Apple announced iOS 14 way back in June at the WWDC 2020. However, until now you could only install iOS 14 as a beta on your iPhone. For anyone who hasn’t signed up for beta access, you will be getting the stable version of iOS 14 really soon. So, if you’re wondering what to expect, here are 13 cool new iOS 14 features you should know.
iOS 14 Features
1. App Library
iOS 14 finally brings more clarity to the Home Screen of your iPhone and iPad. Instead of having all your apps clutter up the Home Screen, you can now remove Home Screen pages, and access all your apps from within the App Library. This contains all your apps neatly organised into categories so you can easily find what you’re looking for. There’s also a search bar up top, and if you swipe down on it, you can access a list view of all the apps on your iPhone. Pretty neat right?
2. Improved Widgets
Widgets have been completely overhauled with iOS 14. For starters, they look a lot better now and show more information than they did before. Moreover, you can now add widgets anywhere on your Home Screen and not just within the Today View on your iPhone or iPad. Plus, there’s a new Smart Stack widget that uses machine learning to show the widget that you may want to look at depending on the time, your location, and how you usually use your devices.
3. Compact Call Screen
One of the biggest problems with iOS was the full screen call page that pops up when you get a call. This was annoying because even if you’re working on a file, or playing a game, the call would just take over everything. Plus, you could either wait for the call to get disconnected on its own, or reject it yourself in order to get back to whatever it is you were doing. With iOS 14, that’s been fixed. Calls now show up as a simple banner on the top of your iPhone, just like a regular notification. This means you can simply swipe the notification away and ignore the call if you want. Plus, for anyone who liked the full screen call page, here’s how to get back full screen call alerts on your iPhone easily.
4. Picture in Picture Mode
With iOS 14, iPhones and iPads finally get Picture in Picture mode. This is handy if you like watching Netflix while working. Plus, it also works perfectly if you’re on a FaceTime video call and want to do something else on your phone without pausing your video. What’s more, with the new PiP mode, you can actually watch YouTube in background on your iPhone without having to buy YouTube premium.
5. Improvements to Messages
The messages app in iOS 14 is getting a lot of new features. My favourite new feature in Messages is the ability to reply to particular messages the way you would do in WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. It’s very handy, especially in group chats.
You can also mention people in messages within group chats. Plus, with group chats, you can now choose to only get notifications if someone tags you in a message. This is great if you’re in a hyperactive group chat and you don’t want to be bombarded with notifications all day long.
Lastly, you can pin conversations to the top just like you would on WhatsApp. This makes it easier to message people you talk with often without having to scroll through a long list of messages on your iPhone/ iPad.
6. Photos Privacy
If you’re like me, you are probably a little paranoid about privacy on your digital devices. iOS 14 tries to put your mind at ease by adding more privacy options for your photos. Now, when apps need access to your photos, you get a third option to only let them see ‘Selected Photos’. So, the next time you need to send someone a picture on WhatsApp, you don’t have to allow WhatsApp to view your entire gallery. You can simply select the picture you want to share and send that. This is an underrated feature, but it’s very useful.
7. Quick Toggles for Video Resolutions
iOS 14 finally adds the ability to change video resolutions from within the camera app for all iPhones. This is a feature that was earlier only available on the iPhone 11 series, and later on the iPhone X, and iPhone XS. However, it’s not available on the iPhone XR as well.
8. Emoji Search
If you use the stock iOS keyboard, you will be glad to know that it now has an emoji search feature that will let you quickly find the emoji you are searching for. You can just tap on the emoji button and then type in the search terms in the search box that shows up on the top of the emoji picker. This makes it very easy to find some of the rarely used emojis in those peculiar moments that you need them.
9. Default Third Party Apps
iOS 14 also finally makes it possible for users to set third party apps as defaults on their devices. Unfortunately the feature is currently only available for browsers and email apps, but hopefully we will get more flexibility in future updates. App developers will have to enable the feature on their apps in order for users to be able to set their apps as default browsers or email clients. As of now, only Google Chrome supports this feature on iOS 14, so if you prefer using Chrome instead of Safari, you can now set Chrome as your default browser on iOS 14.
10. Private MAC Addresses
You can now use Private MAC Addresses in iOS 14 when you connect to WiFi networks. This will prevent network operators from tracking your iPhone, and is a handy privacy feature to have.
11. Sound Recognition
There is a new Sound Recognition feature in iOS 14 which is meant to be an accessibility feature for people who may have trouble hearing. Sound Recognition uses your iPhone’s mic and on-board machine learning capabilities to recognise common sounds and alert you of them. You can use the feature to let your iPhone alert you if it hears running water, door knocks, dogs barking, etc. If you’re interested, here is how to use Sound Recognition in iOS 14.
12. Back Tap Accessibility
iOS 14 brings another new accessibility feature. You can use back tap to set up double or triple taps that can perform certain actions such as launching apps, etc. Once the feature is enabled you can simply tap the back of your iPhone to perform the assigned actions.
13. Audio/ Video Recording Indicator
Another privacy oriented feature in iOS 14, you will see an orange or green dot on the status bar of your iPhone when an app is using your camera or microphone. What’s more, if you open the control centre, it will even show the name of the app that is using the camera or mic on your iPhone. This is a great way to ensure that apps aren’t using your camera or your mic in the background without your knowledge.
When Will iOS 14 Be Released
If history is any indication, iOS 14 will be released sometime this month. Hopefully at the Apple event scheduled for September 15. However, this year’s iPhone launch is expected to be delayed to October, so it won’t be a surprise if Apple chooses to release iOS 14 then as well.
Does My iPhone Support iOS 14?
If you’re wondering whether your phone supports iOS 14, you should check out our list of phones compatible with iOS 14.