One of the best news first: After the iOS 13 plagued by errors, the first beta version of iOS 14, which has been running on our iPhone for a few days, is much more stable and faster. Perhaps the changes in the development process that Apple announced after iOS 13 are already having an effect.
According to Apple, iOS 14 will appear in autumn 2020, probably at the same time as the new iPhones that we expect this season. The release date also applies to iPadOS 14 and watchOS 7. All iPhones and iPads running iOS / iPadOS 13 will receive the update.
We present the best innovations of Apple’s new, mobile operating systems here.
Since Apple introduced the first iPhone, the home screen has remained largely unchanged. With the numerous apps that users install on their cell phones today, the simple overview no longer keeps pace. Folders, the only innovation on the homescreen over the years, have fundamentally changed nothing.
In this respect, the new app media library is a small revolution. In future, it will form the last page of the home screen and collect apps in folders that iOS automatically generates. The folder symbols are four times the size of the standard folder. So you can directly reach the three most important apps in it. The rest appear in the familiar grid when you tap the lower right corner of the respective folder.
The classification into the categories is not always intuitive for us. Over time, however, a memory for which app iOS is in which folder is likely to develop. There is also a search function at the top of the app media library. Tap in there and you will get an alphabetical list of all apps on your device.
As a user, you can control how many classic homescreen pages iOS shows in front of the app media library. To do this, press and hold the home screen and then tap on the progress bar above the four apps in the dock. At least in the developer beta of iPadOS 14, the app media library is still missing.
A second major innovation for the homescreen are widgets. So far, Apple has locked it in a separate screen on the left of the home screen. As of iOS 14, you can distribute them across the entire home screen, they look better and are more flexible. The widgets are now available in two sizes. Both cover two rows of app icons, one entirely, the other half.
To add a widget to the homescreen, hold it down in an empty space. Then tap on a new plus symbol that appears at the top left and you will be taken to the widget gallery that you can see above.
Apps can offer their widgets in different sizes. They are placed by dragging and dropping them. Unlike before, Apple encourages developers to adapt the widgets in design to their apps. This could actually result in a fresher appearance. The new widgets are also available on the iPad, but at least cannot yet be placed there freely.
The Smart Stack is a special widget. You can add other widgets to it. Then swipe between these widgets. After a while, Siri should notice when you want to see which widget and automatically show the correct one.
As is well known, Siri also accepts voice commands. Unlike in the past, it now shows up in a space-saving manner at the bottom of the display. Their answers also take up less space.
This is a trend that runs through the new iOS in many places. For example, incoming calls with an unlocked mobile phone only appear in the form of a compact message at the top and videos can be played picture-in-picture. You are less likely to be disturbed by what you are using the cell phone for.
With the new app clips, you can save individual app functions on your phone for a short time. This is always practical when you only need a function once or for a few days (for example when traveling). If it is up to Apple, in the future you can only scan the link to the app clip of the respective provider, for example at the car park counter or when renting an e-scooter. Then pay briefly and continue.
App clips are downloaded quickly because the maximum size is 10 megabytes. You stay on your cell phone for a maximum of 30 days. If necessary, you can also install the complete app. App links should not only be in the form of QR codes and NFC tags. They should also appear on websites and be shared.
The news app has two new functions. On the one hand, you can pin up to nine frequently used chats at the top by swiping your finger from left to right. On the other hand, Apple has drilled out group chats with group photos, inline replies, the possibility to mention users and notifications that only appear when you have been personally mentioned in the chat.
IOS 14 also brings a completely new app with Translate. It can initially translate text into 11 languages, including German, English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. The text is entered either via the keyboard or by voice, whereby translation should automatically recognize the respective language.
In Beta 1, the app does not yet allow realistic tests due to errors. The idea that the entire conversation appears on the display has its charm. Apple also wants to integrate the technology into the Safari web browser, where it translates page content. The translation can be done completely offline and is then data protection-free.
Apple is not only concerned with data protection when it comes to translation. IOS 14 offers a new function that you can use to further restrict access to photos and videos. In extreme cases, apps may only see the photo / video you have selected – for example to share. IOS 14 can also differentiate between read and write access to the media library.
If you’re scared that an app wants to know your location, just give it the approximate location. Then iOS only tells the app approximately the location. For a lot of information such as the weather forecast, this level of accuracy is completely sufficient.
In the future, Apple will require app developers to provide clearer information about the type and scope of data processing in their apps. In the future, these should also appear prominently in the AppStore.
iPhone as a car key
With iOS, the iPhone will become a car key in the future. The digital key ends up in the wallet, which has also been storing credit cards and plane tickets for a long time. To open the vehicle, it is sufficient if you approach with the iPhone in your pocket. Conveniently, the digital key can be shared with other users, including via the news app. Initially, this only works with selected vehicle models. But Apple is working on standardization, according to the manufacturer.
If you want to replace Apple’s Safari and Mail with another app, iOS will offer the appropriate setting options in the future. For example, you can make Chrome the default browser on iOS, which opens automatically when you tap a link in another app.
The Shortcuts app has been given folders that provide an overview of large shortcut collections. Automations that start shortcuts automatically, for example based on the time, can now run without asking the user. This expands the possible uses enormously.
In addition, shortcuts now support Multiwindow and the copying and pasting of commands. This means that short commands can often be processed more quickly.
Apple’s wireless AirPods headphones have quickly become a bestseller. iOS 14 brings some welcome improvements. The operating system now clearly indicates the state of charge. In addition, the AirPods should be automatically connected to the correct device. If a call is received on the iPhone while you are watching a video on the iPad, the cell phone automatically connects to the headphones.
Apple has also given the top model, AirPods Pro, synthetic surround sound. The operating system should track the orientation of the cell phone / tablet and the viewer’s head and correct the sound accordingly.
iPadOS: Improved app design
Last year Apple released iPadOS from iOS. As an independent operating system, iPadOS should take better account of the requirements of the iPad. In iOS 14, this is reflected in new controls.
Apple apps such as files, photos, contacts and calendars are already making use of the new sidebar, pull-down menus and toolbars. App developers will soon be able to integrate them into their own apps. This is good because the new elements ensure a noticeable acceleration and less typing in the iPadOS surface.
Apple treated the pencil stylus rather neglectfully. It was getting faster and more precise and therefore interesting for creative people. However, it only offered rudimentary functions for entering text. In iPadOS 14, Apple does a good job here. The new font recognition called Scribble underlines handwriting with automatically recognized text. Attention to detail prevails: Scribble also recognizes information such as dates and then converts the handwriting into interactive text.
Scribble transforms every input field into a field that also accepts handwriting. You can mark text with the pen, delete words by crossing them out and separating them with a vertical line. Scribble brings form into geometric figures. If you hold the pencil on the display after you have drawn a circle, for example, Scribble will automatically bring it into a perfect, circular shape.