Apple held its annual WWDC 2020 developer’s conference through an online-only event last night. Broadcasted live from The Steve Jobs Theater, the event witnessed the unveiling of the next iteration of Apple’s various operating systems, including iOS, iPad OS, macOS, WatchOS and tvOS.
The latest iOS 14 update comes with several new upgrades, including homescreen widgets, App Library, an improved Messages app, enhanced privacy and much more. Here’s a list of all the new iOS 14 features announced by Apple.
iOS 14 top new features
- Homescreen widgets
- App Library
- Picture in Picture
- Improved Messages and Maps
- Back Tap controls
- App Clips
- Enhanced privacy
- New Siri interface
Widgets are undoubtedly the most important visual update to iOS 14. Users can now long-press on their homescreen and tap on the + icon to see available widgets, and drag and drop them on to the homescreen. For each widget, you can also choose different sizes. Users can add widgets like Weather, Apple Music, Reminders and more in between app icons on the homescreen. Apple also introduced a feature called Smart Stack, which stacks your widgets and lets you swipe between them. Smart Stack uses on-device intelligence to show you the most relevant widget on time, location and activity.
iOS 14 comes with a new feature called App Library, which automatically organizes your apps into different folders based on category, suggestions and recently downloaded. Users can long-press on an icon to enter the jiggle mode and hide all homescreens, and only keep App Library in view.
Picture in Picture
With iOS 14, Apple has introduced a Picture in Picture video mode to let users watch videos in a floating window while multitasking. Users can continue watching a video while browsing the web and using other apps. The feature is currently supported on Apple TV, Podcasts, Safari, FaceTime and more. Third-party apps will also be able to use this feature.
Additonally, if it’s only the audio that you are interested in, such as if you’re on a FaceTime call, you can swipe the video window to the side of the screen to hide it.
Messages and Maps get new features
Apple has also upgraded the Messages app in iOS 14 with features like pinned conversations, threads and mentions in group chats. The brand has also introduced new and improved Memojis for the Messages app with more inclusive and diverse hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.
As for the Maps app, users will now get more options like cycling routes and electric vehicle routing. The former shows information like elevation, stairs and how busy the route is, while the latter can plan a route based on current vehicle charge and charger types.
Back Tap controls
The new Back Tap accessibility lets users perform different actions simply by tapping the rear panel of the iPhone. Hidden within the Touch option in the Accessibility settings, the feature let users select between a double tap and triple tap to perform various actions, such as opening the App Switcher or Control Center, or even taking a screenshot. Back Tap also works when you’re using a phone case.
App Clips is basically Apple’s take on Google’s Instant Apps, which allows you to access a small part of an app without needing to install it. This will come in handy when you need an app for a limited time, like if you’re paying for an order using a retailer’s app, renting a vehicle, etc. App Clips can be pulled up by scanning an Apple-designed App Clip code, through NFC tags, QR codes, or shared in Messages and from Safari.
With iOS 14, Apple is doubling down on user security and privacy. Apps will be required to obtain user permission before tracking data, and later this year, App Store product pages will show developers’ privacy practices in an easily understandable format. Additionally, Safari will show you a privacy report for websites, and detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach.
Users will also be able to use Sign in with Apple for their existing accounts, choose to share their approximate location with developers (instead of their precise location), and easily see when an app is using the microphone and camera.
New Siri interface
Siri also gets an overhaul in the new update and doesn’t take over the whole screen anymore. Upon prompting, Siri pops up at the bottom of the screen, and will be able to show most results in the form of a rich notification on top.
Other new features in iOS 14 include real-time Translate with support for 11 different languages, automatic switching between devices for AirPods, Digital Car Keys for iPhones and Apple Watch, an improved Health app and more.
iOS 14 release date
Apple will most likely roll out iOS 14 in September, at its next iPhone launch event. Public betas will be available to download in July, while developer betas are already available.