Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Every year a new OS release means new features. iOS 14 has been one of the biggest updates in recent years and introduces a host of new design improvements. We have compiled this list to shout out our favorite aspects of iOS 14, supported on all iPhones since iPhone 6s.
Home Screen Improvements
Probably the biggest addition to this version of iOS is the new style of widgets that can now be positioned on the main home screen. Widgets can now be added directly to the home screen, multiple widgets can be added to the home screen on the same page; also widgets that are of the same size can be stacked as well. In the widget gallery, you can select the Smart Stack, a set of widgets you can swipe through that uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget at the right time based on factors like time, location, and activity.
Tired of the clutter of apps and folders? Well now you can get rid of them. App Library creates a new space for apps at the end of the home screen pages. The App Library features smart organization, and all of the apps installed on your iPhone are separated into smart folders. There are multiple folder options available such as Health & Fitness, Entertainment, Lifestyle etc. You can also now have a blank home screen in addition to your apps being organized within the App library. This feature can help to keep the main home screen pages clean and organized and will save users time in navigating multiple apps.
This has been a highly requested feature for many years by many users who prefer other apps over the default Apple apps. iOS 14 now allows the users to change the default web browser from Safari to another third party web browser such as Google Chrome. Which means when you open in-app links or web pages it can open directly in the browser of your choice. Additionally, you can also change your default Mail app to one of your choosing such as the excellent Gmail Mail app. This feature is expected to expand further in future to let you choose other default apps for utilities such as Calendar, Notes and Clock.
Minimized Call Notifications
It is frankly absurd why this took so long to be implemented into iOS. Till date you had to wait or cut a call to get back to what you were doing on your phone, but no more. iOS 14 shows calls as banners letting you easily silence calls with a single swipe, continue your background tasks, or expand the call to the full-screen.
Picture in Picture
Another win for multitasking is in the form of picture-in-picture support. Now you can easily watch your favorite content while browsing your phone seamlessly. The feature is expected to support all major streaming platforms and currently is enabled for the default iOS Video based Apps.
This feature has not been covered by many initial impressions of the OS, iOS 14 now has a vanilla Translate app. It allows users to converse with people in 11 different languages, supporting offline mode. In contrast to many other translator apps, Apple's Translate app can process speech and text seamlessly. In landscape format the app automatically recognizes your spoken language and translates what was said into the desired target language. Support for more languages is expected to grow in the future.
AirPods Smart Switching
AirPods already are an excellent device serving the people in the Apple Ecosystem. Now with this feature you can effortlessly transition between different Apple devices logged into the same Apple ID.
This feature will allow the users to pin their important conversations to the top of the conversation list for easy access. It's an efficient way to keep the main conversation in front. Pins appear as circles at the top of your conversation list, with either the picture or the initials of the participants.
Precise Location Sharing
A new iOS 14 feature allows apps for Precise Location Services. This new toggle gives the user more control over which apps can access your current location only.
Permissions to Select Photos or Albums
iOS 14 makes it much safer to use third party apps which require permission to access users photo library. The new OS lets you limit access to selected photos or albums. The user can hand pick the photos he/she wants to share to the app. Which is much more secure than giving full access to the photo library.
iOS 14 places more focus than ever before on customizability of the user experience. We already are seeing users experiment with the new home screen options and will continue to see wider support for the new widgets, default apps and privacy improvements.
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