode also works when you are streaming videos using YouTube, Safari, or any other video streaming apps. You can similarly exit the app and the video will continue to play in a small floating window on your screen which could be placed anywhere or even expanded to make the viewing area bigger.
Privacy information for apps on the App Store
iOS 14 will also include a new privacy section on the download page of an app in the App Store. From here, you can get more information about what data of yours does the app need access or have access to, and what data of yours is linked with the app. This is purely a feature from a privacy standpoint and to make sure that users know what kind of data they are providing before they start to use an app.
iOS 14 features and updates
So, overall while it seems like iOS 14 has borrowed a lot of features from Android like home screen widgets, picture in picture mode and compact UI for incoming calls, the iOS 14 update seems to be a big leap in terms of design changes and feature updates just by considering iOS.
Feel free to let us know in the comments below which one of these iOS 14 features is your favorite and which one do you look forward to using the most once the stable version of iOS 14 releases later this year.