iOS 14 brings plenty of interesting and long-overdue changes and improvements. The new iOS features part of iOS 14 make it one of the biggest updates to date, introducing a redesigned Home screen, new features, improvements to Siri, performance tweaks, and security improvements. There is plenty to talk about and a lot of things to get excited about.
The New Home Screen
The Home screen will suffer radical changes as Apple is introducing proper widgets. Similar to its Android rival, the widgets will vary in size and can even have different skins and layouts. It is uncertain how many apps will have widgets but the most popular ones will certainly be available.
Widgets can be stacked. This feature allows for the optimal use of screen space. The stacking can be optimized based on time of day, use frequency, and several other factors. All the widgets will be found in the Widget Gallery, thus any app that supports widgets and is already installed onto the phone will be found there.
Siri Just Got Better
Siri was already a popular and useful component of iOS but iOS 14 will make it even more user-friendly. Until iOS 14, Siri would take over the entirety of the screen. Now, Siri will appear as a small notification, being more intrusive. This will make users more likely to use Siri while having other apps open or just simply using their phone.
Some technology improvements to Siri were done in the backend as well. It will not be able to recognize more commands, provide more accurate translations, and was given the ability to send messages. Lastly, Siri is now able to provide cycling directions, send audio messages, and suffered several tweaks for CarPlay users.
This time around, translations will be handled using a new, dedicated app. The new translation app supports 11 different languages. They can be downloaded to the smartphone, making it possible to use the feature without having an internet connection.
For practical reasons, the app was designed to recognize speech, turn it into text, recognize the language, and translate it into a different language. Everything is done almost instantly. The attention mode makes the translation text bold and large to make it easy to read. It is worth noting that the translations are quite accurate, requiring almost no editing at all.
If the phone is switched to landscape mode, the Translate app switches to “Conversation Mode”. In conversation mode, the app listens to two different languages and translates the one heard into the other. This makes it possible for two different people to have a conversation without typing a single word.
Introduction of Car Keys
iOS 14 will bring a new feature that will allow Apple iPhone users to turn their smartphone into a car key. The Car Keys protocol uses NFC capabilities to unlock, lock, start, and control a vehicle with NFC support. This technology also needs to be supported by automotive manufacturers. So far, several carmakers announced that they will support this new technology.
Apple will make use of the technology to allow users to store a digital car key in their Wallet or to share the key with someone. It is rumored that Apple will introduce additional features that allow car owners to limit the speed of a vehicle, when the car can be driven and several other safety features, mostly targeting parents that require some sort of parental control. New iOS features for the Car Keys functionality will be introduced in the future.
Transparent Privacy Terms or Apps in the App Store
Privacy remains a concern for the average user. iOS 14 will bring in a new labeling system to the App Store. Each app will get a specific indicator label that represents what kind of data the software collects and if the developer will share it with a thirty parties or not. Apple compares this feature to nutrition labels on food.
Also, users will get a prompt that lets them know what an app needs to access and will also be given the option to prohibit access or limit it.
Also, Apple now allows users to provide approximate location instead of exact locations to apps that request such access levels. This type of limitation option has been expanded to other features as well. For example, apps can be permitted by the user to only access a certain folder instead of the entire photo gallery.
App Clips Introduces Micro Apps
iOS 14 will introduce a new class of applications called App Clips. App Clips are downsized apps or part of apps that allow users to use specific features of an app without the need to download, install the app, or sign-in. These micro apps need to be 10 MB or smaller so that it can be opened quickly. To make their use as practical as possible, Apple encourages developers to use Sign In with Apple and Apple Pay.
These Micro Apps also do not need to take up the entire screen. Developers are encouraged to make them take very little screen space and provide just basic functionality.
Messages and conversations received a long-overdue makeover. Up to 9 conversations can now be pinned so that they stay always visible at the top of the screen.
Group conversations have also been improved. In iOS 14, users will be able to see images of everyone who is in a group. Groups can now be renamed and can have their image to make them easier to distinguish. Lastly, mentions now work in iOS too, similar to how they work in popular applications such as Slack. Adding an “@” in front of a name will make it easier to directly address a group member.
Lastly, in-line messaging replies are now possible. This feature will make it easier for group members to see who replied to who. Several other new iOS features for conversations will be introduced in iOS 14.
Default Browser and Email Apps Can Now Be Changed
Until iOS 14, users were permitted to install and use other browsers and email clients but whenever you would open a link, it would open Safari. When clicking on an email address it would open Mail by default. Apple did not offer the option to change the default email client or browser. iOS 14 will enable this functionality and will allow users to set their default apps. This may be one of the most expected functionalities that all iPhone users expected to be included with the new iOS features.