What’s new in Apple’s iOS 14?

During Apple’s annual developer event WWDC in June, the company revealed plenty of exciting software changes coming to its products from this autumn, with some very exciting changes to its iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch operating system.

Here’s what’s new in iOS 14:

  • Home screen widgets – Inspired by the Apple Watch, new redesigned widgets will be introduced to iPhones allowing you to have more information in one place. You will be able to add them to your home screen as well as in the Today view of your phone, choose from different sizes and arrange them however you like. You will also be able to add a Smart Stack of widgets, curated based on the apps that you use the most. Depending on the time of day, different apps will be displayed, giving you faster access to what you need at the right time.
  • App library and interface – iOS 14 will also introduce a new feature called App Library, which will automatically organise your apps better. Essentially, it files different services away without you having to do it manually. Apps are sorted by category – for example all social media apps will be in one place – and you can hide apps in the Library that you don’t want to appear on your home screen.
  • Compact calls – How you receive a call is going to change in iOS 14. Instead of taking up the whole screen, which is often seen as a pain point by users, the notification will now appear at the top of the screen. Calls from your iPhone, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and other similar applications will all appear this way. This new function will allow you to answer your phone easily, but you can also continue using your phone as per usual and ignore it without having to manually hang up.
  • Picture-in-picture – This new feature will enable you to keep watching a video at the same time as using other applications. For example, you’ll be able to message someone while streaming a TV show, or make a FaceTime call while checking your calendar appointments.
  • Messages – The Messages app will come with a few new improvements. You’ll be able to pin nine of your most important conversations to the top of your conversation list, so that you can easily get to them. You can also type a name to direct a message to someone in a group chat and when you’re mentioned, your name will be highlighted. You can even customize groups so that you receive notifications only when you’re mentioned. You can also reply directly to a specific message in a group conversation. Finally, you’ll be able to customize your Memoji character so that it better reflects your personality, hobby and profession by being able to choose from over 20 new hair and headwear styles.
  • Maps – There are a variety of improvements in the Maps app that will better help you reach a destination and explore the world, using your GPS. This includes Guides, which offer editorial content about a city or a place and recommendations on where to visit. The new version of the app will also be cycle–friendly, displaying bike lanes, paths and roads, elevation, stairs and steep passages when planning a trip. If you have an electric vehicle, Maps will allow you to plan your trip with charging stations along the way.
  • Translate – An all-new translate app is coming to iOS 14 which aims to make conversations across languages feel natural and easy. The app will initially accommodate 11 different languages and you will be able to use it offline once you’ve downloaded the languages you need. You can also save translations in the Favorites app and access them easily later.
  •  Siri – Apple’s AI -powered voice assistant has also been completely redesigned, meaning that it won’t take up the full display of your iPhone; instead, its responses will appear as small notifications at the top of your phone. Using speech recognition software, Siri will help you to quickly get information while still focusing on what you’re doing. Siri will also provide more accurate translations and will be able to send audio messages. It can also help you find answers to a broader set of questions by using information from across the web.
  • Home – The new Home app will allow you to manage your smart home more intelligently and securely. You will be able to define Activity Zones that focus on the most important areas of what your camera, so that you can be notified when there’s motion in that zone. Furthermore, smart cameras and doorbells will be able to identify people you’ve tagged in the Photos app thanks to facial recognition software and notify you when they’re at the door.
  • Privacy – All apps in iOS 14 will ask for your permission before tracking you. You’ll be able to choose to share your approximate location rather than your exact location and get more transparency on an app’s use of your phone’s camera and mic. Furthermore, the Safari browser will allow you to see the ad trackers that are attached to you when you’re browsing the web, and it will also block invasive trackers in real time. It will also store and monitor your passwords to ensure that they haven’t been compromised in a breach. There will also be a recording indicator – an icon that appears at the top of your screen whenever an app is using your microphone or camera. And in Control Center, you can see if an app has used them recently.

When and how am I able to get iOS 14?

The final version of Apple’s new operating system is expected to launch in September, along with the new iPhone 12. However, if you can’t wait to try the new features, you are now able to download the beta version. To be eligible you need to go to Apple’s beta software programme page and sign up with your Apple ID. Before downloading the beta version, it’s advisable that you back up your phone in case something goes wrong.

The new iOS will be compatible with iPhones 6S and above, and the new iPhones that are about to debut this autumn will come with iOS 14 pre-installed.

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