iOS 14 is the fourteenth major release of the iOS mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. for their iPhone and iPod Touch lines. Announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference on June 22, 2020 as the successor to iOS 13. iOS 14, and its subsidiary iPadOS 14, was released on September 16, 2020
App Clips are a new feature expanding on the functionality of the App Store. Intended as a dynamic feature rather than a permanently installed app, App Clips are extremely pared-back with very few OS permissions. At the time of announcement, only the use of Apple Pay and Sign in with Apple were shown.
App Clips may be discovered in person via NFC tags or QR codes with App Clips branding. They may also be shared via Messages, or placed on websites or Maps.
CarPlay was updated to allow users to set a built in wallpaper. Route management was extended with features alerting the user to available stops, such as parking and food ordering. Additionally, route planning for electric vehicles now considers the location of charging stations.
Car keys allow an iPhone to act as a virtual car key using NFC technology with compatible cars. The first compatible car showcased by Apple at the WWDC 2020 was the 2021 BMW 5 Series. Keys are accessible from the Wallet app. Keys may be shared; sharing may be temporary or given restrictions.
In the event the iPhone dies, car keys can still be accessed via the power reserve of the iPhone for about five hours. Car keys require an iPhone released in 2018 or later.
Unlike previous versions, in which icons on the home screen were rearranged in order and corresponded directly to apps, users may add app icons and newly-introduced app widgets; pages may be added or deleted at will. This allows users to hide infrequently-used apps and avoid clutter.
To the left of the first page, the Today View is replaced by a scrollable widget UI. Widgets may be placed on the home screen to sit amongst app icons; they may be resized to two-by-two, horizontal two-by-four, or four-by-four icons. Widgets of the same size may be stacked over each other and swiped between for convenience; a Smart Stack may be placed which automatically shows the most relevant widget to the user based on the time of day.
To the right of the last page, the App Library lists and categorizes apps installed on the device. Apps within each category are arranged based on the frequency of their usage. In addition to a category for suggested apps, a “recent” category lists apps recently installed alongside App Clips recently accessed. Users can search for the app they want or browse them in alphabetical order.
A series of changes were made in iOS 14 to reduce the visual space taken by previously full-screen interfaces; such interfaces now appear and hover in front of an app, allowing for touch (and therefore multitasking) on the app behind. Voice calling interfaces, including Phone, or other third-party apps such as Skype, are made substantially thinner, taking approximately as much space as a notification. Siri’s interface is now also compact.
Picture-in-picture allows users to continue watching video playback (or take voice calls, such as with FaceTime) in a thumbnail-sized view after leaving the app. This view may be resized with pinch gestures, or moved off-screen temporarily and re-summoned for multitasking. Picture-in-picture is currently supported by Safari and FaceTime. However, the YouTube app is not supported. Users can use picture-in-picture on the YouTube website in Safari.
Search and Siri
Improvements to the Search feature on the home screen were made, including a refined UI, quick launcher for apps, more detailed web search, shortcuts to in-app search, and improved as-you-type search suggestions.
While made compact so that content below is visible, Siri’s interface does not allow for simultaneous multitasking, as designers felt it unclear how the interface would then be dismissed. Siri can now answer a broader set of questions and translate more languages. Users can also share their ETA with contacts and ask for cycling directions.
Privacy information can now be seen on the App Store so users can understand what permissions an app has before they download it. Users may change location permissions to inform the app of an approximate location, preserving privacy when exact location is unnecessary.
A recording indicator appears at the top of the screen whenever an app uses the microphone or camera. Likewise, a notification appears when the clipboard is accessed outside of the user actively pasting its contents.
During the iOS 14 announcement, Apple stated that with the launch of iOS 14, apps will not be able to exchange information by default. Apps will have to explicitly ask users for permission to track them across websites and apps.
- The Emoji keyboard was updated with a search bar for quick access. iOS 14 adds 20 new hair and head wear styles to Memoji and Animoji, including face mask options for Memoji.
- The user’s email and browser apps – by default the stock Mail app and Safari – may now be changed.
- On iPhones released in 2017 and later (iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone X), a new accessibility feature allows users to perform common tasks by double-tapping the back of the device via the phone’s accelerometer (e.g. opening Control Center).
- Users with devices that do not automatically read NFC tags may add a shortcut on the Control Center to do so.
- iOS 14 introduces support for the VP9 codec, allowing playback of YouTube videos in 4K resolution.
- In the Notes app, it is now easier to find notes using an improved “on-device intelligence.”
- The Weather app now shows minute-by-minute forecasts for the next hour in the United States. Apple now uses data from their recently acquired service Dark Sky instead of only The Weather Channel.
- Apple Arcade now has direct Game Center integration.
- The skeuomorphic paper texture in the Notes app has been removed.
- The scroll wheel time picker has been replaced with a number pad input, and a smaller scroll wheel.
- A new Accessibility feature, called Sound Recognition, allows iPhones to listen for predefined sounds and issue an alert whenever the specific audio is detected. This way an iPhone can detect fire, various sirens, animals, multiple household noises, and a baby that’s crying or someone that’s shouting.
The Camera app gained several new features. Features include:
- The ability to mirror photos taken from the front camera.
- QR code reading enhancements.
- Exposure compensation control.
- Quick toggles in Video mode for all iPhones.
- QuickTake video on the (iPhone XR and iPhone XS/XS Max).
- Camera app gets redesigned on the iPhone XR and iPhone XS/XS Max.
- The ability to capture burst photos and QuickTake video with volume buttons on supported devices.
- An updated Night mode capture experience on the (iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro/11 Pro Max).
- Improvements were also made in shot-to-shot performance. Photos can be shot up to 90% faster, time to first shot is now up to 25% faster, and Portrait shot-to-shot is up to 15% faster.
FaceTime now automatically adjusts the visual appearance of eyes to account for the camera being above where a caller’s eyes are displayed, allowing for direct two-way eye contact, and 1080p FaceTime resolution.
The Home app received design changes to emphasize suggested accessories alongside those marked as favorite. In addition, a major set of automation capabilities were added for use with compatible HomeKit devices; this automation requires the presence of an iPad, HomePod or Apple TV to facilitate on-device processing.
Home security cameras may be instructed to only alert the user of activity if it occurs in a preselected activity zone. In addition, facial recognition performed in Photos app may be used to alert based on recognized people, with additional integration for use with smart doorbells.
Smart lighting products which support color temperatures may be instructed to match a preset color temperature setting. As the presence of blue light is a major zeitgeber – a factor which influences the perception of time with regards to circadian rhythm – this feature is designed to encourage activity in the day and calmness in the morning and evening.
In the Messages app, users can now pin up to nine individual conversations above other message threads.
Group chats using iMessage may be given a custom image, a Memoji or an emoji. Users may now mention other users, and change notification settings to only be notified when explicitly mentioned. Messages may be replied to with inline replies, allowing for simultaneous conversation threads and see the replies in the general conversation or as a separate thread.
Apple Maps will now give users access to cycling routes, providing information including elevation and stairs. It also provides users with multiple options, suggesting routes with less busy streets.
Apple also introduced EV routing, which allows users to take charging stations into account while planning their route and choose a route where they will be able to recharge when they need to. This feature requires integration with the car. Apple is currently working with Ford and BMW to implement this feature with their electric vehicles.
Curated guides for various places around the world have been added, which suggest where to eat, shop, and explore.
A web page translation tool has been added to Safari in seven languages: English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Russian and Brazilian Portuguese. This feature is currently only available in the United States and Canada.
Introduced in iOS 14, the stock Translate app allows users to translate voice and text between 11 languages: English, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, French, Italian, Brazilian Portuguese, and Arabic. When rotated to landscape view, the app features an “attention mode,” making it easier for someone to read a translation. It can be used during verbal conversations between speakers of different languages. The Translate app auto-detects what language is being spoken and converts it to your chosen default language.
Improvements made to translation are integrated with Siri, and pages may be translated inline in Safari.
iPhone 6S Plus
iPhone SE (1st generation)
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone XS Max
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone SE (2nd generation)
iPod Touch (7th generation)