7 Big Updates In Apple's iOS 14

The company uses its virtual WWDC keynote to unveil forthcoming updates around apps, Siri and the iPhone homescreen.

What's Next In iOS

Apple showed off the biggest updates coming to its iPhone operating system with the forthcoming debut of iOS 14. Significant changes are coming to privacy, Messages and Siri, while Apple unveiled a brand-new feature--App Clips--for quickly accessing app functionality from non-downloaded apps. Apple executives shared the details Monday during the company's prerecorded keynote for the company's online-only Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2020. The iOS 14 updates are coming in the fall, Apple said.

What follows are seven big updates in Apple's iOS 14.

App Clips

One brand-new feature coming to the iPhone with iOS 14 is the ability to quickly access partial app functionality on the spot--even for apps that haven't been downloaded. The new feature, App Clips, can be used to fill a parking meter or buy a coffee, for instance, Apple said. The App Clip can be pulled up on the fly by scanning an Apple-designed App Clip code or QR code, or through an NFC tag. No information should need to be added thanks to using the technology with Apple Pay for the credit card payment and sign in with Apple for the authentication, Apple said.


A number of user privacy enhancements are coming in iOS 14, Apple said. One update is the addition of a recording indicator (pictured), which will appear in the status bar when an app is using the phone's camera or microphone. For location services, iOS 14 will introduce the option to only provide apps with your approximate location--rather than the precise location. Additionally, Apple will require all iOS apps to get permission from users before tracking--while the App Store will include self-reported privacy practices for each app starting later this year.


Two big new updates are coming to the Messages app in iOS 14. To help ensure that important texting conversations don't get buried, the forthcoming Messages app will allow users to pin a conversation to the top of the list. For group texts, meanwhile, Messages will introduce inline replies so that users can reply to a specific message within the string of texts. Users will also be able to view specific messages as their own thread, and Messages will add a mentions capability so that users can notify specific members in the group.


Apple said that its Siri voice-controlled assistant will see improvements in iOS 14. One notable change is around Siri's visual interface, which to date has taken up the full screen when Siri is triggered. In iOS 14, Siri will indicate it is listening with a graphic at the bottom of the screen on top of whatever app you're using (pictured). Meanwhile, new features coming to Siri include the ability to have the assistant record an audio message and then send it out.


Apple says it's introducing a new app, Translate, to provide improved translation of conversations in different languages. Users will be able to translate between 11 languages, and the app will be able to automatically detect what language is being spoken. Translate will also be available in offline mode, using on-device capabilities to enable voice and text translation that is completely private, Apple said.

App Library

Apple is taking steps to simplify its homescreen in iOS 14, recognizing that many iPhone homescreens have gotten overwhelmed with a multitude of apps. The forthcoming App Library feature will create a new space at the end of the homescreen pages that automatically organizes apps into curated categories. Some of the categories provided will include app suggestions (which are likely to be needed by the user) and recently added apps. To make it faster to get to the App Library page, users will also be able to hide app pages, Apple said.


The iPhone's Widgets feature is getting a big upgrade in iOS 14, as well, with the aim of making Widgets more useful and relevant. For starters, users will be able to choose from among several different sizes for Widgets, enabling users to select how much data they want to be displayed. Users will also be able to drag Widgets onto the iPhone homescreen in iOS 14, creating a greater level of homescreen customization, Apple said.