Apple reveals iOS 14 with improved Home Screen, Messages, and more

Apple today previewed 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.

Widgets are beautifully redesigned in iOS 14, giving users timely information at a glance, and are more helpful than ever right on the Home Screen pages.
Widgets are beautifully redesigned in iOS 14, giving users timely information at a glance, and are more helpful than ever right on the Home Screen pages.

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 customized 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 organizes 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.

The App Library makes it easier for users to get to all of their apps with a simple, easy-to-navigate view at the end of the Home Screen pages.
The App Library makes it easier for users to get to all of their apps with a simple, easy-to-navigate view at the end of the Home Screen pages.

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, in a statement. “With beautifully redesigned widgets on the Home Screen, the App Library that automatically organizes all of your apps, and App Clips that are fast and easy to discover, iPhone becomes even more powerful and easier to use.”

iOS 14 delivers an all-new compact design that lets users multitask while receiving calls, asking Siri a question, or watching videos.
iOS 14 delivers an all-new compact design that lets users multitask while receiving calls, asking Siri a question, or watching videos.

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,1 or through NFC tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or from Safari, all with the security and privacy expected from apps.

App Clips are fast and easy to discover and allow users to get a part of an app the moment they need it
App Clips are fast and easy to discover and allow users to get a part of an app the moment they need it

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 customize 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.

Messages enables users to reply directly to a message and keep track of all subsequent replies.
Messages enables users to reply directly to a message and keep track of all subsequent replies.

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.2 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.

Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types.
Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types.

Enhanced Privacy Features for More Transparency and Control

All apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking.3 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.

App Store product pages feature a summary of the privacy practices of each app before downloading it.
App Store product pages feature a summary of the privacy practices of each app before downloading it.

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.

Translate helps users quickly and easily translate voice or text between supported languages, and can work completely offline to keep conversations private.
Translate helps users quickly and easily translate voice or text between supported languages, and can work completely offline to keep conversations private.

• The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the color 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.

The Home app has a new visual status that provides an at-a-glance view of a user’s smart home accessories.
The Home app has a new visual status that provides an at-a-glance view of a user’s smart home accessories.

• AirPods gain the ability to seamlessly switch between Apple devices with automatic device switching. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theater-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.

Digital car keys give users a way to securely unlock and start their car using just their iPhone or Apple Watch.
Digital car keys give users a way to securely unlock and start their car using just their iPhone or Apple Watch.

• 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 centralized 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 soft sounds and tunes audio 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 recognizes what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.

Availability

The developer preview of iOS 14 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available to iOS users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later. For more information, visit apple.com/ios/ios-14-preview. Features are subject to change. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.

4 Comments

  1. Typical lock-in from Apple, no third party App Store, very disappointing from Apple who want to ream you right up the LGBTQook. Of course I’m extremely cynical about it. Nothing Apple will ever day save hire Steve Ballmer will ever make me happy, I’m the grumpiest grump of all time today because Apple are a bunch of nuts with a spoken C. Noted, have a nice day.

  2. Where is the most simple accessibility for the hearing impaired, FaceTime with voice-to-text for the speaker that would show as a caption on the screen of the hearing impaired person. This would be a convenient and powerful way to communicate. Personally, I have asked for this feature for more than two years so that I could communicate with my nearly deaf 102-year-old father who lives across the Country. We try to “talk” several times a week, but he just says the same thing and is unable to hear what I say or ask. He can read perfectly well. Some have suggested that I just use Messages right alongside FaceTime but this misses the point and I know from trying adds too much nuisance and complexity so as to make the option infeasible with my father. I’m sure we are not the only people with this issue. Sure wish that someone at Apple actually cared about inserting already existing voice-to-text code into FaceTime. I’ll be any developer could do this in under 30 minutes.

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