iOS 14 highlights: The top five new features arriving on your iPhone

  • Technology
  • Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

With iOS-14, Apple is finally getting the widget functions that owners of Android smartphones have been using for years. — Apple/dpa

After almost two months of beta testing, Apple has released iOS 14 for all users. If you have an iPhone or iPad, you may have already received a notification asking if you want to update.

This should be the case on all Apple mobile devices that could run iOS 13 or iPadOS. You then just have to tap install and wait.

If you haven't yet been offered the update, you can connect your device to the charger, activate WLAN and then go into the settings, tap "General" and then "Software Update". Then tap on "Download and Install".

If the slider is switched to to green on "Customize Automatic Updates" under "Install iOS Updates", then there's a chance your iPhone or iPad has already updated itself automatically overnight or is still doing so.

And what has changed? Here are the five most important features.

1 Widgets: Just like the widgets you already know from Android, iOS can now also display additional information from apps (which have also received a tweaked icon design).

These let you see one key part of an app, like weather updates, new emails or fitness tracking, in a permanent tile on the home screen, meaning you don't always have to go into the app. Now that the home screen is getting a bit more crowded, Apple is finally letting you tidy things up, and has made a searchable library for apps, sorted into folders – again, something borrowed from Android.

2 – Picture-in-picture: Yet another new feature borrowed from Android is the ability to continue watching a video in a floating window while opening other apps. This means you can quickly answer a message on WhatsApp while a film keeps playing on Netflix.

3 – Translate: Apple has integrated a translation app into the operating system that works with 11 languages. It also works offline if the necessary language packs have been downloaded beforehand.

4 – Back tap: You can now double tap on the back of the smartphone to trigger any action you want. You can set this up to open up your music app or take a screenshot, for example. If you find yourself using this function often, you can also set up another function with a triple tap.

You can activate the new function in the settings under Accessibility, where you'll find the Touch option containing the new Back Tap feature.

5 – Security and privacy: Weather apps generally don't need to know what exact address you're at, and yet we generally give them this information.

So to limit the reach of snooping tech companies, users can now decide to tell an app an approximate location, rather than an exact one. You can also tell iOS to allow apps access to only certain photos, not your entire gallery.

When an app reads what you have in your clipboard, Apple will now let you know, the same way it will when the camera or microphone is being used. The new operating system will also warn you if your passwords are weak or have been leaked on hacker databases.

Coming in 2021: In an effort to stop tech companies from collecting information about you to give you targeted ads, Apple has announced plans for a new active consent (opt-in) approach when apps want to track you.

This means you'll need to expressly agree before apps can access the device's advertising ID to track you across the web and while you use the app. – dpa

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