Apple’s keynote address at the WWDC 2020 event has just concluded, with the virtual event broadcast from Apple Park on YouTube, the Apple site, as well as the Apple TV app. Different format aside, the latest version of iOS was also announced: iOS 14. Available for compatible iPhones soon, a bunch of interesting new features are coming to millions of iPhone users—some rather boring, but others that are really futuristic.
So if you’re reading this to find out what Apple’s iOS 14 update will do for you, this is it. Here are 11 new features that are coming to your (iOS 14-compatible) iPhone.
1. The App Library
While it isn’t exactly the app drawer that the rest of the mobile world has gotten used to, Apple is introducing its own answer in the form of the “App Library”. This basically categorises apps into groups and lists, with the option to hide certain apps on your home screen. Your iPhone will also automatically group apps based on what they’re used for—which is pretty neat.
2. Redesigned widgets
iOS 14 will bring redesigned widgets to iPhones, with one of the biggest changes to the home screen arriving soon. Now, users can rearrange widgets around the home screen alongside apps, while there is also a “Smart Stack” feature that can automatically display widgets based on the time of day.
Picture-in-picture isn’t exactly revolutionary, but the new feature (to iOS users, that is) will allow users to keep videos playing while browsing through other pages such as browsers. You can swipe the PIP window aside and keep the audio playing, swipe to bring it back, and pinch-to-zoom to adjust the size of the cutout.
4. New, subtler Siri design
Siri has a new look—and one that is certainly more subtle. On iOS 14, “Hey Siri” will not trigger the virtual assistant to take over your entire screen. Instead, a small Siri icon will appear at the bottom of the screen.
There are also a few new features for Apple’s virtual assistant. You can now send audio messages via Siri, while Apple’s touts their improved voice-to-text technology for easy messages via Siri. Plus, Apple says that answers for more complex questions via Siri can now be sourced from supported websites.
5. The Translate app
iOS 14 users will also have a brand new app to use: Translate. As is obvious by its name, the app allows users to immediately translate phrases and words by using voice-to-text technology, and 11 languages are supported.
What’s rather interesting is that the Translate app will even work when you’re offline. According to Apple, the translations can be done via on-device machine learning, which means that your conversations and data are secure.
6. New Messages
Ah, the trusty old Messages app. On iOS 14, Apple is including a few features that could come in handy, although they’re fairly subtle upgrades. For one, you’ll be able to pin favourite contacts at the top of your Messages app so that you can have easy access to conversations with close friends and family.
Additionally, Group Chats have been improved with threaded replies and “mentions”. Memoji has also been expanded with 20 new hair and headwear options, including face masks.
7. Maps: Guides and cycling
iOS 14 will also offer some notable upgrades to the Maps app. You’ll be able to access “guides” to help you explore new places, along with new ways to get there. Part of that will be environmentally-conscious travel, and in a bid to reduce your carbon footprint, there’s also a detailed cycling mode within Maps.
Cycling mode is only supported in NYC, LA, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Beijing at the present. The cycling mode will be available in UK, Ireland, and Canada later this year, with support for more regions expected as well.
8. Better support for Electric Vehicle (EV) drivers
Drivers of EVs will be pretty happy to hear this one. EV Routing is a new feature that works with Maps to navigate drivers to nearby charging stations, while the app can also track your remaining charge (of your EV) once configured. Plus, drivers in China can also register their details on the app, with the app then able to help them to track eligible times to navigate congestion regulations in the country.
At the moment, Apple is working with BMW and Ford on support for vehicles, but more news on that front is expected soon.
9. CarPlay: New wallpapers, categories, EV support
This emphasis on electric vehicles extends to CarPlay. Support for custom wallpapers (for your car’s CarPlay-supported head unit) will arrive with iOS 14, while new app categories include EV chargers, parking apps, and so on.
10. Start your engine with your iPhone
This is probably the coolest feature to arrive with iOS 14, although I can’t say that too many users will have access to it in the grand scheme of things. Apple says that the iPhone on iOS 14 will be able to replace conventional car keys, although only the 2021 BMW 5 Series is compatible for now.
You’ll be able to unlock—and start—your yet-to-be-released BMW with your iPhone. This works via NFC, and once you’re in the car, you can simply put aside your iPhone and hit the ignition button to start the car.
Apple says that the use of an iPhone as a de facto car key has security benefits, too. Your car keys are protected in the same way that your iPhone is protected, which means that you can turn off your keys remotely via iCloud. If you’re sharing the car, you can also set sharing options for drivers—including curfews, distance, and others. This feature will also be brought over to iOS 13 next month, with Apple expected to continue to work with BMW on more supported cars in the future.
11. App Clips
App Clips are basically small, fast-to-launch mini apps that Apple is introducing on iOS 14. You can open App Clips without actually downloading the full app, and launching can be done from Messages, Maps, or even NFC tags and QR codes.
Additionally, Apple Pay and Sign in with Apple are also integrated into App Clips, so you’ll theoretically be able to complete purchases and the like without actually downloading the app. Of course, you’ll be given the option to download the full app, but recent App Clips will also be available to users within the new App Library window.
What do you think? Are you excited? Let us know what you think about the new features coming with iOS 14 in the comments sections below. If you want to watch the full keynote address at WWDC 2020, click here for Apple’s YouTube channel or here for Apple’s official site.