Apple just announced iOS 14 at its digital-only WWDC 2020 Special Event Keynote. This is the next iteration of iOS firmware for iPhone, and it's looking to be the best version of iOS yet. There's a lot of new goodies to check out, and we can't wait to get our hands on it! Here's everything that you need to know about the next version of iOS for iPhone.
The App Library is a new feature that lets you organize your Home Screen pages. The App Library appears at the end of the Home Screen swipe. It's automatically organized by category and lets you hide app pages. There is also an App Library Search, so you can easily find what you're looking for. It also adds a suggested app search folder, as well as a Recently Added folder. You can also find a full list of all installed apps, sorted alphabetically, and apply criteria to quickly find what you need.
Widgets is getting a new look in iOS 14. Your widgets can now be different sizes and full of rich data. The Widgets can also be moved to your Home Screen instead of the Today View just by drag-and-drop. The Smart Stack is a permanent widget on your Home Screen, and you can pick several widgets for it to display at the moment or you can cycle through them manually, or it can automatically suggest widgets depending on the time of day.
The Weather widget will be able to keep users up-to-date with severe weather events, and it will also have a new next-hour precipitation chart. This precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.
There is also a Widget Gallery so you can see and manage all of your third-party app widgets, as well as find new ones based on popularity.
The iPhone is now able to have PIP, which is the TV app widget. Whenever you're watching a video, you can swipe back to the Home Screen, and the video automatically goes into PIP mode. You can move it around the screen and put it where it best suits you, as well as resize it as you see fit.
Change default app for email and browser
iOS 14 finally lets users choose what app to use as their default email client and web browser. This has been a long time coming, and it's nice to finally see the option for choice on default apps. Hopefully more come in the future.
iOS 14 is making everything more compact. With this new compact UI, instead of things like phone calls and Siri taking up the entire screen while in use, everything will be displayed in a simple, compact notification banner. This includes incoming phone calls, VoIP calls, FaceTime calls, and Siri.
Yes, no more periods of uslessness when you get an incoming call and don't want to take it, but you also don't want to decline the call right away!
There are new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center, allowing even quicker access to accessories and scenes. There is now Adaptive Lighting for HomeKit-enabled lights and accessories, which automatically adjusts color temperature throughout the day. Additionally, there is on-device Face Recognition, so compatible video doorbells and cameras can identify your friends and family.
And to reiterate, the Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information is end-to-end encrypted.
Siri has a much more compact UI in iOS 14. Now, instead of taking up the entire screen, Siri appears as a small overlay on top of whatever app you're already in. Information requests appear like a notification.
With iOS 14, Siri is the backbone of the new Translate app. Translate lets you translate on-device and let you have a conversation with someone else, and the conversation mode lets two people know which side to pay attention to. Siri supports over 65 language pairs for translation.
Siri can also send audio messages, get cycling directions, and send ETA. There is also support for broader questions, so Siri can get you web answers.
Translate is an entirely new app being introduced with iOS 14.
Conversation mode in Translate lets you turn the phone into landscape orientation and split it in half. This lets you see both sides of the conversation. To use it, just tap the microphone button and speak — automatic language detection transcribes the original and translated text on the correct side of the screen, followed by the translated audio. The voice translation is all done on-device, and if you have downloaded other languages, everything can be translated without a data connection.
Text Translation is available, where all languages have their keyboard included for translating text. No need to manually switch between them. A built-in dictionary lets you check on the definition of a word. The Favorites feature lets you view recent history and save phrases that you've translated as favorites for fast reference.
Translate supports 11 languages on launch: English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, French, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Arabic.
With iOS 14, AirPods will be able to switch between devices even faster than ever with automatic device switching. AirPods is also getting spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, so AirPods Pro will have a more theater-like experience.
Memojis are getting more customization options. There are now more hair and headwear options to choose from, as well as new face mask covering options. Along with those are new age options, more facial expressions, and three new Memoji stickers.
Group messaging gets even better with iOS 14. Now you can reply to specific messages in group chats with in-line replies, and there are mentions! What Mentions does is let you type someone's name to direct a message to that person specifically. Notifications can also be customized so that you only get a notification when your name is mentioned. And those who have been recently active in a group message have their contact photo appear larger around the group photo or emoji.
iOS 14 brings support for pinned messages, so that your important messages can stay at the top of the Messages app. This makes it easier than ever to access them easily, instead of having to scroll through all of your messages. iOS 14 supports up to nine pinned messages.
New features are being added for improved Accessibility on iOS 14. Headphone Accomodations will amplify soft sounds and tunes to help music, movies, audio calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer. Sign language detection will intelligently work in Group Facetime to make that person more prominent in a FaceTime video call. VoiceOver will now automatically recognize what is visually displayed on the screen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.
Three new improvements are coming to how iOS deals with augmented reality in iOS 14. First, there is going to be Location Anchors. This lets you place AR experiences at specific coordinates, so you can view them in your favorite places around the world. There is also extended face tracking support with the front camera on all devices with A12 Bionic chip and later.
RealityKit is also getting video textures. This will let you add video textures to any part of a scene or virtual object in RealityKit.
iOS 14 is adding a new customized Sleep Schedule — set a goal for how long you want to sleep, and create a daily schedule for bedtime and when to wake up. A new Wind Down feature helps you create a personalized routine to get ready for bed and meet your sleep goal. Wind Down enables Sleep Mode and Do Not Disturb, and you can choose from different activities to help you get ready for sleep, such as turning on a Home scene, listening to soundscapes, or your favorite meditation app.
A new Sleep Mode enables Do Not Disturb, dims your iPhone's screen, and displays the date, time and your alarm for the next day.
On top of all that, Apple is adding new features to help you better understand audio levels that may affect hearing health. A new Health Checklist is also being added. Health Checklist is a centralized place for managing all of your health and safety features, including Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, Fall Detection, and more.
Health is also adding support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
Maps has been greatly improved in iOS 14. There are now more overlays, more FlyOver, and more supported countries. A new Guides feature lets you get recommendations for the best places to check out in a locale. And whenever there are new additions to a Guide, it's automatically updated for you.
Cycling is a new option for getting directions, and Maps can point you in the right direction along with bike lanes, paths, and bike-friendly roads. You can even customize it by selecting quiet or busy roads, elevation levels, whether or not there are stairs, and more. There is even a custom cycling voice. Cycling is available in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Shanghai, and Beijing.
There is now EV Routing, so Maps can tell you where the charging stations are along your route and account for things like charging time and ETA. You can tell Maps what EV you have so it gives you the information on compatible charging stations and charging time.
There are new Congestion Zones and Green Zones, so you can see dense traffic areas in the city and plan for alternative routes to avoid them. Maps can also let you know about speed cameras along your drive.
Maps is also adding new maps for three more countries: Canada, Ireland, and the UK. These improved maps offer more detailed roads, buildings, parks, marinas, beaches, airports, and more.
CarPlay is getting some new features in iOS 14, including the digital car key feature with iPhone. This works via U1 chip, and you can securely turn it off via iCloud if you lose your phone. You can also give someone else access to your car via iMessage if needed. Access levels include full access, or restricted mode, where you can put limits on acceleration, top speed, traction control, and even stereo volume. CarKeys access can be revoked at any time, and there is a Power Reserve feature. This means that if your iPhone battery is low, you can still access and start your vehicle for up to five hours.
CarKeys will also be in iOS 13. Since it works with U1 chip, it will become a standard in most cars next year. To start, CarKeys will be available in BMW 5 Series.
CarPlay also has new wallpapers and app categories. The categories include third-party parking, EV charging, and quick-food ordering apps. For cars with portrait screens, the status bar can now be displayed on the bottom of the CarPlay screen. Siri can also share ETA and send audio messages.
Apple is adding third-party product and accessory support in the Find My app through the Find My network accessory program. With this program, users are able to use the Find My app to locate other important items, such as keys, in addition to their Apple devices. User privacy is respected with end-to-end encryption built-in.
For the Find My network accessory program to work, third-party accessory manufacturers need to enroll. A draft for this is available starting today.
With App Store Clips, you'll get a notification that appears to suggest an app. You don't have to download the app if you don't want to, instead, just using a new App Clip. These App Clips support Sign-in with Apple and Apple Pay, so you don't even need to input credit card information.
To activate an App Clip, all you need to do is tap on an NFC or scan a QR code. Then you can just use the App Clip to do things like unlock parking, pay for coffee or food, get access to rent a bike or scooter, and more. App Clips can be used with Yelp for specific businesses for convenience.
App Clips will always be less than 10MB in size, so they do not take much space at all. App Clips will also be integrated into the App Library.
Apple is refining some parts of the App Store in iOS 14. You will now be able to view better App Details in a scrollable view. This will include information like customer ratings, age rating, category, game controller support, and much more. App subscriptions will now be able to be shared through Family Sharing with a single purchase.
Safari now has a new Privacy Report fetaure. This allows users to easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, and provides secure password monitoring that helps users detect reused passwords that may be involved in data breaches, and built-in translation for entire webpages.
Apple has always taken user privacy and data seriously. iOS 14 reiterates on that by enhancing privacy for more transparency and control on the user.
There is now a new Privacy Information section for each app on the App Store. This lets you check the privacy practices of an app before you download it. A new Approximate Location option is available when granting location permission to an app, so you don't need to give it precise location information. There is a recording indicator in the app as well as Control Center when an app uses the device mic, camera, or both. Developers are also required to get your consent before they can track you. For apps that request permission to access your Photo Library, you can now select certain items with the app, or you can continue to share your entire Photo Library.
And the last big change to Privacy in iOS 14 is the option for developers to offer an upgrade to Sign-in with Apple for users with existing accounts. But this depends on whether the developer wants to offer it or not.
What devices does iOS 14 run on?
iOS 14 will run on all devices that could run iOS 13. These are all of the compatible devices:
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 7 Plus
- iPhone 6s
- iPhone 6s Plus
- iPhone SE (1st generation)
- iPod touch (7th generation)
When will iOS 14 be available?
iOS 14 is slated to drop sometime in Fall 2020 to the public. It will be a free download for iPhones and iPod touch devices.
If you have a developer account, you can get the iOS 14 developer beta today via the developer portal. The public beta will be available next month.
Will there be a beta?
Yes! There will be a developer beta and it is available starting today. You will need to have a developer profile in order to download the beta from the developer portal.
Apple will be releasing the public beta of iOS 14 next month. You can download it from Apple's public beta page.
As per usual, make sure that you have a secondary device for testing the beta builds of iOS 14.
How do I install iOS 14?
Right now, you can snag the first developer beta for iOS 14 if you have a developer account. For information on how to install a developer beta, make sure to check our guide.
If you don't have a developer account, don't worry, Apple usually releases a public beta as well. For those who are planning to install the public beta once it's available, make sure to check out our public beta ultimate guide for details on on how to download and install it on your devices.
If you're waiting for the official release, you can make sure you have all the details on how to update your iPhone or iPad with our ultimate update guide.
Remember, if you also want to check out watchOS 7, you will need to have iOS 14 installed to get watchOS 7 onto your Apple Watch Series 3,4, or 5 device (Series 1 and 2 are being dropped).
- How to install the developer beta on your iPhone or iPad
- iOS Public Beta: The Ultimate Guide
- How to update your iPhone and iPad: The Ultimate Guide
Have any questions about iOS 14? Drop them in the comments below.
We are grateful to Setapp for sponsoring our coverage of WWDC 2020. The content of this article reflects solely our own editorial opinion.
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