iOS 14 offers new ways of customizing the home screen, finding and using Device Clips software, and staying linked in Messages.

Image Credit: Apple

Cupertino, California — Apple today previewed iOS 14, launching the largest update ever to home screen pages with beautifully updated widgets and the App Library, a new way to tap into the App Store with App Clips, powerful Message updates, and more.

The new widgets display details in a timely manner at a glance and can be placed on every home screen page in different dimensions. Users can build a Smart Widget Stack which uses on-device intelligence based on time, location, and activity to display the right widget.

Home Screen pages can show personalized widgets for work, travel, sports, entertainment, and other areas of interest. The App Library is at the end of the Home Screen pages, a new space that automatically organizes all of a user’s apps into one quick, easy-to – navigate view, and smartly surfaces apps that may be helpful at the moment. Users can select how many Home Screen pages to view and conveniently hide pages to access the App Library more quickly.

Image Credit: Apple

Incoming FaceTime and phone calls as well as Siri experiences take on the all-new compact design that helps users to remain within the framework of what they do. Through support for Picture-in-Picture, iPhone users can now watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using a different application.

“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. “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.”

Image Credit: Apple

A New Way to Discover and Use Apps with App Clips

An App Clip is a small part of an application experience designed to be discovered whenever needed.

App Clips are linked to a particular product or business and load in seconds to complete a specific task, such as renting a scooter, buying a coffee, or filling a parking meter. They can be easily discovered and accessed through scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code, 1 or through NFC tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or Safari, all with the security and privacy expected from applications.

Image Credit: Apple

Powerful Updates to Conversations in Messages

Communicating with friends and family is key to messages, and now it is easier to remain linked and easily 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 responses, and further customize conversations using an image or emoji to set up a group photo. In Messages, new Memoji choices are even more inclusive and diverse, with additional hairstyles, headwear, face covers and more.

Image Credit: Apple

Greener Ways to Explore and New Guides in Maps

With new cycling directions, electric vehicle routing and curated guides, maps make travel and discovery easier than ever. Cycling directions take elevation into consideration, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairways along the road. Electric vehicle routing incorporates charging stops to a planned route based on current vehicle charging and charger types.2 Guides include a curated list of interesting places to visit in a area, created by a collection of trusted resources. Guides are a great way to explore hot new restaurants, find popular attractions and explore new suggestions from respected brands like AllTrails, Complex, The Infatuation, Time Out Group and The Washington Post.

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Enhanced Privacy Features for More Transparency and Control

All apps will now need to get user permission before tracking. 3 Later this year, the product pages of the App Store will feature summaries of self-reported privacy practices by developers, displayed in a simple, easy-to-understand format. Furthermore, users can update existing accounts to Sign in with Apple, opt to share their approximate location with app developers rather than their exact location when granting access to an device location, and gain even greater flexibility in the microphone and camera use of a device.

Image Credit: Apple

Additional iOS 14 Features

Translate is developed to be the best and easiest app for conversational translation, providing fast and natural voice and text translation across 11 different languages. On-device mode enables users to experience the app’s offline features for private voice and text translation.

Siri is growing its awareness, helping to find answers over the internet, and can also submit audio messages. When dictating messages, notes, e-mails, and more, the keyboard dictation runs on device.

With new automation suggestions and improved controls in Control Center the Home app makes smart home control even easier for quick access to devices and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically changes the color temperature during the day, and with Face Recognition on-device, compatible video doorbells and cameras can recognize friends and family. The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all user home accessory information is protected end-to-end.

AirPods gain the ability to switch flawlessly between Apple devices with automatic device switching. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings the AirPods Pro a theater-like experience. Through adding directional audio filters, and gradually changing the frequencies that each ear receives, sounds can be positioned almost anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience.

Digital car keys give users a secure way to unlock and start their car using iPhone or Apple Watch. Digital car keys can be easily shared via Messages or disabled via iCloud if a device is lost and are available through NFC starting this year. Apple also unveiled the next generation of digital car keys based on Ultra Wideband spatial awareness technology delivered via the U1 chip that will allow users to unlock future car models without erasing their iPhone from their pocket.

Find My will provide help for the upcoming Find My Network Accessory application to find third party items and accessories. It will encourage consumers to use the Find My app, in addition to their Apple devices, to find other important things in their lives. That My network with built in end-to-end encryption remains key to user privacy. For accessory makers and product manufacturers starting today a draft specification is available.

Safari provides a privacy report so that 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 integrated webpages-wide translation

Health provides all-new ways to monitor sleep, better understand noise levels that may impair hearing protection, and a new Health Checklist — a consolidated place to track health and safety features — includes emergency SOS, medical ID, ECG, fall detection, and more. Health also offers support for new data forms for accessibility, health history, symptoms, and ECG.

The weather app and widget keep users up-to – date on extreme weather incidents and a new precipitation map for the next hour displays precipitation minute by minute when precipitation is in the prediction.

Accessibility apps include Headphone Accommodations, which amplifies soft sounds and tunes to assist music, videos, phone calls and podcasts, and sign language recognition in Group FaceTime, which allows the individual signing a video call more prominent. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading blind community screen reader, also understands instantly what is displayed.

Image Credit: Apple

Availability: The iOS 14 developer preview is available for members of the Apple Developer Program at developer.apple.com starting today, and a public beta will be available for iOS users on beta apple next month. New ios features for iPhone 6s and later will be available this fall as a free software upgrade. Visit apple.com/ios/ios-14-preview for more details. Settings are subject to change. There may not be such features available in all regions or in all languages.

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