On June 22, Apple held an online keynote for its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). During the event, the company also talked about its next software version for its iPhones. iOS 14 comes with lots of new changes, such as new customizations for home screen, picture-in-picture video, better widgets, a new Siri interface and App Library, a new way to organize your apps.
Fans are excited to see the final version of the latest Apple operating system. However, we need to wait until fall to see the final result. Plus, besides iOS 14, we might see the awaited iPhone 12. As the beta version of iOS 14 is now out, a few people managed to see what this software is all about. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss all of the new details surrounding iOS 14, such as the Translation app, Back Tap, new group Messaging options, and new Memoji customizations, which include the option to add a face mask. But, most importantly, how they work.
The iOS 14 home screen
At the first look, the new software doesn’t seem any different from iOS 13. However, when you swipe to the right, you will see the App Library. This app allows the user to organize all apps in one place. And it’s strange because at first, all apps are right where they were in iOS 13.
The App Library is quite similar to the Android app drawer. However, Apple did leave its own mark on the features. iOS App Library is grouping apps into categories, which is cool. For example, Twitter, Instagram is part of the Social category, and so on.
All categories look like large app folders. However, you don’t need to open one up to get to an app. All you need to do is to tap on it and voilà. If one group is formed of more than four apps, then they will become mini app clusters. With one tap, you can expand the cluster and open an app with a second tap.
You can look up any app from the App Library search bar. Plus, all apps appear in an alphabetical list when you open the search bar. Therefore iOS 14 offers many ways of searching and opening apps. Siri, search, the home page, and now on the App Library page. You see the drill.
iOS 14 introduces forms of apps. The latest software has normal apps, widgets based on those apps, and App Clips. Thanks to the new software, the user can now pin widgets directly on the home screen. In order to access the Widget Gallery, you need to long-press on the screen and tap the plus button. Since iOS 14 is just in the beta phase, widgets are available for Apple apps only.
The user can pick the size of the widget from small, medium, and large. However, the width of it is not adjustable. Therefore, you can’t just put one widget in the middle of your screen. iOS 14 makes the iPhone screen look contemporary and compelling. It is interesting to see all those different size widgets.
Widget stacks and the Smart Stack
You can customize your home screen in different ways, but the widget stack is awesome. You can stack one widget on top of another. All you need to do is to drag one on top of another of the same size. To access the stacked widgets, swipe up or down to bring the desired one on top.
Stack widgets might not seem too interesting for you since Android introduced them a long time ago. However, Apple added some spice to its widgets called Smart Stack.
The Smart Stack feature monitors the use of your widgets. Therefore, if you use one of the apps more during a time of a day, iOS 14 will put that widget at the top of your Smart Stack. If you usually check the weather before going to work in the morning, the software will put that app on the top just at the right time.
What are App Clips
In short words, App Clips are mini apps for your iPhone. This feature is mostly used for the apps that aren’t on your iPhone. Basically, it is like a mini app with limited functionality. The functionality of it is determined by the app’s developer, which seems fair.
But, the most important thing is that you no longer have to download an entire app to find out how it works. You can get a fast experience of an app by using App Clips. For example, QR codes and NFC can trigger an App Clip. On the other hand, there is so much more you can do with them. It will be fun to see how developers will approach this new feature.
iOS 14 lets you hide app pages
We all have certain apps that we don’t use frequently. But, on the other hand, we want to keep them. Therefore, Apple found a way for those not so used apps. iOS 14 allows the user to put them all onto a page and hide it. You can access them via Siri, search, or the App Library. The only difference is that it won’t be in your view anymore. Technically, you could hide all your apps because you should still be able to use your iPhone via widgets and stacks.
The picture-in-picture feature was available on the iPadOS for a couple of years now. However, it finally arrived on iPhones via iOS 14. The feature works just fine for videos, but also for FaceTime calls. It just makes things more practical. This way, you can look for something else on your phone while turning your FaceTime chat into a tiny window. Plus, you can move the mini FaceTime wherever you see fit.
The feature works in a similar way for videos as well. You can minimize a fullscreen video via an app like Safari, for example. All you need to do is to swipe up to enter the app switcher view and then tap the home screen to get the mini version of the video. Plus, the mini video size is adjustable, and you can move it wherever you see fit. If you want the audio only, you can push the mini video off to the side. This way, the audio will keep playing without the picture.
Third-party browsers or mail apps as a default
Apple users have finally received what they earned for so long. Although not mentioned in the keynote, Apple is now allowing its users to choose the system default apps from third parties. It is clear why the company did not highlight this important fact, but it is now available, and that’s what matters.
The new Apple software will let you set a third-party app as your default internet browser or mail app. However, only if the app is flagged as a browser or mail app, it will work. Therefore, developers need to do some work. Technically if you want to use Chrome as your default browser, it should work without any problems—the same works for the mail app. If you want to use Gmail as your default mail app, it should be ok. Once developers have enabled their apps, any iPhone user should be able to make system changes.
iOS 14 adds the Translate app
Communication is very important. Therefore, if you go on holiday and have trouble speaking a certain language, you can use the new Translate app. The app comes in a few modes. For example, if you keep your iPhone in a vertical position, you can translate words and phrases as well as show the definition of those words. On the other hand, if you use your phone in a landscape mode, your screen will divide in two, with one half showing their translation.
Apple Maps adds cycling directions
iOS 14 includes cycling directions. However, the new feature will be available only for a few cities at launch. The app lets you adjust your route very nicely, depending on your needs, such as avoiding stairs, hills, and busy roads. Plus, you will get elevations and warnings about streets or where you’ll need to walk your bike.
What do the Green and Orange light mean?
The new light feature indicates whether an app is using your camera or mic in the background. The orange light indicates your iPhone’s mic is on. The light shows up as a dot on the top right side of the screen. When it turns green, it means an app is using your camera.
Back Tap setting
Go to Accessibility settings in the Touch section to enable the Back Tap setting. This setting allows the user to trigger an action or shortcut by tapping the back of their smartphone. iOS 14 offers lots of new accessibility features, so make sure you explore the possibilities once it rolls out.
Back Tap allows you to choose from all kinds of actions and shortcuts. The selection range is wide. For example, you can set up a double back tapping for Control Panel. This way, you bring up the Control Panel easier, and if you double-tap again, it will go away. You can trigger an action or shortcut not just by double-tapping but also triple-tapping your iPhone’s back.
Another cool Accessibility feature is the Sound Recognition. This feature can alert you when it detects a fire or smoke alarm, or an animal. All you need to do is to set up what sound you want your iPhone to notify you of, and it’s done. You will receive an on-screen alert once your smartphone detects that specific sound. Quite handy, isn’t it?
Group threads are now more manageable thanks to iOS 14. For example, you can mention a particular person in a thread and only alert that person. The new update allows you to pin conversations to the top of the app. Plus, iMessages get Memoji face masks, among other customizations. Among lots of other customizations, actually.
Phone calls and Siri
The way you receive a phone call is now different. An incoming call is no longer taking up your entire screen before you answer it. Thanks to iOS 14, the incoming call pops up as a banner notification across the top. You can choose to answer a call by tapping or swipe it away.
Siri had the same “whole screen” issue as well. However, it now changed with the latest iPhone software. Siri now appears as an animated orb at the bottom.
A new iOS 14 beta version
At the moment, there is an iOS 14 beta for developers. However, another version of the software will roll out soon. A public beta version of iOS 14 will launch in July. All iOS 13 iPhone users can try out the upcoming beta version of iOS 14. That includes iPhone 6S and the newer models.
What is your opinion on the new iOS 14? What other features do you want to see next?