iOS 14 hands-on preview: Trying out the developers' beta of the new iPhone OS
Our new release is iOS 14.
Apple announced iOS 14 on Monday at WWDC.
I have the developer's beta and I've been trying it for a day, so let's talk.
All right, let me get this out of the way immediately.
So I have a beta version of the software here.
The public beta will be released in July and obviously the final version of IOS 14 We'll come out this fall.
That said, This video is not a review.
It's not a even like a first look.
It's really more of like a hands on early preview.
Also, if you have a developer's account, I recommend not putting this on your main phone because you know, bugs.
But that being said, I put it on and off.
IPhone 11 and I'm so excited to share.
So first of all, let's start with the home screen.
In one sense, nothing has changed.
But if you did wanna take things to the next level, all you got to do is swipe right to get to a page called the app library.
And basically this organizes all your apps into one place.
Now it's easy to compare this to the app drawer on Android, but Apple puts his own twist on things by grouping apps by different categories.
The groups look like large folders, but they don't act like folders.
In fact, you don't have to open them up to get your apps you just tap an app and go and if there are more than four apps in a group There are these little mini app clusters.
You tap on that to expand it.
Then tap on the app you want.
But let's go to the app library search bar where things get interesting.
And yes, that is a full alphabetical list of all the apps on your phone, you can simply scroll to the one you want or search it in the search bar.
On the whole between Siri search, your homepage, the app library and its options.
There are so many different ways to open the apps you want.
Thank you, Apple.
But let's talk about widgets.
in iOS 14 there are apps widgets based off those apps, and then a thing called app clips, which I promise we're gonna talk about in a minute.
in iOS 13 widgets are found in the today view to the left of your homescreen.
But in iOS 14 You can actually pin these widgets to your home screen.
You simply long press on the screen and on the top left side, tap the plus button.
Then the widget gallery pops up.
Obviously,since this is a developer version, it's just going to have Apple App widgets at this point.
That said you tap the app then swipe through a carousel widget sizes small, medium and large.
Tap the Add Widget button and move it to where you want on the screen.
Now these widgets are fixed to column width, so I can't put it in the middle of an app page but I can put it anywhere in app goes.
Having these widgets on the home screen and at different sizes really makes the phone look contemporary and.
Yeah, let's acknowledge the Windows Phone tile vibe here, which is not a bad thing.
Perhaps one of the coolest implementations on the homescreen is a thing called widget stacks.
You create one simply by dragging one widget on top of another that's the same size.
The widget stacks are neat because you simply swipe up or down to change which widget is showing Who would have thought in 2020 widgets would be so exciting.
I know, Android, Windows Phone.
I get it.
But I think it's a lazy comparison to think that Apple just copied Android.
And they certainly put their own spin on things with a feature called Smart stack, which is basically a stack of widgets based off which apps you use most frequently and at what time of day.
So, and your phone figures all this out for you, right.
So if you are always using your Maps app after work, then that widget would be at the top of the stack after work.
And if you always check the weather first thing in the morning, then the weather app would be on the top of the stack when you wake up.
And your phone is curating all this for you.
You'll find your smart stack at the top of the widget gallery.
You simply drag it to where you go just like a regular widget and lock it in.
You can now hide pages of apps.
So if you have a bunch of apps that you use infrequently, but you don't want to delete them from your phone, you could put them all in one page and hide that page from view.
You simply long press on the home screen and tap the home pages icon at the bottom.
And then, uncheck the pages you want to hide.
You still have access to all your apps via search, and Siri, and the app library.
So, in theory, you could hide all your apps on your iPhone and just fill your home screen up with widgets, which would be kinda neat.
I think I'm gonna have to try that.
So is iOS 14 a radical redesign of the homescreen?
It could be, but there are going to be many people who will never touch a widget or a smart stack and never be the wiser.
In one sense, nothing has changed and yet in another so much has.
And that brings me to a visual change for phone calls and Siri, instead of an incoming call taking up your entire screen before you answer it, it will now appear as a banner notification across the top.
Siri had a similar full screen problem in previous IOS, which has also been solved.
Now when you activate the assistant, it appears as an animated orb at the bottom of your phone.
Then, there's a new feature that's been on the iPad for a long time, that's finally made it's way over to the iPhone and that is picture-in-picture video or more like, picture-in-homescreen video, or picture-in-whatever app you're using video.
So, for example, facetime calls can now be minimized so you can access other parts of your phone.
And this is great because- There's so many times I'm in a Face Time conversation, and I don't wanna access something on my phone.
I feel weird when that screen goes blank and now the conversation just continues on as if nothing happened.
You can move the Face Time window pretty much anywhere you want, then for videos when you're watching one in full screen within an app You can swipe up and then tap on the home screen to minimize it.
You can resize the mini video window and move it around accordingly.
You can push it off to the side and the audio will keep playing without the picture.
Another nice add to IOS 14 is the translate app.
In the vertical position you can look up words, phrases, as well as search a dictionary for what those words and phrases mean.
When you rotate it into landscape, it enters conversation mode, allowing each speaker to have their translation on each side of the screen.
You could even have an app show a translation and full screen or speak it for you.
So now let's talk about the changes coming to the maps apps and specifically with cycling.
Obviously cycling directions have been in Google Maps for a while, but they're finally coming to the Maps app.
Apple gives you some really well thought out options.
You get elevations and warnings about streets or where you'll need to walk your bike.
You can also toggle on things to avoid like stairs, hills and busy streets.
Just like how when you route directions for your car it will show you gas stations on the way Venus stores.
The bike routes will actually show you like repair shops along your path as well as coffee shops.
I'm excited about trying the cycling feature out long term, but it's going to launch in just a handful of cities.
And now let's talk about a few changes coming to messages and if you have lots of group threads.
Apple makes things even more manageable.
You can now mention someone's name specifically in a thread, and only have that person be alerted.
You can also pin conversations to the top of the app, and this will sync across all your Apple devices.
On the whole iOS 14 has a ton of new features I want to talk about.
But I do want to hit a few small ones.
That do have their significance.
For example there's a new indicator light that lets you know when you're mic or camera is on.
An orange dot will appear at the top right side of the screen when your mic is being used by an app, even in the background.
And a green light means an app is using your camera.
It's really obvious and that is nice.
You can now search your emojis.
On the bottom left of the keyboard tap on the emoji icon and then enter Whatever you're looking for.
This is especially fun to see what emojis actually mean.
Can't be the only one right.
Also new in iOS 14.
There are a ton of new accessibility features which honestly could be their own video but I want to talk about two.
The first one is called back tap and accessibility in the touch Menu back tap allows you to trigger a shortcut by either double tapping or triple tapping the back of your phone.
For example, I can double tap to bring up the control panel and if I double tap again, it brings you the way so that is really nice as well.
There are over two dozen shortcuts triggered with back tap like taking a screenshot, triggering Siri and bringing up the macro.
[UNKNOWN] Another compelling accessibility features called sound recognition.
And what this does is it will give you a visual alert when it detects a sound so you can have it set for detecting a fire alarm or a smoke alarm.
You could have it set for detecting a cat or a dog.
When your phone detects a sound you selected it will notify you on screen with an audible Now let's talk me emoji and there are a lot of new customizations, especially when it comes to hair, and headwear.
Let's roll the headwear montage
That was great montage.
Also new and very telling of the times we live in now, you can actually add a facemask to your meme.
So yeah, that's gonna be a thing.
Now the last few things I want to talk about, I can't actually show you but they are very significant.
And one of them is called apps clips.
And this is yet another way to interact with apps, specifically ones you don't have on your phone, essentially app clips or mini apps.
With limited functionality determined by the apps developer.
Now the idea is you don't have to take time to download an entire app or have that fill up space on your phone.
And instead, you have this really fast experience to get to the functionality you need.
App clips are triggered by NFC or a QR code.
For example, Apple showed off a coffee shop where a customer is signing up for a rewards program.
And what they do is they tap their iPhone on the NFC terminal of the register.
And it brings up the app clip where that coffee shops app.
They also showed a use case at a parking meter where maybe you're gonna need to access the parking app but you don't wanna have the app on your phone.
This is a feature that, if widely adopted by developers could change how cluttered your phone gets, but also changed your relationship with Apps.
Then there's the ability to set a third party App as your system wide default for either your internet browser or mail app.
So in theory.
You could be able to set the Gmail app as your go to mail app.
So if someone sends you a link, you click on that and either reply to an email, it will automatically open that versus the iOS Mail app.
And the same with browser.
You could set that to be Firefox or Chrome.
Now, the little curious part here is the app developers have to flag their apps as being a browser.
Or a mail app for this to work.
I'm excited to see this in action once developers have enabled their apps.
So that's all I got.
Like I said, there's a lot more to iOS 14 and please check out CNET Dot com we have so many articles covering these features.
And every day we're learning more about this, but I wanna hear from you guys.
What features of IOS 14 are you most excited about?
And also, if you have questions, throw them in the comments.
I'll do my best to respond.
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