Apple has released its new iOS 14 and iPad iOS 14 operating systems. The update has rolled out to all iOS users sporting a compatible model. In order to host the new iOS 14 update, a user will need to have an iPhone 6s and above to be able to download and install the latest software. The release of iOS 14 comes ahead of the iPhone 12 which is rumoured to be delayed due to the coronavirus and perhaps some manufacturing issues. The iOS 14 update is quite an extensive update offering some serious redesigns and exciting new features to the Apple experience.
To begin, the home screen has seen a welcome redesign, sporting a new look and finally supports widgets for the first time. Widgets such as maps, calendar, screen time, weather and so forth can be customised and pinned to suit a user’s everyday needs. Making it quick and easy to access some of your favourite frequently-used applications or those quick-glance features such as the date and weather. The use of widgets aligns the iPhone with some of the features that many Android phones already boast. The update also comes with a new app library, this interface, gathers together every app on the user’s phone at a glance, organising them into an easy-to-use folder system. It also allows you to hide apps that you do not use often and its purpose is to make it easier for users to find and access apps.
Apple’s signature virtual assistant, Siri, has also received an upgrade, is able to answer a greater range of questions, send audio messages and has improved keyboard dictation. Space-saving alterations also allow Siri to be used whilst using other apps – prior to this update accessing Siri would take over the whole screen. Similarly, incoming phone calls and FaceTime features can be used whilst using other apps and do not necessarily take over the whole screen.
With the update, Apple has integrated and released its own translate app which is automatically installed onto a user’s iPhone. Instead of having to download another app such as Google translate, iPhone users now have access to this built-in feature. The app will allow you to convert text via voice dictation and even easily hold a conversation with someone who speaks a different language whilst the app translates. Languages that are included are English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Portuguese and Russian.
A new feature called App Clips has also been introduced where parts of apps can be used whenever you need them without having to download the full apps. Users no longer need to download apps that they will only use once and delete later, but instead can access a small portion of various apps when needed by scanning a NFC or visual code.
Messages has been improved to be more like WhatsApp, you can set up group conversations adding images, pinning conversations and directly tagging people in conversations, you can also directly reply to specific messages making it easier to follow an uncomplicated line of discussion.
Further, the iPad’s ‘picture in picture’ setting has now been integrated into the iPhone. Which means that you can watch videos outside of an application, users can also rearrange and resize the window to suit, as they access other applications.
Existing Apple features and applications such as Apple Maps have been improved. After Apple Maps had been condemned for its lack of accuracy and ease-of-use, Apple has been working to improve this feature. Map’s will now alert you to approaching speed cameras and recommends selected attractions and restaurants depending on your location. In the US cyclist will be able to look up cycling directions and bike friendly roads.
The update also has a greater usability across different Apple products such as the Apple Watch and several of the standard built-in applications have been updated themselves, such as the weather app, health app and so forth. There has also been an update for the use of AirPods, Wired explaining: “One major iOS 14 feature is the introduction of spatial audio to the AirPods Pro. It places sound virtually in space, creating a surround sound effect. Another great new feature on the AirPods is that it now automatically switches between your devices, so if you pick up your iPad to watch something on Netflix with your AirPods still in your ears, the audio will automatically reroute and begin playing the audio from your iPad. When you pick up your iPhone to take a call, your AirPods will automatically reroute back to your iPhone.”
It is not just fancy new features that have been included in the new update but also new privacy controls to help protect users data. Apple now lets you share an approximate location rather than an exact location and offers more control over third-party tracking. New privacy settings also alert the user to moments when they are being monitored. When apps use the microphone or camera a small dot will now appear in the top right-hand corner of the screen. An orange light refers to the use of the microphone, and a green light indicates that the camera is in use. These dots will appear on normal everyday functions such as phone calls, Siri, FaceTime and camera usage as well as alerting the user to further usages.