WWWDC 2020, the first time Apple did it fully online and only unveiled software updates and features. The main highlight of all was macOS and iOS. Now, let’s take a look at what is in the new iOS 14.
Widget support & Home Screen improvements
After ages, Apple is finally bringing something new to its home screen and that thing is the support for widgets. For Android users, this is like a joke but for iOS users, it is a big deal. Widgets were there previously in iOS but now it’s much more interesting as they can be placed in the home screen and the icing on the cake is that the size can be adjusted. There are also other improvements and design changes as well. The idea is that now, the home screen can be more productive and data-rich. There’s also a Widget Gallery to add more widgets of your choice. Apple showed an interesting widget called ‘Smart Stack’. With this, you can swipe along to view different widgets. Basically, it’s a cluster of widgets. The main highlight is that it uses machine learning to learn which widget you need at what time, and accordingly it will display that widget. This sounded pretty interesting to me.
Apple is also adding an App Library. This will automatically organize apps based on their categories. This feature will be great for accessing apps quickly and it will make the home screen look much cleaner. This App Library is at the end of the App pages. It also consists of a search bar so that you can quickly search your required app.
This is also a pretty useful feature that was present in Android but was lacking in iOS. However, with iOS 14, Apple is finally adding this feature. As of now, it is unclear which apps will be compatible with it except TV apps which will definitely support it. But it should work with most third-party apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Prime Videos, and more. The PiP window will float on the home screen and it can be resized and also moved. The interesting thing is that the window can be minimized into a small button on the side of the screen. This way you can take a look at the whole screen without muting the audio or closing the PiP window or pausing the video.
Hide App Pages
You can now hide app pages from your home screen. You can get into edit mode and then hide the app pages you don’t want to see.
Smaller Call Screen
If you are using an iPhone, then I am sure that you are also annoyed about the full-screen notification when someone is calling you, especially in those critical PUBG sessions. Well, Apple has finally addressed this and from iOS 14, when the screen is active, incoming calls will be shown as a small banner on the top of the screen instead of taking over the entire display. This is also a feature that has been there in Android for ages.
Siri Redesign and Improvements
Instead of displaying an animation over the full screen when Siri is activated, just like Google Assistant, Apple is also tweaking the Siri animation. According to Apple, Siri now has 20x more facts than it did 3 years back. You can now send audio messages with Siri. This feature will definitely work with iMessage but it might also come to other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and Telegram.
Now you can mention people in groups, and give inline replies in group chats. You can also choose to get notifications for group messages only when someone mentions you in them. Like WhatsApp and Telegram, you can now pin conversations at the top which is pretty useful. Memojis will now include more age options, accessories like face masks, and emotions like blushing.
Apple Maps improvements
Apple Maps will now include new cycling-specific navigation and also it will get a view that lets EV drivers know where chargers are along their routes. For the cycling-specific navigation, it will alert you to increases in elevation as well as a notification if you’ll need to carry it upstairs to get where you’re going. This will be coming to New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Beijing first and then to other cities.
Apple Digital Car Key (iOS 13 and 14)
Now you can unlock and drive your car without the physical key. This can be done after you register a key in your Apple Wallet, and when you walk up to a supported car, you will be able to unlock it via NFC, then start the engine and drive once your iPhone is resting on a pad. The keys are stored on-device, and it can be deleted from the cloud if you need to, so it seems secure. You can also create unique driving profiles for other iPhone users, giving user-specific permissions for the car. As of now it only works with the BMW Series 5 2021 version.
App Clips is basically Apples’ version of Instant Apps in Android. It gives a brief overview of the actual operation the app does before you actually download the app. At times, it has been a pretty useful feature to me and now I am that Apple also has support for it.