iOS 14 Update and Tips

By Snehal Shinh

Apple users have gone crazy over the new iOS update. With iOS 14, many have given their home screen a complete makeover to show off on various social media platforms such as TikTok or Twitter. With this new trend many are aware of the popular features of iOS 14, but there are some features or tricks that are not well known.

Starting with the more known features, the new update allows Apple users to change and rename their apps, which is much simpler than one would think. Using the shortcuts app, select ‘create a new shortcuts’. From here, press ‘add action’ and type ‘open app’. Once this has been done, select an app to change and from there it’s almost done. Press the three dots next to the ‘New Shortcut” and click on the ‘Add to Home Screen”. Change the name to whatever the desired name is and change the icon by pressing the icon box next to the text box. 

Though this feature was available before the new iOS update, the new feature of widgets have brought the aforementioned feature to popularity. With widgets, users can make certain apps or photos larger. Widgets can be found when swiping all the way to the left; here users can find widgets for apps like the calendar and weather. Widgets are a great addition to iOS as they allow users to view app features without having to actually open the app. Widgets are fairly easy to add to the home screen, all that needs to be done is  hold down to edit the home screen and click the plus sign on the top left corner. From there click on the add widget option and it’s done. The app ‘Widgetsmith’ on the app store allows users to create custom widgets, which is great for adding favorite photos to the home screen. The process is the same to add it to the home screen. When adding a new widget, choose Widgetsmith and select the size of the desired widget; once it has created the widget for the app, press on it to select the specific widget that’s been created (a selection box labeled ‘medium #1’,  ‘medium #2’, etc. should appear.)

In addition to widgets, Apple has provided a feature called widget stacks. Stacks are aid in keeping home screens less cluttered. Stacks can be created by simply dragging widgets on top of each over, with a max of ten widgets. In the widget gallery, on the leftmost screen, there is a feature called ‘smart stack’. Smart stack creates a stack of widgets and with the use of user intelligence it shows the right app at the right time. For example, smart stack will show users the calendar widget during the day to stay on track of events. 

As many iphone users may have noticed, phone calls and facetimes now appear as a banner rather than taking up the whole screen. To dismiss the call simply swipe up and to open options swipe down. An interesting feature to facetime is that while going onto other apps a box takes up a corner of the screen continuing the video. This same feature applies to streaming apps such as Twitch, Netflix, Disney +, etc; making multitasking much easier. To move these boxes out of the way swipe to move it offscreen. 

The new update has made some changes to the message app as well. Conversations can now be pinned, allowing for contacts or group chats to remain at the top of the conversation list. This makes certain conversations much easier to access and not lose. This feature, like widget stacks, has a limit of nine pinned conversations; the only difference between the two is that pinned conversations go across message apps on various devices. Online replies and mentions are both new features that serve the purpose of direct messaging within group chats. These features are especially great for larger group chats or replying to a message at a much later time. 

Many may have noticed when swiping the rightmost screen a new page can be seen known as the App Library. The App Library is a space that automatically organizes every app in a way that is most convenient and easy to navigate. This feature organizes apps by feature and includes a search bar to find apps that have been moved from the home screen to the App Library. Along with hiding apps in the App Library, users can even hide home screen pages by holding down to edit the home screen and pressing on the circles at the bottom of the screen. After doing this users can edit pages and select specific pages to not be seen.

 There are many miscellaneous features included with iOS 14. Facetime has a new feature that detects sign language and makes that individual prominent in a group call. Memojis have been given a new update; including new hair styles, head wear, face coverings, and age options. In addition to all these new customization features, memojis now have more expressive stickers. For photographers, the camera app has been given significant updates. Photos can now be taken up to 90% faster, meaning that photos can be taken up to four frames per second. Prioritizing speed, the app can now modify how photos are processed in a way to allow users to take photos much faster without missing anything. Exposure composition control can now be achieved; which locks the exposure composition value for photos and videos for the entirety while allowing for more specific focus to be locked elsewhere. The front facing camera can now be mirrored; to change to a mirrored camara simply find the feature in settings. 

Overall, the new iOS update has brought a lot to the table. With these new features Apple devices are much more customizable while remaining efficient and simple to use.