Apple recently announced it was dropping major upgrades to the software that makes iPhones one of the most popular devices on the planet. Here's what you need to know about the new features coming to iPhone later this year when Apple unloads iOS 14.
Probably the most important upgrades for iPhone users comes in the way of Messages. Apple will now allow pinning of important text threads to the top of the app, group updates, inline replies, individual mentions and better notifications when a person gets mentioned. There’s also a bubble interface that was shown that looks like a very friendly way of organizing larger threads. These are exciting announcements for an app that provides the backbone for billions of texts sent every day but judgment will have to be reserved for when these new features are actually unleashed on the world.
Apple has introduced a new Widget Gallery, enabling better, feature-rich graphics to be added to iPhones, both on the Spotlight Today screen and, momentously, on the iPhone’s home screen among all of your apps. They’ll also be contextual, knowing to display certain widgets at certain times of day depending on the user’s habits. It’s a feature that Android users have enjoyed for years that Apple chose to largely ignore...until now.
Speaking of the home screen, Apple’s got plans to help organize the mess of apps that are likely cluttering home screens across the world at this very moment. The App Library will automatically organize apps, create defaults for easy access, suggest apps that should make the cut to home screens and, of course, implement a search function.
So many people have had the annoying experience of having to download an app for a one-time reason and Apple is solving that problem with the creation of App Clips. They’re smaller version of apps that exist to serve their purpose and disappear, enabling functionality for the moment they’re needed and disappearing afterwards.
Apple’s hyper aware just how popular their devices are for watching video and they’re helping encourage more of that by adding picture-in-picture system-wide. That means that getting a message or an email doesn’t have to stop the show; instead moving the video being played to a smaller, resizable box that sits on top of any app open on the phone or shiftable to off-screen on either side while keeping the audio playing.
The most famous virtual assistant in the world is getting a visual overhaul in iOS 14. Her new compact design will no longer take over the iPhone’s screen when initiated but will instead live at the bottom of the screen, on top of whatever you’re doing at the moment. She’ll also be able to pull data from across the internet, giving her access to 20x more facts, according to Apple. Furthermore, she’ll be able to display those facts in more useful ways that are integrated better with the look and feel of the iPhone.
The most straightforward upgrade announced at WWDC, iOS 14 will bring an intuitive and effective voice translation software that will make speaking to someone in a different language easier than ever before. English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian will be available at launch.
The ever-improving native maps app on the iPhone is...continuing to improve. Cycling data has been added, EV charging data can now be incorporated into routes, better warnings for steps and sharp turns are now included and, like Siri, Apple Maps will now add a bevy of useful information directly into the map app, hopefully making it a one-stop way for people to get around and find things to do along the way.
Apple briefly showed off a new way of using the iPhone to control and unlock cars. The new tech will initially be integrated in the upcoming BMW 5 Series and can even allow the temporary authorization of a friend or family member to use their phone to open and start the car.