Technology

Apple’s iOS 14: Here’s all you need to know

Tim Cook at the September event 2020 from Apple Park.   | Photo Credit: Apple

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Apple CEO Tim Cook announced at the virtual “Time flies” event on Tuesday that the new software updates would launch on Wednesday. And now, the Cupertino-based company has started the roll out of its latest major software update for iPhone and iPad users.

Apple’s iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 are now available to download.

Redesigned home screen

For the first time in years, Apple has delivered a major update to the Home Screen. Users can now customise their home screen to show apps and widgets for work, entertainment, sports, and other areas of interest. 

Widgets are redesigned in iOS 14, giving users information right on the Home Screen pages.

Widgets are redesigned in iOS 14, giving users information right on the Home Screen pages.   | Photo Credit: Apple

 

The redesigned widgets can be added in different sizes on any home screen. Users can choose right widget based on time, location and activity such as news widget in the morning, calendar events during the day, and their Fitness summary in the evening.

At the end of the home screen pages is the App Library, where less frequently apps can be moved. The system auto organises user’s apps into a simple view and surfaces apps that may be helpful them at the right time.

Siri and incoming calls get a revamp

Apple has rolled out a new feature to incoming FaceTime, phone calls and Siri interactions that will allow a user to watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app. With the picture-in-picture support, the company is now offering its customers a feature that Android smartphone users had a long time back.

New ways to use Apps

Apple has launched an App Clip feature that is associated with a particular product or business. App Clips are clips of an app focussed on the part of the app that a user needs.

App Clips allow users to access part of an app the moment they need it.

App Clips allow users to access part of an app the moment they need it.   | Photo Credit: Apple

It appears at the bottom of the screen and eliminates the need to find the correct app and download it.

It loads within seconds and completes a specific task such as ordering takeout or filling up the gas. If an App Clip is availble for the required app, it can be accessed by scanning Apple-designed App Clip code, using NFC tags and QR codes, shared in messages or via Safari.

Updates for Messages

Users can now pin favourite chats to the top of their message list, make mentions on group threads and customise conversations by setting up photos or emoji. The new Memoji option has been upgraded with additional hairstyles, headwear, and face coverings.

New Guides in Maps

Apple Maps have been improved with new cycling directions, electric vehicle routing, and curated Guides. Cycling directions would take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and show whether there are stairs in the route.

It has also added electric vehicle routing with charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle’s charge and charger types. Besides, guides provide a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, find popular attractions, discover restaurants, and explore new recommendations from respected brands.

Privacy Features

In an attempt to increase privacy, Apple will allow its users to share their approximate location with app developers rather than their precise location when granting an app location access.

App Store product pages feature a summary of the privacy practices of each app before downloading it.

App Store product pages feature a summary of the privacy practices of each app before downloading it.   | Photo Credit: Apple

 

The company said that they can get even more transparency into an app’s use of the microphone and camera, albeit they failed to mention how.

Later this year, App Store product pages will show summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices, displayed in a simple, easy-to-read format. Also, all apps will be required to obtain user permission before tracking from early next year.

Something’s in store for AirPods users

The Cupertino-based tech giant has added spatial audio with dynamic head tracking feature aiming to bring a theatre-like experience to AirPods Pro. AirPods and AirPods Pro users now have the option of automatic device switching between iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Other Features

Apple has designed a translate App for of voice and text in 11 different languages. The on-device mode allows users to use the app offline for private voice and text translation.

An iPhone user can now unlock their car using digital version of car keys. Car keys can be easily shared using Messages, or disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and are available for compatible cars using near-field communication (NFC) technology.

To enhance privacy and safety of data, safari would offer a privacy report that will show which cross-site trackers have been blocked. It will also provide secure password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach, and built-in translation for entire webpages.

To keep a regular check on health, a health checklist has been added that includes Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, and fall detection. It also adds support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.

Apple has added a few accessibility features like Back Tap, which uses on-device intelligence to notify users when the sound of a fire alarm or doorbell is detected. Additionally, VoiceOver, the industry-leading screen reader for blind users. They can now automatically recognise what is displayed visually onscreen.

Accelerated Rollout

While iPhone users are happy to get the new update, the surprise release did not please the app developers. The unexpected release of iOS 14 had the developers scrambling as they were given only a day’s time to give the finishing touches to the builds of their apps and submit them to Apple for approval.

Many of them took to social media to rant about the same. Podcast player Overcast tweeted that its iOS 14 features are not ready yet. Developer Steve Troughton Smith said ‘This is a whole lot of unnecessary stress on developers in an otherwise stressful year.’ A few others warned users that their app might not work properly on the new OS.

Nintendo tweeted that its Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp game won’t function following the update and has asked users to wait before moving to iOS 14.

There are many other developers who’ve showed frustration on twitter about not having time to switch to the new OS.

Apple usually gives developers a few days before rolling out any major software update. This helps them evaluate, update and optimise their apps before submitting to Apple for review. Last year iOS 13 was made available for download on September 19 after the announcement on September 11.

iOS 14 is available as a free software update for iPhone 6s and later. However, the company said that some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 12:13:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/apples-ios-14-heres-all-you-need-to-know/article32630653.ece

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