The best iOS 14 features you should know about

The latest Apple operating system, iOS 14, is due to come out this Autumn, bringing with it a number of new helpful features and additions to enhance your smartphone experience. Here, we’ll take a look at the ones we think will have the biggest impact on how you use your device. 

Last updated: 7th Sep 2020 at 11:51am

Apple releases little software updates to fix bugs on their iPhones, but their major iOS updates are usually released around September time. As with any huge update, there are a vast number of changes and additions that come with the new version. 

We’ve compiled a list of the most significant changes iOS 14 will bring. 

Customisation

An update always brings a new design with it; some little changes to tweak the appearance of apps and your home screen. With iOS 14, this includes widgets and an App Library.

Widgets

  • Redesigning: the appearance of many of the standard widgets on your homescreen will be given a new design. This includes changing the style of: the Weather app, Clock, Calendar, Notes, Maps, Photos, Music, Shortcuts, News, Fitness, and more.
  • Movement: iOS 14 will allow iPhone users to place widgets anywhere on their screen for information to pop up, so you can quickly scan details without opening apps.
  • Sizes: widgets will come in small, medium and large sizes, so you can customise for your eyes and aesthetic.
  • Stacking: you will be able to stack widgets on top of each other to save space on your homescreen. Simply drag an app on top of another and then swipe through to see what’s hiding beneath. 
  • Development: you can create your own widgets using an API.

App Library

  • Organisation: the App Library will automatically organise your apps into a simple, easily navigable view. The apps will also be categorised under labels such as Social, Productivity and Entertainment. When searching, apps will be filtered in alphabetical order.
  • Suggestions: based on your activity, the App Library will make suggestions to which app you might be searching for.
  • Hide: you can hide pages to find your App Library more easily. New apps that you download will appear here. 

Calls

iOS 14 will make a number of impactful changes to the way we receive phone calls. 

Phone calls

  • Banner: when you receive a call, it will appear as a banner at the top of your screen like a notification, rather than taking over the entire home screen. You can swipe up to dismiss the call or down to answer it.
  • Developer: a developer API will be made available so apps like Skype can support incoming calls. 

FaceTime calls

  • Banner: like normal phone calls, an incoming FaceTime call will appear as a banner rather than taking over your screen. Swipe up to dismiss or down to answer. 
  • Multitask: you can continue watching a video or Facetiming while using another app, perfect for those trying to organise multiple events with a friend and needing to confer on other apps, like the Weather or Calendar. 

Video

  • Size: you can resize pictures and video by pinching them to make them bigger or smaller.
  • Movement: by dragging the video window offscreen, you can have full access to your apps while continuing to hear the audio. You can also move the video into any corner of the screen to minimise it to that section of your home screen. 

Messages

Like the design of apps and our home screen, any changes to our messages are pretty apparent from first use after the update. The iOS 14 has a few new things to offer for messaging. 

  • Conversations: you can pin your favourite conversation to the top of your messaging board so you don’t have to scroll down to find that person’s texts again. If a group conversation is pinned, you’ll see three circles around participants in the group to indicate a message has been sent. You can have up to nine pinned conversations.
  • Mentions: Like on social media, you can direct a message to one individual in a group message using their name as a tag. You can also customise a group conversation to only receive messages you are tagged in. 
  • Threads: another social media format being implemented into iPhone texts: threads. You can reply directly to a specific message by beginning a thread, and then only seeing related replies to that. 
  • Emoji: set a group emoji as the profile picture for the group conversation.

Memoji

If you love creating your little avatar and displaying it across messages and social media platforms, you’ll enjoy the new additions iOS 14 is bringing for emojis. 

  • Hairstyles: new hairstyles, including a man bun, top knot, and side part, will become available with iOS 14. Show off your ever-changing style with limitless possibilities. New headwear will also be introduced, like a helmet, swim cap and nurse cap. 
  • Age: six new age options to customise your skin, from baby-faced to older. 
  • Face coverings: sticking with our current climate, new Memoji filters will include face coverings to raise awareness for the importance of wearing masks. 
  • Expressions: you will have more facial expressions to choose from, and more actions to send in messages, such as blushing, a hug, or fist bump. 

Travel

  • Cycling: maps will now offer bike-friendly lane guidance, so you won’t have to navigate busy roads any longer. You can preview the route so you can prepare for any elevation, inclines or stairs that you’ll be taken on, as well as judge how busy it’ll be. You can also use this information to avoid a more difficult route. 
  • Electric vehicles: maps will now help you plan trips for your electric vehicle, adding in charging stops along your journey. If you add your vehicle to your iPhone, it can keep track of your current charge and offer the best route. 

Siri

A well-functioning AI system is an important feature of any smartphone nowadays. The iOS 14 has crafted Siri to be more helpful than ever before, with a number of additions added to enhance your AI experience.

Intuition

  • Siri can now help you answer a broader set of questions so you don’t have to browse the web. 
  • Siri has 20x more knowledge now than three years ago, meaning the system is more capable of helping you. 

Messages

  • Audio: you can now send audio messages with Siri on iOS and CarPlay. These types of messages will allow greater expression, so the receiver has a better idea of your tone. 

Travel

  • Cycling: you can ask Siri for cycling directions, which will be specialised for bike riding, rather than a walking or driving route that might not be suitable for your journey. 
  • ETA: you can share your estimated time of arrival with a contact if you are using Apple Maps. Siri will share your ETA with the person of your choice, so you can safely tell them when to expect you. 

Languages

  • Siri can now translate over 65 language pairs. 
  • Voice: Siri has enhanced neural text-to-speech technology, making it sound more natural while speaking.

Camera

In this digital world, pictures mean everything. Image-based apps like Instagram have soared to stardom, so it’s no wonder the new major update will want to deliver heightened camera features to accommodate our obsession with photographs. 

Shots

  • Speed: with iOS 14, you will have the capability of shooting images up to 90% faster than before, at 4 frames per second. Portrait shots are also 15% faster. 
  • Night mode: more guidance to steady your photos when night mode is activated.
  • Burst: capture burst photos by pressing the volume up button. 
  • Mirror: a new feature in settings will allow you to capture mirror selfies using the reflection of the front camera’s preview. 

Video

  • QuickTake: on iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max, you can capture QuickTake video, which lets you begin recording without switching out of photo mode (similar to live photos). 
  • Toggles: there will also be quick toggles to adjust framing and resolution. 

Home App

While enhancing your smartphone experience is the primary goal of Apple’s new iOS software, increasing the efficiency of your life at home is also something iOS 14 is aiming to do. 

Home App

  • Controls: like your phone predicting your app, iOS 14 will activate this same intuition in the Home App. The Control Center will suggest relevant accessories and scenes you’ll want to control based on your usage and the time of day e.g. bedroom lights turning off at night, or door locks. 
  • Lighting: the app can automatically adjust the colour of your lightbulbs throughout the day. 
  • Face recognition: home security cameras can identify people from your Photos app, alongside animals and vehicles. You can tag people and choose whether you want to be notified based on the person. 
  • Activity zones: you can choose which camera view you want to be video recorded if motion is detected. 

There are many more features coming with the iOS 14. Apple have broken down the full list of additions you should expect, including CarPlay, AirPods, software, hardware, privacy, AR, and extra apps. 

If you’re looking for some more information about Apple phones, read our posts on iPhone tips and tricks, as well as which iPhone is right for you? 

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