Apple previewed the latest iOS 14, introducing the biggest update ever to Home Screen pages with beautifully redesigned widgets and the App Library, a new way to tap into the App Store with App Clips, powerful updates to Messages, and more. The new widgets present timely information at a glance and can be pinned in different sizes on any Home Screen page.
Users can create a Smart Stack of widgets, which uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on time, location, and activity.Home Screen pages can display widgets that are customised for work, travel, sports, entertainment, and other areas of interest.
At the end of the Home Screen pages is the App Library, a new space that automatically organises all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that may be helpful in the moment. Users can choose how many Home Screen pages to display and easily hide pages for quicker access to the App Library.
Incoming FaceTime and phone calls and Siri interactions take on an all-new compact design that enables users to stay in the context of what they are doing. With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.“iOS 14 transforms the most iconic elements of the iPhone experience, starting with the biggest update we’ve ever made to the Home Screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With beautifully redesigned widgets on the Home Screen, the App Library that automatically organises all of your apps, and App Clips that are fast and easy to discover, iPhone becomes even more powerful and easier to use.”
A New Way to Discover and Use Apps with App Clips
An App Clip is a small part of an app experience designed to be discovered the moment it is needed. App Clips are associated with a particular product or business, and load within seconds to complete a specific task, such as renting a scooter, purchasing a coffee, or filling a parking meter. They can be easily discovered and accessed by scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code, or through NFC tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or from Safari, all with the security and privacy expected from apps.
Powerful Updates to Conversations in Messages
Messages is central to communicating with friends and family, and now it’s easier to stay connected and quickly access important messages. Users can pin conversations to the top of their messages list, easily keep up with lively group threads through mentions and inline replies, and further customise conversations by setting a group photo using an image or emoji. New Memoji options in Messages are even more inclusive and diverse with additional hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.
Greener Ways to Explore and New Guides in Maps
Maps makes it easier than ever to navigate and explore with new cycling directions, electric vehicle routing, and curated Guides. Cycling directions take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route. Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types. Guides provide a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, created by a selection of trusted resources. Guides are a great way to discover hot new restaurants, find popular attractions, and explore new recommendations from respected brands, including AllTrails, Complex, The Infatuation, Time Out Group, and The Washington Post, among others.
Enhanced Privacy Features for More Transparency and Control
All apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking. Later this year, App Store product pages will feature summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices, displayed in a simple, easy-to-understand format. In addition, users can upgrade existing accounts to Sign in with Apple, choose to share their approximate location with app developers rather than their precise location when granting an app location access, and get even more transparency into an app’s use of the microphone and camera.
Additional iOS 14 Features
- Translate is designed to be the best and easiest app for translating conversations, offering quick and natural translation of voice and text among 11 different languages. On-device mode allows users to experience the features of the app offline for private voice and text translation.
- Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from across the internet, and can now send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.
- The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Centre for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the colour temperature throughout the day, and with on-device Face Recognition, compatible video doorbells and cameras can identify friends and family. The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information about a user’s home accessories is end-to-end encrypted.
- AirPods gain the ability to seamlessly switch between Apple devices with automatic device switching. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theatre-like experience to AirPods Pro. By applying directional audio filters, and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience.
- Digital car keys give users a secure way to use iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start their car. Digital car keys can be easily shared using Messages, or disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and are available starting this year through NFC. Apple also unveiled the next generation of digital car keys based on Ultra Wideband technology for spatial awareness delivered through the U1 chip, which will allow users to unlock future car models without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag, and will become available next year.
- Find My will add support for finding third-party products and accessories with the new Find My network accessory program. This will allow customers to use the Find My app to locate other important items in their lives, in addition to their Apple devices. User privacy remains central to the Find My network with end-to-end encryption built in. A draft specification is available for accessory makers and product manufacturers starting today.
- Safari offers a Privacy Report so users can easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, secure password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach, and built-in translation for entire webpages.
- Health has all-new experiences to manage sleep, better understand audio levels that may affect hearing health, and a new Health Checklist — a centralised place to manage health and safety features — includes Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, Fall Detection, and more. Health also adds support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
- The Weather app and widget keep users up to date on severe weather events and a new next-hour precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.
- Accessibility features include Headphone Accommodations, which amplifies or dampens certain frequencies to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer, and sign language detection in Group FaceTime, which makes the person signing more prominent in a video call. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading screen reader for the blind community, now automatically recognises what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.