Whenever Apple Inc. is about to launch a new version of its products, the world waits eagerly. This time, iOS 14 is on the way and by looking at the features it offers, we just can’t wait more! 

It is a yearly phenomenon when Apple comes up with an upgrade to its iOS software. There are millions of devices that run on iOS – iPhones, iPad, and Macbooks who receive some brand new features along with a seamless and enhanced interface. 

So, it all happened on 22 June at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2020, when Apple announced that they are coming up with iOS 14. 

However, the actual date of launch still remains uncertain. But, we might have a sneak peek into the future and see what does iOS 14 holds for us. Along with that, let’s list out the compatible devices that can run iOS 14, in this article. 

So, let’s get started.

Best iOS 14 Features

Home Screen & Widgets 

Apple has introduced a redesigned home screen including support for widget option for the very first time. There are options of hiding entire pages of apps, new app library through which you can have a look at everything you have installed and a wide range of customizations. 

Widgets are more packed than ever which provides more functionality with a cool new look. All the default widgets like calendar, stocks, and weather have been redesigned with new ones like Apple News and Screen Time. 

Today Centre has landed a fresh design. You can drag any widget from Today View, place it alongside the app icons on home screen pages and organize it according to your needs. 

The widgets in Today View or in Home Screen pages are in – small, medium, and large sizes. Information provided with each widget varies according to its size, so you can try and test which combination suits the best! 

Smart Stack is something you should watch out for. It is a widget stack that is created in the Gallery view and automatically displays the best widget option according to your location, time, and activity. 

For example, in the morning, when you wake up, it will surface the Apple News widget for the latest news and Calendar widget during the day to remind you of important events. So, iOS automatically shows you the widget that is most relevant to you at that time.   

Now, the Siri Suggestion Widget. This widget uses on-device intelligence to show you the most appropriate actions you might take at a particular time based on your usage patterns. 

For example, if you always order coffee after lunch at 2 PM, you might see the food ordering widget on the screen at 2 PM. Tap on it to continue the tasks further. 

One more thing that can be of great significance is the option to hide the home screen. Yes, Apple gives you an option to keep your interface clean by hiding your home screen. 

To do that, just long-press the home screen so that app icons wiggle and then tap on the dots at the bottom representing all the home screen pages you have created. There, you can uncheck all the pages you don’t want visible. 

Apps will be visible through the App library when you hide the home page. 

App Library 

The App library shows you all the apps you have installed in a sorted and orderly manner so that you can navigate easily. 

It organizes all the apps into different categories – Social, Productivity, Entertainment, Knowledge, Health & Fitness, etc. There’s a dedicated folder provided for Apple arcade too. 

In every folder, you will find 3 apps in the category you use the most along with a mini-app icon. If you tap on the mini-app icon, the entire list of apps in that category opens up. 

On the top of App Library, there’s a “Suggestion” folder that recommends 4 apps based on the time, activity, and location. Also, the other “Recently Added” folder showcases all the recently added apps. 

Apple also gives you a “Search” option at the top of the App library from where you can search the specific app you want to use and dive right in. There’s an alphabetical list of all the apps you have installed. Tap the letter and all apps starting from that letter will show up. 

Messages & Calls

A number of amazing messaging features have been introduced with iOS 14. Group chats have been given a lot of improvements with new tools to customize group chats with images, animojis, and emojis. 

You can now easily differentiate between all the messages in a single feed, messages from an unknown sender, and messages from a known sender. Just tap on the “filters” option and you’ll get all the options. 

You can pin important chats in messages by swiping right. A total of 9 messages can be pinned so that they are easy to access later. If you pin a group message, you’ll see 3 recent participants circle around the pin when they send a message. 

Also, the option to reply to a certain message in the conversation is available. It is important in group chats because a number of messages pour in at a time and it gets tough to decipher which reply is meant for which message. 

Adding to the group chats, mention a specific person in your messages to direct a particular text to them. Just type their name to mention them. Also, you will get notified whenever someone mentions you even if you have muted the chat. 

Apple has also enhanced its emoji quotient. New hairstyles, headwear, more age options, face coverings, and new emoji stickers have been introduced to double the fun of chatting. 

As far as phone calls are concerned, iOS 14 has got you covered. Calls won’t cover the entire screen, rather just show as a small banner at the top of the screen. Swipe up to dismiss the banner and swipe down to see more options. 

Facetime & Third-Party Apps 

Facetime comes with a number of advanced and improved features to comply with the overall upgrades. 

The Picture in Picture for FacceTime, you can do a number of things like reading a book or watching a video while you are on a call. The call will be displayed in one corner of the display but you can easily move it to the spot where you find it fits the most. 

With Facetime, video quality including the video call quality has improved a lot. You can maintain eye contact on a video call even if you are looking on the screen and not on the camera. 

Plus, video quality has reached up to 1080p resolution on the supported devices. 

 And, with iOS 14, Apple lets you set a third-party mail or browser as default in place of their own apps. This is the first time in history that you can do anything like this. 

Great news for Chrome users! 

Maps

Although Maps have been kept the same overall, still a few noteworthy features have been introduced. It is particularly beneficial for two-wheelers and Electric vehicles. 

The new maps have more detailed roads, parks, buildings, marinas, airports, beaches, and more. These maps will be launched in countries like Canada, the UK, and Ireland later this year. 

 Cyclists can now get information and directions on bike lanes, paths, and bike-friendly roads. Maps have custom voice guidance as an aid to cycling and easy navigation through Apple watch. 

For those having Electric Vehicles, Maps will be a great buddy on the road for you. You will receive the directions for all the charging stops along the way and even account for charging time while calculating ETA. 

iOS 14 features “Guides” which recommends the best places to visit in a city. Guides will take you to discover new places to eat, shop, meet people, and explore new exciting places around. 

You can even save guides so that if you wish to return to the place later, you can. Also, new places keep on adding up so as to give you the latest recommendations every time.

Lastly, Maps help you out in spotting speed cameras and red-light cameras too. Whenever you are approaching any speed camera or red-light camera, you will be notified. 

Upgrades With Siri  

Siri has received some major reengineering. Now, upon activation, Siri won’t eat up the entire display, but it will only appear as a small animated logo at the bottom of the screen. Siri’s answers too will appear as a notification at the top of the screen. 

Now, Siri can answer questions on a broader range of topics and complex questions too will be answered rather than directing you to the web. 

Send audio messages with Siri on the iPhone and using CarPlay. Third-party messaging apps run with the help of SiriKit. 

While navigating through Apple Maps, you can even share ETA with contact with Siri and also ask her for cycling directions. 

Apple has added additional languages for Siri to understand and translate. Now, Siri can translate words, phrases, sentences, and more in 65+ language pairs including French, Spanish, German, Chinese, Japanese, and more. 

Car Key and CarPlay

With iOS 14, you have customizable wallpaper in CarPlay to help you choose the best CarPlay dashboard. 

Now, CarPlay also supports third-party parking, EV Charging, and quick food delivery apps. Siri can now send audio files and share ETA’s with friends and family within the CarPlay. 

Cars having portrait screens can now have the status bar at the bottom of the CarPlay screen allowing a wider app view with a neutral overall layout.

Car Key feature, based on NFC, lets you unlock your car just by tapping on the door handle. Also, you can start a vehicle when your iPhone is placed on a reader or wireless charger inside the car. 

You can add digital keys to the wallet app, share keys with your friends and family, and also restrict or revoke the key from someone you shared it with. 

Further down in Car Keys, there is a limit control on top speed, traction control, acceleration, and stereo volume on the “Restricted Driving” key. 

Plus, if your iPhone exhausts its battery, no need to worry, the Car Key continues to function because of the Power Reserve. You can access and start your vehicle for up to 5 hours even after your iPhone has completely blacked out.  

Safari Features and Health App  

Safari is faster than ever! Apple claims Safari now delivers JavaScript twice as fast as Chrome does in Android. 

A new password monitoring feature has been added to keep the passwords saved in iCloud Keychain letting you know whenever any of these passwords have been used in any kind of data breach. Safari automatically generates a new password and informs you whenever a breach is identified. 

The Website Privacy Report discloses all of the cross-site trackers installed on a given website as well as the tracker’s Safari blocks to give you more privacy online. 

There is an in-built translation feature that translates websites to English, Chinese, Spanish, German, French, Russia, Portuguese or Brazilian.

The Health app has gained a number of cool new features in the update. A new customizable sleep schedule to let you choose bedtime and wake-up time where Apple sending you reminders when it’s the time to sleep has been added. 

A Sleep Mode with Do not Disturb to avoid calls and notifications while you sleep can be found in the Control center. The Wind-down feature lets you create a more personalized routine – setting up actions like turning the lights off, launch a meditation app, and others that can aid your sleeping. 

Health App also supports new data types like health records, mobility, symptoms, and ECG along with a health checklist to manage health and safety features like Fall Detection, Noise Notifications, Emergency SOS settings, heart rate notification details, etc. 

The health app also accumulates sleep data generated by the sleep tracking feature included in watchOS 7.  

Airpods & Airpods Pro 

Because of all the software-enhancements, Apple has introduced, Airpods and Airpods Pro are better than ever. They can now automatically shift between iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch so as to provide a more streamlined audio experience. 

When you pair Airpods to iPhone, they will let you know when the battery is getting low. Apple has unveiled the “Optimized Battery Charging” which will elongate Airpods’ battery life. 

Another finest addition to the iOS 14 upgrade basket is the spatial audio feature for Airpods Pro. It generates a theatre-like surround sound to enrich your earbuds.   

Spatial audio creates an immersive sound by using the directional audio filters and adjustments in frequency. The best part is that, using gyroscope and accelerometer, to track your head movement and the position of iPhone to rework the sound range in order to keep it tailored towards your device even while you move your head. 

Lastly, Apple has created a Motion API for developers to access user acceleration, rotational rates for Airpods Pro, and orientation which are handy for fitness apps. 

Compatible Devices & Release Date 

iOS 14 is compatible with all of the same devices as iOS 13 did. Here is a list of compatible devices that can run iOS 14 – 

  • Phone 11 Pro
  • iPhone SE (2020)
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (2016)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

As far as the release date is concerned, based on past patterns, September seems like a sweet spot. As most launches have been done in September, iOS 14 can also be expected around that time of the year alongside iPhones (if iPhones are planned to be launched). 

But before the official release of iOS 14, Apple is going to provide public beta testers with a public beta. And most probably, they are ready to be unveiled in July.