Apple today seeded the second betas of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 to developers for testing purposes. The new betas come two weeks after Apple seeded the first beta following the WWDC 2020 keynote.
Beta builds are available to developers over the air on the devices with the proper configuration installed.
The new OS offers a newly customizable Home Screen with redesigned widgets, a new App Clips feature, updates to Messages, and much more. iOS 14 will support all iOS 13-compatible devices.
Home Screen Widgets
The new widgets offer improved information at a glance and can be pinned in different sizes on any Home Screen page. A Smart Stack feature for widgets uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on time, location, and activity. Widgets can be customized for work, travel, sports, entertainment, and other areas of interest.
A new App Library feature automatically organizes all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that may be helpful at the moment. Users can choose how many Home Screen pages to display and easily hide pages for fast access to the App Library.
Compact Phone, FaceTime, Siri Interactions
Incoming phone and FaceTime calls, as well as Siri interactions no longer take up the entire screen, as a new compact design enables users to stay in the app they are using. Picture-in-picture support allows iPhone users to watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.
The App Clip experience loads a small portion of an app when it is needed. App Clips are associated with a specific product or business and can be loaded in seconds to complete a specific task, such as buying a cup of coffee or paying a parking meter. Appl Clips can be discovered and accessed by scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code, or through NFC tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or from Safari
Messages improvements include the ability to pin conversations to the top of your messages list, keep up with group threads through mentions and inline replies, and customize conversations by setting a group photo using an image or emoji.
New Memoji options include more inclusive and diverse Memoji with new hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.
Maps offers new features to make it easier to navigate and explore with new cycling directions, electric vehicle routing, and curated Guides.
Cycling directions take into account route elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route. Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types.
Guides provide a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, created by a selection of trusted resources. Guides are a great way to discover hot new restaurants, find popular attractions, and explore new recommendations from respected brands, including AllTrails, Complex, The Infatuation, Time Out Group, and The Washington Post, among others.
Enhanced Privacy Features
All apps will now be required to obtain user permission before tracking. Later on, App Store product pages will feature summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices. Users will also be able to upgrade existing accounts to Sign in with Apple, choose to only share an approximate location with app developers and an indicator will tell users when an app is using their device’s mic and camera.
Additional iOS 14 Features
- Translate is designed to be the best and easiest app for translating conversations, offering quick and natural translation of voice and text among 11 different languages. On-device mode allows users to experience the features of the app offline for private voice and text translation.
- Siri expands its knowledge, helps find answers from across the internet, and can now send audio messages. Keyboard dictation runs on a device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.
- The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the color temperature throughout the day, and with on-device Face Recognition, compatible video doorbells and cameras can identify friends and family. The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information about a user’s home accessories is end-to-end encrypted.
- AirPods gain the ability to seamlessly switch between Apple devices with automatic device switching. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theater-like experience to AirPods Pro. By applying directional audio filters, and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience.
- Digital car keys give users a secure way to use iPhone or Apple Watch to unlock and start their car. Digital car keys can be easily shared using Messages, or disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and are available starting this year through NFC. Apple also unveiled the next generation of digital car keys based on Ultra-Wideband technology for spatial awareness delivered through the U1 chip, which will allow users to unlock future car models without removing their iPhone from their pocket or bag, and will become available next year.
- Find My will add support for finding third-party products and accessories with the new Find My network accessory program. This will allow customers to use the Find My app to locate other important items in their lives, in addition to their Apple devices. User privacy remains central to the Find My network with end-to-end encryption built-in. A draft specification is available for accessory makers and product manufacturers starting today.
- Safari offers a Privacy Report so users can easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, 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.
- Health has all-new experiences to manage sleep, better understand audio levels that may affect hearing health, and a new Health Checklist — a centralized place to manage health and safety features — includes Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, Fall Detection, and more.10 Health also adds support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
- The Weather app and widget keep users up to date on severe weather events and a new next-hour precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.
- Accessibility features include Headphone Accommodations, which amplifies soft sounds and tunes audio to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer, and sign language detection in Group FaceTime, which makes the person signing more prominent in a video call. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading screen reader for the blind community, now automatically recognizes what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.
As usual, MacTrast and Apple both warn users to not install any betas on your daily driver iPhone or iPad, instead only install betas on a device set aside for testing purposes.