16 Features of IOS 14 That You May Have Missed
Apple released IOS 14 in Sept. 2020, so many of you will think this is old news. But, this article’s primary purpose is to convince you that it’s worth your time to get up to speed with the latest software.
I am reasonably tech-savvy, and I usually have the latest gadgets or iPhones. I’ve been an Apple fan for many years and remember phones going back to the iPhone 4. However, I recently noticed that I’ve been lax when learning about all the new features of the latest software.
Because I know IOS so well, I assume that any new features will “appear,” and I will use them almost intuitively. That does happen, to some extent, every time there’s a software upgrade.
The App Library is an example of that. I just noticed that it was there, and I hadn’t done anything or changed any settings. I found it very useful. It provided a much better and needed way of organizing my many apps than I had ever managed to achieve myself.
The other assumption I usually make is that many new features are behind the scenes. They have to do with security, privacy, or speed — things that I just take for granted when it comes to IOS. This is probably also true to some extent. But I don’t always consider that I may need to make some changes to my settings to take advantage of any new features.
An example of this is the new Precise Location setting in many apps. If you don’t want the app to know your exact location by coordinates, you can turn off Precise Location. Your general location will still be available. This is an added layer of privacy, never before available. Still, it requires you to change a selection in your settings for that application.
Now, 6 months after IOS 14 was first released, I stumbled across some of its top features. I was surprised by how much I’ve been missing. I’d like to share what I believe are the best features of IOS 14. I hope you discover something that will make you fall in love with your iPhone all over again.
1. Tap the back of your iPhone for a screenshot
If you’re like me, you have to look up how to take a screenshot every time you want to do it on your iPhone. Well, now, you can tap the back of your phone twice or three times. To set this up, go to Settings->Accessibility->Back Tap. Then choose Double Tap or Triple Tap and select Screenshot. Or, there are many other shortcuts you can set up for taps on the back of your phone.
2. Eye contact on Facetime
Do you want people to feel like you’re making excellent eye contact, even if you’re not? If so, enable the following setting on your phone: Settings->Facetime->Eye Contact. Then even if you’re not looking at the camera, the other party won’t notice. They’ll feel like you’re giving them your undivided attention.
3. Filter your Messages
You can separate your Messages from known and unknown senders. Go to Settings->Messages->Filter Unknown Senders. Your messages will now appear in one of three lists — All Messages, Known Senders, or Unknown Senders. This gives you an added layer of screening for messages you receive.
4. Pin your most used conversations in Messages
Open Messages and then click on either All Messages or Known Senders. Press on the 3 dots on the top and then Edit Pins. Now you’ll be able to press the yellow pin next to a contact you would like to pin to the top of the page. Once pinned, you can drag the circular photo or initial icons around to arrange them as you prefer. You can also drag the conversation up to the top to pin it. Or, you can drag it back down to unpin it.
5. Search for Emojis
You can now easily find Emojis by selecting the Emoji key on your keyboard and searching for what you want.
6. Set your default web browser
Would you rather not use Safari as your default browser? Scroll down to the bottom of Settings, where all your apps are listed. Select the browser you’d prefer to use and then click Set As Default.
7. Hide some of your App pages
Tap and hold your home screen. Now tap the dots at the bottom, and you can edit pages. Check the pages you want to display. Any unchecked pages will be hidden until you return and check them.
8. App Library
For me, one of the most useful features has been the App Library. I love to have everything organized instead of page after page of apps. From your home screen, swipe left until you get to the last page, where you’ll find your App Library. All the apps on your device are automatically categorized. Want to change where new apps are downloaded? Go to Settings->Home Screen and choose either Home Screen or App Library. When you download a new app, it will automatically be placed where you choose.
Widgets are small programs that enable shortcuts to features found inside your apps. They’re like mini versions of the app that give you access to some of the information it provides. They enable you to personalize your iPhone home page and add extra functionality. You can not only add widgets for Apple applications but for many third-party apps as well. And many apps enable you to create widgets such as Widgetize and Widgetsmith.
Stacks are another favorite feature of mine for the home screen. Tap and hold anywhere on the home screen. Tap the “+” button on the top left and add a Smart Stack. If you swipe left, you will see 3 different sizes to choose from. Once you’ve added the Smart Stack to your home screen, you can drag up to 10 widgets of the same size onto the stack to add them. Toggle on Smart Rotate to have the widgets rotate automatically. Or toggle Smart Rotate off if you’d prefer to order the apps yourself.
11. Hidden Photos
This new feature allows you to hide photos. Open or select the photo you want to hide, and then tap the Share button and tap Hide. Next, confirm that you want to hide the photo. Go to Albums. You will see three files listed under Utilities: Imports, Hidden and Recently Deleted. Your hidden photos can be found under Hidden — which isn’t really hidden, is it? Go to Settings->Photos and toggle off Hidden Album if you don’t want it to be visible under Album Utilities. Toggle it back on if you want to access your hidden photos.
12. Weather App
The Apple Weather App now tells you precisely how much rain or snow you can expect for the next hour. This can be very helpful if you’re going out or want to know when a storm will peak or pass through. This detailed 60-minute view only appears when it’s raining. It disappears when there is no active precipitation.
13. Wind Down Shortcuts
These shortcuts provide easy access to apps that will help you wind down before going to sleep. Set a sleep and wake-up time on the Alarm. Go to Clock->Alarm and tap Change. Then scroll down to Edit Sleep Schedule at the bottom. Here you can choose any number of Wind Down Shortcuts. Choose from things such as apps, music, meditation, podcasts, books, or journaling. To test it, go to the Control Panel, toggle on the Sleep Mode (bed icon), then go to your Lockscreen. The screen will be dark because you’re in Sleep Mode, and you will have easy access to your Wind Down Shortcuts.
14. Sound Recognition
This is a cool feature of IOS 14. Go to Settings->Accessibility->Sound Recognition. Toggle it on and then toggle on the sounds that you would like your device to listen for. Your phone (and Apple Watch) will notify you when it hears the selected sound. Choose sounds such as a Doorbell, Door Knock, or Baby Crying. This can be a handy feature, but your device will not respond to the “Hey Siri” command while it’s enabled.
15. Picture in Picture
This feature allows you to watch videos or make Facetime calls while doing other things. With compatible apps, you have to tap the Picture in Picture icon to activate this mode. You can also enable this feature by double-tapping on the video with 2 fingers. Or you can swipe upward from the bottom of your iPhone’s display. You can drag the picture around your screen or change its size by double-tapping or using a pinch gesture. You can opt for one of three sizes. You can also drag the picture off your screen to the right or left. You will continue to hear the audio of the video or call, but the picture will no longer be visible. To bring the picture back, tap the arrow on the right or left of your screen.
16. Built-in Translation
As I live in Spain, I get a lot of use out of the new Translate app added in IOS 14. It offers side-by-side translations in two languages. And it supports a total of 11 different languages. The app automatically goes into conversation mode when you turn your phone sideways. Press the microphone to speak. The app translates what you say into the other language. Press the microphone again to let the other person respond in their language. You will see the translation of their response. This is a fantastic app!
I hope you’ve been able to take away something new that you didn’t know before!