iOS 14, which was released yesterday, is one of Apple’s biggest iOS updates to date. Here are some of the updates you should look forward to:
1. Home Screen and Widgets
First and foremost, iOS 14 brings a redesigned Home Screen that includes support for widgets for the first time. We already had Widgets in iOS 13 – in fact, they were added as long ago as iOS 8 – but they used to be confined to the Notification Centre. In iOS 14, they come to the home screen. Widgets can be dragged from the Today view right onto the Home Screen and can be pinned in different sizes.
2. New App Library
Swiping all the way to the end of the app pages on an iPhone opens the new App Library, which is an interface that shows all of the apps on your iPhone to see everything at a glance. Apps are organized into your folder system, but there are also Apple-created folders like Suggestions and Apple Arcade that intelligently surface apps.
3. Siri and Incoming phone call updates
Incoming phone calls and Siri requests no longer take over the entire screen. Phone calls (and FaceTime/VoIP calls) show up in a small banner on the iPhone’s display while activating Siri shows a small animated Siri icon at the bottom of the screen.
Users can watch videos or talk on FaceTime while also using other apps at the same time, with FaceTime or a video playing in a small window that can be resized and relocated to any corner of the iPhone’s screen.
Siri is smarter in iOS 14 and can answer a greater range of questions with info pulled from across the internet, and Siri can also send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on the device, adding an additional layer of privacy for dictated messages. Siri has also been visually redesigned. There are new graphics, and a different interface that pops up Siri results in a neat little box at the top of the screen.
4. New Translation App
There’s a new Apple-designed Translation app that provides text and voice translations to and from 11 languages. An On-Device Mode lets languages be downloaded for on-device translations only, and a Conversation Mode speaks translations aloud so users can talk with someone that speaks a different language, and it automatically detects the language being spoken and translates appropriately. Supported languages include Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
5. New iMessage Update
Apple now lets users pin an important conversation so that it stays at the top of the app. Messages can be pinned with a simple swipe to the right on any chat. A new inline replies feature can be used to reply to a specific message in a conversation, just like WhatsApp.
In group messages, you can choose to be notified only when someone mentions you, a Slack-like approach that will make Messages more useful for collaboration. And the image at the top of a group conversation shows the participants but makes those who’ve spoken most recently larger
6. App Store
Apple added App Clips to iOS 14, letting users take advantage of some app features without needing to download the full app. App Clips can let you do things like purchase a coffee, make a restaurant reservation, or just by scanning a code, with no need to download a full app.