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Apple’s WWDC: iOS 14

Written by Priyanshu Rastogi

Every important feature of Apple's next operating system for iPhones.


So Apple kicked off their worldwide developer conference on June 22, 2020, and for its first day, it had A LOT to offer, like it usually does every year. This year it was a bit different though. For the first time, the conference was an online event, because, you guessed it, COVID -19 concerns.


But this fact did not stop Apple from showcasing a plethora of amazing updates to their operating systems ranging from iOS to iPadOS to WatchOS to tvOS to finally MacOS. And by that list, you would have already guessed that we have a lot to cover, therefore in this article, I'll be covering only iOS 14 because even though it's a smaller update than iOS 13, it still has some fun and quirky features which deserve a whole article to themselves. Now, keep in mind, I have not covered every single minute feature, just because I feel such changes won't make a difference to the average user. The following list contains all the things I found that would make the most impact on the way we use our iPhones.


Here are some of the major features/changes introduced in iOS 14 -


Widgets

One of the highlights of this year's update is that the widgets in iOS 14 have been given the ability to move. Let me explain, so we have had widgets in notification centers for some time now, and they are pretty helpful for the most part, but in iOS 14 widgets can be placed anywhere on the home screen with variable sizes. In the presentation, we got to see widgets for the clock app, Apple Music app, and a few others. The most interesting of the lot was what App called the Smart Stack, this was essentially a widget on which you can swipe up and down to get different widgets as per the need. Another cool feature of this Smart Stack widget was that it can change itself to different widgets throughout the day. In the morning, maybe it could show the news widget, by afternoon, it could switch to the calendar widget, and by the evening to the health widget.


App Library


So this is basically an extra page...sort of, at the right end of the app pages (pictures will give a better idea).


This app library will automatically group all your apps into folders by categories, so if you have a lot of apps on your phone and you have to find a particular one, you can just go to this app library and tap on the different category folders to find it. Not only that, but a special folder called suggestion will also suggest the user apps they are likely to enjoy using.






Siri updates and Call UI updates

Finally, with iOS 14 Apple updated the call UI on the iPhone, so now when a call comes, it won't take up the entirety of the screen and stop you from proceeding with your work if you don’t want to pick up. For all types of calls now, be it normal calls, skype calls, facetime calls, the small notification will appear at the top of the screen and you can choose to do whatever you want from there. Flick it to silent, accept the call, or dismiss it.


Siri UI has also been given an update to prevent it from taking the whole of the screen when talking to it. Now a small Siri bubble pops up whenever you want to talk to it, and Siri displays results in a notification style format that drops from the top. Siri can also answer way more questions, “...up to 20 times more facts than just three years ago” if the claims of the company are to be believed.


Translation app and iMessage

Apple introduced a new app that you can basically understand as being the Apple version of Google Translate. Apple claims the app can be used for full-on conversations between people and will support 11 languages at launch.


iMessage was given a major feature upgrade, with it now supporting conversation pinning, group mentions, and replying to specific texts or as Apple calls it in-line replies. You can also add group icons to group conversations either pictures or even emoji stickers. Pinned conversations now show up at the top and also show a little icon for the most recent commenter in a group.


App Clips

This feature basically allows access to certain parts of an app that you may not have installed. It’s a popup that shows up at relevant places and gives you limited access to that app's functionality.


For example, maybe you found a good pizza place on Apple Maps, clicking on the order now button on that restaurant's card, brings up an app clip and you order right from there without having to ever install the app for that pizza place.







Apple Maps

Maps have been two major feature upgrades – cycling and EV routing. With cycling, we now have the option to set cycle routes. Maps automatically select the best possible option along with giving users other options such as fastest routes, less congested routes, etc.


It also gives information on the amount of elevation or existence of stairs if any, on the routes. EV routing lets users with electric vehicles find the best possible path to reach a destination without worrying about finding charging stations. It lets users put their specific car model on the map and Apple Maps will set a route with only your compatible car charger.



Car Keys

This feature isn't exactly an iOS 14 exclusive because iOS 13.6 will also be getting this feature. What it essentially allows one to do is, set up a digital car key for your car and you can unlock your car just by getting your iPhone near the door. These digital keys can also be shared with others through iMessage. Not a lot of cars will support it at first, Apple says the first car supporting this feature will be the BMW M5 series coming out next year.


Automatic Airpods switching

Airpods can automatically switch to whatever apple device you're using at the moment. For example, let's say you were listening to music on your iPad and then switch to your laptop, your AirPods will automatically switch the audio stream from your iPad to your mac. Keep in mind this feature works only with Airpods (2nd generation) and of course Airpods Pro.


Safari

Safari gets the ability to translate the entire web pages into the desired language. So if you went to a German site written in...well, German, Safari will give you the option to translate the page into your native language. It also gets new privacy-oriented features. Now, you can get full analytics of how many trackers Safari blocked on a website. Also in iOS 14, Safari will warn you if your password has been breached.


Here are a few more official pictures of iOS 14-


iOS 14 also gives an incentive for all the iPhone users with older iPhones to hold onto their phones longer, as iOS 14 supports all the devices supported with iOS 13. And that basically does it for the iOS 14 part of the conference. In the next few articles I'll be covering the rest of the operating systems and also be discussing a major hardware shift Apple announced at the tail end of the conference.

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