iOS 14 preview: We got an early look at the changes coming to your iPhone this fall

iOS 14 preview: We got an early look at the changes coming to your iPhone this fall

iOS 14 developer version

iOS 14 brings a number of major and minor refinements to iPhones, including the ability to pin widgets to your home screen, and picture-in-picture video.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Apple launched on Monday iOS 14 As an online keynote speaker for its annual Worldwide Developer Conference. The latest iPhone operating system includes a home screen, picture-in-picture video, improved widgets, a new Siri interface and app library, a new way to organize your apps.

The final version of iOS 14 will be released in the fall as well Heavily rumored iPhone 12. But i got my hands iOS 14 developer beta And the translation app was able to try out a number of features, including back tap, new group messaging options and new memoji customizations, including the option to add face masks.

This developer is not a review of beta software. Rather, it is a preview preview of some important features in iOS 14 and how they work.

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IOS 14 home screen is the same, but also different

At first glance, the iPhone 11 running iOS 11 looks no different. All my apps are exactly where they were in iOS 13. But Right to Simple Swipe reveals a page called App Library, which organizes all my apps in one place.

It will be easy to compare the app library to the Android app drawer. But Apple has given its twist on things by grouping apps into categories. For example, Twitter, Instagram and similar apps are put together under the social category.

iOS 14

The App Library organizes all your iPhone apps in one place.

Patrick Holland / CNET

The groups look like a large app folder, but one does not need to open to get the app. You just tap the app and go. Groups with more than four apps are mini app clusters. You can tap them to expand the cluster and then tap the application you want.

When you open the App Library search bar, an alphabetical list of all your apps appears. Between options for Siri, search, your home page and app library page, iOS 14 now has a bunch of ways to find and open your app.

Widgets can be pinned to your home screen

With the announcement of iOS 14, Apple now has three types of apps: apps, widgets based on those apps and app clips. In the last moment I will talk about it. In iOS 13, widgets are shown in the Today view page on the left side of the home screen. But now you can pin widgets directly to your home screen. You just long press on the screen, tap on the plus button and the widget gallery pops up.

The Widget Gallery is a mixture of suggested widgets as well as a list of apps that have a widget that you can install. Apparently, since this is the developer version, only the widgets are currently for Apple apps.

Each widget comes in three sizes: small, medium and large. Widgets have a fixed width, with an app column on the home screen. So you can’t put one in the middle of your screen. The widgets that are of different sizes, integrated between my apps, make the iPhone home screen contemporary and compelling. And let’s accept that there is definitely a Windows Phone tile vibe running, which is not a bad thing.

Widget Stack and Smart Stack

Probably one of the best customizations on the home screen is the widget stack. You create by simply dragging one widget on top of another that is the same size. To see widgets in a stack, you swipe up or down, which brings up a different one.

Who would have thought that widgets could be so exciting in 2020? And before you comment, I know that Android did the widget a long time ago. But it is lazy to dismiss iOS 14 widgets as a copied feature, especially since Apple created its own spin-off called Smart Stack.

ios-14-smart stack

You can find the smart stack in the widget gallery and then pin it to your home screen like a widget.

Patrick Holland / CNET

iOS 14 builds smart stacks based on the apps you use and the time of day. So if you regularly use the Maps app after work, that’s when the widget will be at the top of your smart stack. If you always check the weather in the morning, it is at the top when you wake up. Your iPhone curates your smart stack for you. After spending more time with iOS 14 I’m excited to see how it will work.

I am sure many people will never touch a widget or smart stack in their lives and will never be savvy, which is why Apple is implementation savvy. In a sense, nothing has changed on your home screen. But in another, so different.

App clips are basically mini apps for your iPhone.

iOS 14 brings a completely new way for you to interact with an app. This is called App Clips and is intended for apps that are not on your iPhone. Essentially, an app is a mini app with limited functionality set by the developer of the clip app. The idea is that you don’t have to take the time or phone space to download the entire app and instead you can have a faster experience.

During the WWDC keynote, Apple signed up a customer for a reward club in a coffee shop via an app clip. QR codes and NFCs can trigger an app clip. But you can send them through a friend to order food, or search for a business in Maps.

If developers adopt app clips widely, it can help keep your iPhone announced and change your relationship with apps.

iOS 14 lets you hide the app page

If you have apps that you use often but don’t want to delete, you can put them all on one page and hide it. You still have access to apps through Search, Siri or the App Library, but they are out of view.

In theory you can hide all your applications, fill your home screen with the widget stack, and still be able to use your iPhone. I think I will have to try at some point.

Picture-in-picture comes to your iPhone

After being on the iPad for many years, the picture-in-picture video feature has arrived on the iPhone via iOS 14.. To be fair, it is like a picture-in-home-screen video or picture-in-difference. -Apps Video This works not only for videos but also for FaceTime calls.


You can collapse the video in a small player window and watch it while accessing everything on your iPhone.

Patrick Holland / CNET

I like to change my FaceTime chat to a small window so that I can access something else on my iPhone. This allows me to keep the conversation running without the blank screen showing people at the other end of the call. And you can move the mini FaceTime window anywhere you want too much.

Videos work in a similar way: If I’m watching videos in fullscreen through an app like Safari, I can swipe to enter the app switcher view and then tap on the home screen to minimize it . You can resize the video window and move it accordingly. If you push it from the side, the audio will play without a picture.

Set a third-party browser or mail application as the default

It was not mentioned as a keynote, but at the bottom of the iOS 14 preview page on the Apple website a small announcement has been made for a feature we have encountered for many of you: now you third parties The system can choose the default application.

iOS 14 will let you set up a third-party app as your default Internet browser or mail app. The catch here is that developers have to flag their app as a browser or mail app for this to work. In theory, this means that you can use Chrome or Firefox as your default mobile browser or Gmail as your default email app. I am excited to see it in action after developers have enabled their apps.

iOS 14 adds the Translate app to your iPhone

There are a few ways in the new Translate app. In the vertical position you can translate words and phrases and also show the definition of those words. When you rotate it across the landscape, it enters conversation mode, giving each speaker half the screen with his or her translation showing. Even you can show the application full screen translation or speak for you.


The translation app works between 11 different languages.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Apple Maps gets cycling direction

Google Maps has some directions for bike routes for some time. But with iOS 14, Maps is adding its own cycling directions. And there are some well thought out options: you get height and warning about roads or where you will need to ride your bike. You can also toggle options to avoid stairs, hills and busy roads. The bike routes in Maps show places such as bike repair shops and coffee shops along the way. At launch, cycling instructions will be available in only a handful of cities.


Maps now support cycling instructions.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Green light means your camera is on

A useful feature in iOS 14 is an indicator light that lets you know if an app is using your camera or mic in the background. When your phone’s mic is on, an orange dot appears at the top right of the screen. When an app is using your camera, the dot appears green leaving little doubt about what is going on.

Trigger shortcut by tapping on the back of your iPhone

There are a ton of new access features, but one that stands out for me is the back tap. You can enable back tap in the touch section of the Accessibility Settings, which allows you to trigger actions or shortcuts by double-tapping or triple-tapping the back of your iPhone. For example, I can double tap to bring up the control panel. And if I tap again, the control panel goes away.

You can select more than two dozen actions and shortcuts, which can be triggered with a back tap such as taking a screenshot or fetching a magnifier.

Voice recognition can alert you to alarms and animals

Another compelling accessibility feature is called sound recognition. If your iPhone detects specific sounds, such as a fire or smoke alarm, or an animal. You choose which sound you want to be notified about and when your iPhone detects one of those sounds, it will notify you with an on-screen alert.


Voice recognition helps people with impaired hearing know what is going on around them.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Messages include memoji face masks and new group thread mentions

If you’re big on group threads, iOS 14 makes them even more manageable. You can mention a specific person in a thread and only alert that person. You can also pin the conversation to the top of the app.

iOS 14

In a sign of the times, you can now apply a face mask to your memoji.

Patrick Holland / CNET

There are a bunch of customizations including the ability to add new hair and headwear styles as well as a face mask for Memoji.

Phone calls and Siri become smaller

It will now appear as a banner notification at the top before you call it on your full screen before answering it. You tap to answer or swipe away.

Siri, which had an equally bad habit of taking you across the screen, now appears as an animated orb at the bottom.

Another iOS 14 beta is on the way

A public beta version of iOS 14 will launch in July. iOS 14 will run on the same iPhones that are supported in iOS 13 – specifically, the iPhone 6S and newer.

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