In September 2020, Apple released iOS 14, the latest version of its iOS operating system. Hailed by users as the best operating system released in years, iOS 14 is filled with great new features that make the iPhone more functional and fun than ever.
With iOS 14, you can:
Organize your apps
One of the highlights of iOS 14 is the new App Library, a very useful feature that makes it easy to organize and access all of your apps. The App Library functions as a kind of storage warehouse on your iPhone: swiping from right to left on your Home screen will take you to a display where all of your apps are grouped together into folders by category and frequency of use. This means that you can see everything at a glance and easily find the app you’re looking for without having to scroll through endless screens of individual app icons.
Stack your widgets
With iOS 14, widgets are supported on your iPhone’s Home screen for the first time in Apple’s history (previous versions of iOS confined widgets to the Today screen). In addition, multiple designs are offered for the same widget. For example, with the new weather widget, options include a simple square that shows the current temperature and a larger box that includes an extended forecast. Finally, to maximize ease of use for widgets, iOS 14 includes a Smart Stack feature, a curated collection of widgets that changes dynamically over the course of the day depending on your app use and behavior.
Create your own app icons
If you’ve always wanted a fully customized look for your Home screen, then you’re in luck. iOS 14 now allows you to create your own app icons, so you can have a Home screen that’s unlike anyone else’s. Simply download your preferred icon image for your chosen app, and use it to replace the default app icon.
Skip app installation
If you want to quickly use an app’s most basic features, it can sometimes feel like a hassle to go through the entire download and installation process. This is where the new App Clips feature comes in. According to Apple, App Clips is intended to offer a “small part of an app experience.” In other words, this feature enables you to use an app to complete a small, specific task without having to download and install the full app. For example, with App Clips, you could pay for parking or placing a food order with a single tap, even if you don’t have the app in question on your device.
Pin a conversation
A simple but very useful update that iOS 14 brings to the Messages app is the ability to pin conversations. If you don’t want to lose track of an important message exchange, simply swipe to the right while you’re in the chat, and the conversation will automatically stay at the top of the Messages app so that you can easily find it again.
Take raw photos
Photography enthusiasts or anyone else looking to get a little more out of the already outstanding iPhone camera won’t want to miss the ProRaw photo format update, which appeared in iOS 14.3. With ProRaw, you can take photos using what’s known as a “raw” photography format, which means that you can make changes and adjustments to the image without the degradation that occurs when you’re working with a standard JPG file.
Enjoy picture-in-picture mode
A handy feature that has been available on the iPad for several years, picture-in-picture mode has finally made it to the iPhone as part of iOS 14. Previously, you had to decide between watching a video and using other apps on your iPhone. The picture-in-picture mode enables you to keep a video playing even if other apps are in use. When picture-in-picture mode is enabled, a floating video window pops up that you can resize and relocate to any corner of the iPhone screen, leaving the rest of the display free for whatever other apps you’re using.
Set new defaults for e-mail and web browsing
If you’re happy with your iPhone but would prefer not to use Apple Mail or Safari as your default e-mail and web browsing apps, iOS 14 now allows you to select third-party options as your go-to apps for these tasks. Simply choose your preferred app, such as Outlook or Gmail, in your Settings menu, and tap Default Mail App.
Keep your information private
Apple has long been a leader in digital privacy, and iOS 14 brings even more features that will enable you to keep your sensitive data safe and secure. For example, new location sharing settings limit whether or not apps can see your exact location. A notification dot lets you know when an app is using your iPhone’s camera or microphone, and more detailed permissions control which photos an app can access.