Apple’s iOS 14 has landed (and it was several hours later than iOS updates conventionally land – building the excitement, Apple?).
It offers a radically unique experience and it’s available to download on your iPhone now. Here’s everything to enjoy in this major update and how to get it. At the end of this post there is Apple’s complete changelog of what’s new.
It’s now available to download on compatible iPhones, with iPadOS 14 for suitable iPads. Compatibility for the phones reaches back as far as iPhone 6s, including iPhone SE first and current editions, plus the seventh-generation iPod touch.
For iPads, you’re good if you have any iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, and third-generation plus the new fourth-gen iPad Air coming in October, iPad mini 4 or newer and iPad from fifth generation onwards.
Go to the Settings app on the device and then choose General, then Software Update. Once you’ve clicked on Download and Install, it’ll do its business and you’ll be golden again before you know it.
Note that demand for this first version of iOS 14 will be extremely high so you may have to wait a little while before it shows up on your phone. It’s quite a big update so it’ll take time to download.
What’s in the update?
Oh, there’s a lot.
The first, noticeably substantial change is to the Home Screen, and is the biggest departure from how the iPhone looks since it first arrived in 2007.
The arrival of Widgets – smart app icons with changing information – on the home screen is a huge change. No longer are widgets confined to one place, you can choose the size, and place them anywhere.
If, like me, you have hundreds of apps and don’t use them every day, it’s easy to get lost. Now, there’s a thing called App Gallery, like a big old filing cabinet you shove your papers and receipts into and plan to get round to organizing properly one day but never do (or is that just me?).
App Gallery fixes this by keeping all your apps there and you simply slide them out to the earliest Home Screen pages if you want them more prominently displayed.
It’s a clever, intuitive system that pays dividends, and saves you ever having to face trying to organize that fearsome filing cabinet. You can even hide Home Screen pages entirely to make things more navigable.
Then there are Compact Designs. These make for more appealing ways to see a call arrive on the iPhone, or to invoke Siri.
Both processes formerly hijacked the whole screen but now Siri’s mystical swirling icon will only take up the bottom of the display, while calls will be announced at the top.
App Clips are something completely new to iOS. If you need something an app delivers but really don’t have time to download the whole app, register, set up an account, verify your credentials and so on, then App Clips can help.
They’ll work well with something like a parking app, say, when you’re next to the parking meter and short on time. Instead, you’ll scan the QR code, or tap the NFC tag, on the meter.
App Clips downloads just the bit of the app you need and since you log in through Apple, all those things like payment details are sorted, too. This could be amazing when more apps come on stream.
The Messages app is now more capable, so you can now pin conversations you want to find easily at the top of the list, new Memoji options and better layouts for replies.
Maps has been improved, as on the Apple Watch, by the addition of cycle routes, routing for electric vehicles, edited guides to find new restaurants and more.
Translate is designed to make it easy to translate conversations in real time across 11 modes. You can even do this offline, which should save data costs when you’re traveling.
The Weather app can show you how much it’s going to rain in the next hour as well as advising on severe weather events.
New Accessibility features include Back Tap which lets you configure shortcuts when you tap on the back of the iPhone in a particular way.
AirPods Pro get in on the action, too, thanks to extra features which appear on the earbuds when your iPhone has moved to iOS 14. These include Spatial Audio so you can have a surround-sound effect as you watch a movie, say, and seamless device switching. More details here.
Apple full changelog follows (it’s quite long, be warned).
iOS 14 updates the core experience on iPhone and includes significant app updates and other new features.
- Redesigned widgets can be placed directly on the Home screen
- Small, medium, and large widget sizes allow you to pick the amount of information to display
- Widget stacks make the most of your Home screen space and the Smart Stack uses on-device intelligence to show the right widget at the right time
- Widget gallery includes all available widgets to browse and choose from
- Redesigned Apple widgets for Weather, Clock, Calendar, News, Maps, Fitness, Photos, Reminders, Stocks, Music, TV, Tips, Notes, Shortcuts, Battery, Screen Time, Files, Podcasts and Siri Suggestions
- The App Library automatically organizes all your apps into categories
- The Suggestions category uses on-device intelligence to show apps you’re likely to be looking for based on factors like time of day or location
- The Recently Added category shows apps that were recently downloaded from the App Store as well as App Clips that were recently launched
- Ability to hide Home screen pages to get to the App Library even faster by tapping the dots at the bottom of the screen while in jiggle mode
- Incoming Phone and FaceTime calls appear as a banner at the top of the screen
- Siri has a compact design that allows you to refer to information onscreen and seamlessly launch into your next task
- Picture in Picture enables watching a video or taking a FaceTime call while you use another app
- Pinned conversations keep up to nine of your favorite message threads at the top of the list
- Mentions let you direct a message to an individual in a group conversation
- Inline replies let you reply to a specific message and see all related messages in their own view
- Group photos can be customized for a shared group look
- 11 new hairstyles and 19 new headgear styles to customize your Memoji
- New Memoji stickers to send a fist bump, hug or blush
- Six added age options
- Face covering options
- Cycling directions provide routes along cycle lanes, cycle paths and bike-friendly roads, taking into consideration elevation or how busy a street is
- Guides offer recommendations for places to eat, meet friends or explore, curated by a selection of trusted brands
- Electric vehicle routing helps you plan trips with supported electric vehicles and automatically adds charging stops along your route
- Congestion zones help you route around or through active zones in cities like London or Paris
- Speed cameras let you know when you’re approaching speed and red-light cameras along your route
- Refine Location enables highly accurate location and orientation when in urban areas with a poor GPS signal
- An App Clip is a small part of an app that developers can create that’s focused on a specific task, and is discoverable at the moment you need it
- Small by design, App Clips are usable in a few seconds
- Discover App Clips by tapping NFC tags or scanning QR codes, or from Messages, Maps and Safari
- Recently used App Clips show up in App Library’s Recently Added category, and you can download the full version of the app if you want to keep it handy
- The new Translate app is designed for conversations and can work completely offline so your conversations stay private
- A split-screen design in conversation mode has a single microphone button that automatically detects which of the selected languages is being spoken and transcribes the original and translated text on the correct sides of the screen
- Attention mode shows translations in larger text so you can capture someone’s attention
- Voice and text translations are supported for any combination of 11 languages
- A new compact design allows you to refer to information onscreen and seamlessly launch into your next task
- Expanded knowledge brings 20x more facts than three years ago
- Web answers help find answers to a broader set of questions using information from across the internet
- Audio messages can be sent with Siri on iOS and CarPlay
- Expanded language support for the new Siri voice and Siri translation
- One place where you can find everything: search for apps, contacts, files, quick information like weather and stocks, common knowledge questions about people or places, or even quickly start a web search
- Top Hit results show the most relevant information including apps, contacts, knowledge, points of interest and websites
- Quick Launcher allows you to launch an app or website by typing a few characters
- As-you-type search suggestions show more relevant results as soon as you start typing
- Web search suggestions to launch Safari and get the most relevant web results
- Start a search in apps like Mail, Messages and Files
- Suggested automations help you set up automations with just a tap
- A visual status at the top of the Home app gives you a summary of accessories that require your attention
- Dynamic suggestions of the most relevant accessories and scenes appear in Home controls in Control Centre
- Adaptive Lighting automatically adjusts the color of your smart light bulbs throughout the day to maximize comfort and productivity
- Face Recognition for video cameras and doorbells uses on-device intelligence to let you know who is there based on the people you’ve tagged in your Photos app and recent visitors you identify in the Home app
- Activity Zones for video cameras and doorbells captures video or sends you a notification only when motion is detected in areas you define
- A Privacy Report shows cross-site trackers that are being blocked by Intelligent Tracking Prevention
- Password monitoring securely screens your saved passwords for any that may have been involved in a data breach.
- Next-hour precipitation chart shows a minute-by-minute forecast of the intensity of rain or snow over the coming hour for the US.
- Severe weather information displays government-issued alerts about certain severe weather events including tornadoes, winter storms, flash floods and more, for the US, Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia
- Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking on AirPods Pro places sounds anywhere in space, creating an immersive surround sound experience
- Automatic device switching transfers audio from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac
- Battery notifications let you know if you need to charge your AirPods
- A recording indicator is displayed whenever an app has access to the microphone or camera
- Approximate location can now be shared with an app, rather than sharing your precise location
- Limited Photos library access gives you the option to share only selected photos with an app whenever an app asks for access
- App and web developers can now offer the option for you to upgrade your existing accounts to Sign in with Apple
- Back Tap is a quick way to trigger accessibility features by tapping on the back of your iPhone
- Headphone accommodations amplify soft sounds and adjust certain frequencies, customized for an individual’s hearing
- Sign language prominence in FaceTime detects when a participant is using sign language and makes that person prominent in a Group FaceTime call
- Sound Recognition uses on-device intelligence to detect and identify important sounds such as alarms and alerts you to them using notifications
- Voiceover Recognition uses on-device intelligence to recognize elements on your screen to improve Voiceover support for app and web experiences
- Image descriptions read complete-sentence descriptions of images and photos within apps and on the web
- Text recognition speaks the text identified within images and photos
- Screen Recognition automatically detects interface controls to aid in navigating apps
This release also includes other features and improvements.
- Key details about each app are displayed in a glanceable, scrollable view, including a way to see the games your friends are playing.
- Coming Soon gives you a sneak peek at upcoming Apple Arcade games and you can automatically download them as soon as they’re released
- See All Games is improved with sorting and filtering by release date, updates, category, controller support and more
- Achievements are browsable from within the Apple Arcade tab
- Continue Playing makes it easy to resume recently played games across devices
- Game Center dashboard highlights your profile, friends, achievements, leaderboards and more, all from within your game
- Location Anchors in ARKit 4 enables apps to place AR experiences at a specific geographic coordinate
- Extended face tracking support is extended to the new iPhone SE
- Video textures in RealityKit enable apps to apply video to any part of a scene or virtual object
- Improved shot-to-shot performance speeds up the time to first shot and makes taking photos even faster
- QuickTake video can now also be captured on iPhone XS and iPhone XR when in Photo mode
- Quick toggles in Video mode to change video resolution and frame rate from the Camera app
- Updated Night mode capture experience on iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro provides guidance to help you stay steady throughout the capture, as well as an option to cancel the shot mid-capture
- Exposure compensation control lets you lock an exposure value for an entire camera session
- Mirror front camera lets you capture selfies that match the front camera preview
- Improved QR code reading to scan codes, even if they are small or wrapped around objects
- New categories of supported apps for parking, EV charging and quick food-ordering
- Wallpaper options
- Share ETA and send audio messages with Siri
- Horizontal status bar support for cars with portrait screens
- Chinese and Japanese keyboard support gives users an additional option to search for points of interest
- Improved video quality with up to 1080p resolution on iPhone X and later
- New eye contact feature uses machine learning to subtly adjust the position of your eyes and face to make video calling more natural, even when you’re looking at the screen instead of the camera
- APFS encryption support for external drives
- Wind Down helps you create a pre-bedtime routine with apps and shortcuts, like listening to a relaxing playlist
- Custom sleep schedules help you meet your sleep goals with bedtime reminders and wake-up alarms
- Sleep mode minimizes distractions during Wind Down and Bedtime by turning on Do Not Disturb and simplifying your Lock screen
- Health Checklist helps you track and manage health and safety features in one place
- New Mobility category in the Health app, including metrics like walking speed, double support time, step length and walking asymmetry
Keyboard and International
- On-device dictation helps protect your privacy by performing all processing completely offline. Dictation in search uses server-based dictation in order to recognize terms you may be searching for from across the internet.
- Search within the Emoji keyboard using a word or phrase
- Keyboard displays AutoFill suggestions from Contacts for email addresses, phone numbers and more in apps
- New dictionaries for French German, Indonesian English, Japanese–Simplified Chinese and Polish–English
- Wubi input method for Simplified Chinese
- Auto-correction support for Irish Gaelic and Norwegian Nynorsk
- Redesigned Japanese Kana keyboard with easier input for numbers
- Mail supports email addresses using non‑Latin languages
- A new Listen Now tab for playing and discovering your favorite music, artists, playlists, and mixes
- Auto-play keeps the music playing when you reach the end of a song or playlist by finding similar songs to play
- Search now highlights music for your favorite genres and activities, and shows helpful suggestions as you type
- Library filtering helps you find artists, albums, playlists, and other items in your library even faster
- Enhanced actions menu provides easy access to locking, scanning, pinning, and deleting
- Top Hits in search shows your most relevant search results
- Pinned Notes list can be collapsed or expanded
- Shape recognition enables drawing perfect lines, arcs, and other shapes
- Enhanced scanning captures sharper scans and more precise auto-cropping
- Filter and sort your collection to locate and organize your photos and videos more easily
- Pinch and zoom to quickly find your photos and videos in more places, like Favorites and Shared Albums
- Photos and videos caption support
- Live Photos taken using iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 will auto play with improved stabilization in Years, Months and Days View
- Memories enhancements provide a more relevant selection of photos and videos and a larger music selection for Memory movies
- Redesigned image picker in apps uses the same smart search from the Photos app to help you easily find content to share
- Listen Now is smarter and includes your personal episode queue and new episodes picked for you
- Assign reminders to people you share lists with
- New reminders can be created from the lists screen without having to enter a specific list
- Smart suggestions let you add dates, times, and locations with a tap
- Personalized lists with emoji and newly added symbols
- Rearrange or hide smart lists
- Option to set your default email and web browser
- Starter Shortcuts let you get started with a built-in folder of shortcuts, tailored for you
- Shortcuts automations are suggested based on your usage patterns
- Folders let you organize your shortcuts and can be added as widgets to the Home screen
- New compact design for running shortcuts keeps you in context while you use another app
- New Automation triggers can run shortcuts based on receiving an email or message, your battery level, closing an app and more
- Wind Down Shortcuts provide a collection of relaxing shortcuts to help you get ready for a good night’s sleep
- Folders help organize your Voice Memos recordings
- Favorites lets you mark your best recordings and quickly access them later
- Smart Folders automatically group together Apple Watch recordings, recently deleted recordings, and recordings you marked as Favorites
- Enhance Recording reduces background noise and room reverberation
Some features may not be available in all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website: support.apple.com.