Apple iOS 14 - all the best new features

Apple iOS 14 logo

iOS 14, Apple’s next big software update, will bring some welcome new features to your iPhone in 2020. Here’s everything you need to know…

For the last few months, Apple users have waited patiently for word on the Californian tech giant’s latest operating system.

Now, finally, we have all the details from Apple – plus some interesting clues about what we could see from its newest smartphone, the iPhone 12.

Let’s dive in…

When will iOS 14 be available?

Developers can already get their hands on iOS 14 – it was available from June 22, the day of Apple's World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC).

A public version will be available sometime in July, and the final update will likely drop the same time as the iPhone 12, so probably sometime in September.

Can I get iOS 14 on my iPhone?

If your current iPhone runs on iOS 13, you’ll be able to get the new update. That means if you own any of the following devices, you're good to go:

  • iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus and iPhone SE (first gen)
  • iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X
  • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE (second gen)

What new features does iOS 14 offer?

Apple iOS 14 stills

Image credit: Apple

Impressively, iOS 14 is one of Apple's most significant software updates for a long time and brings with it eye-catching home screen widgets, picture-in-picture viewing, app clips and a new messenger app. And much more, besides.

Here’s a more about those features, in detail:

iOS 14 home screen widgets

To some, the current iPhone home screen does little to separate out any of the apps, and looks a bit dated.

Given this, Apple has opted for home screen widgets – similar to the ones on the Apple Watch – which will be data-rich and come in a range of sizes.

Apple says the widgets can be used on your home screen, plus your phone’s ‘Today’ view. And from what we’ve seen so far, the apps that will get widgets include the Calendar, Weather, Clocks and Apple News.

iOS 14 Picture-in-picture

Apple iOS picture to picture

Image credit: Apple

The new picture-in-picture functionality means that you can now keep watching videos or using Face Time on your phone whilst doing other tasks like sending messages or browsing the web.

As you can see from the shot above, the secondary window will appear at the top-right corner of your screen.

iOS 14 App Clips

One of the problems with downloading apps is the amount of large files and data that come with them.

Fortunately, the new App Clips feature on iOS 14 means you can download just a small part of the app you need. So if you need to rent a bike, for example, or order food or pay for parking, you can do so in seconds.

And if you particularly like the service you received, you’ll be able to download the app directly from App Clip – no need to trawl through the Apple Store looking for it.

iOS 14 App Library

Apple’s new App Library is a handy feature that means you won’t have to group all of your apps together yourself – it’ll automatically do it for you.

Indeed, apps will be sorted into categories, with your most used apps at the top for extra convenience. And new apps you’ve downloaded will appear in the aptly titled ‘recent’ folder.

iOS 14 calls and messaging

iPhone iOS 14 messaging

Image credit: Apple

Apple says iOS 14 "re-imagines the most iconic parts of the experience to be even more helpful and personal." This is especially true when it comes to incoming calls on iPhone.

Rather than filling up the whole of your screen, a particular bugbear if you’re in the middle of replying to an important message and get incoming call, calls will now appear as a notification at the top of your screen.

Apple has made similar, convenience-focused alterations to messaging too: you can now pin up to nine messages in your messenger app so you can easily get to your most important conversations.

Plus, you can even tap your name into direct messaging so you can see if you’ve been mentioned, and customise an active group so that you only get a notification when someone has mentioned you.

For a bit of fun, Apple has also added 20 new ways to customise Memojis, including ageing options and face coverings, plus different styles that reflect your job, personality or hobbies.


Image credit: Apple

iOS 14 Maps

iPhone iOS 14 guides

Image credit: Apple

In an attempt to compete with Google Maps, Apple has made significant upgrades to its own Maps offering, too.

These include cycling directions that alert you to bike lane paths, as well as roads and electric vehicle routing that let you see charging stations along your planned route.

If you plan on travelling further afield, Apple’s new ‘Guides’ feature offers detailed descriptions of some of the best places to visit, including restaurants and popular tourist destinations.

Also, any guide you save to your phone will be automatically updated with new information whenever it becomes available.

iOS 14 Translate

iphone iOS 14 translation

Image credit: Apple

Planning a trip abroad? If so, Apple’s excellent new translate app offers conversations across 11 different languages. And all you’ll need to do to to start using it is turn your phone to landscape, and tap the microphone.

iOS 14 Siri

Lastly, Apple’s Siri has also seen some changes. For example, it will no longer take up the entirety of your screen. Instead, it’ll appear as a notification at the top of your screen and, this time around, boasts over 20 times more facts than it did three years ago.

So there you have it. These are some of the standout features on iOS 14.

Keen to know the latest iPhone 12 rumours ahead of September's big reveal? Check out our comprehensive iPhone 12 round-up.

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