iOS 14: Release date & new features coming to iPhone


Apple just held its annual worldwide developers conference, WWDC2020, for the first time to a completely remote audience. The company released a host of new products and software updates, including a makeover to the iPhone’s new operating system iOS 14. New iOS 14 features include widgets finally coming to the home screen to break up that stagnant app tile look, picture-in-picture so you can watch videos in the screen corner while doing other tasks, and digital keys to unlock your car with an iPhone.


iOS 14 release date and beta schedule

  • Developer beta: June 22, the day of WWDC 2020
  • Public beta: Sometime in July, according to Apple
  • Final version: Likely in September, timed with the iPhone 12 launch

Apple didn't confirm the iOS 14 release date, but if previous years are anything to go by you won't be able to download the final software until September this year.


New features in iOS 14

iOS 14 home screen widgets

Proper widgets are debuting on your iPhone with iOS 14. These now come in a variety of sizes, and they look like they're far more attractive than what we've seen in previous versions of iOS.Apple even referred to these more "data-rich", and that makes sense when you see them above. The company says it has learned from the way widgets work on Apple Watch, and it wanted to bring that functionality across to iPhone. There's a specific Widget Gallery where you can find these on your phone. Exactly which apps will get widgets is unclear, but we've seen marketing materials from Apple that include your clocks, Apple News, Weather, Calendar and many more.


iOS 14 App Library

A new feature called the App Library also comes at the end of your home screens within iOS 14. 

This is a way of better organizing your apps, and it essentially files different services away without you manually having to do it. All your social apps, for example, would appear in one folder. One of the options shown on the WWDC live stream included all your Apple Arcade can now hide specific apps that you don't want on your home screens, and they'll appear in the App Library instead. Don't want people to know you've got fast food apps on your phone? Hide them and you'll still be able to find them in the App Library later.Lastly, the interface of the way you receive phone calls is set to change. Instead of taking up the whole screen - a pain point for many iOS users - the notification will now appear at the top of the screen.

iOS 14 App Clips

Have you ever needed an app but didn't want to download it? App Clips is a new functionality that will land in iOS 14, which will allow you to use an app without having to download lots of hefty files.

Apple is calling these "light and fast", and you access them via a card that pops up at the bottom of your screen. You'll then be able to use specific features of certain apps without having to download them from the App Store.

This would be useful, for example, if you're looking to use a electric scooter that unlocks with an app, but you don't want to spend time downloading the service when you're out and about.

App Clips can appear in a variety of ways. For example, they could appear after someone refers to an app within your Messages. Plus Apple is also issuing NFC tags that you may see in your day-to-day life.

Say there's one on an electric scooter – you'd be able to tap that NFC tag, and you'd be able to immediately use the app without having to download it. This is similar to Android features we've seen before, but it's the first time iPhone users will have these sort of features.

If you're loving a particular service, you'll then be able to download the full app directly from the App Clip without having to go to the App Store.

iOS 14 Siri

Siri has been redesigned for iOS 14, and now the reactions from your voice assistant won't take up the entirety of the display; instead, they'll appear as small notifications at the top of your phone, just as regular notifications appear.This looks like it'll make Siri far easier to use on your iPhone. We've never really understood why Siri's functionality had to take up the entirety of your screen, and it may mean you're more likely to use the voice assistant.


iOS 14 Messages

Customize your Memoji even more with new face and head coverings, hairstyles, and more. You won’t have to search for that friend or family group text anymore, just “pin” it at the top and you’ll be able to see it right away. You can even customize the group chat with a picture or emoji. If you use gmail or Firefox, you can now set your defaults to those third-party apps instead of having to visit them separately.

iOS 14 Maps

Apple has added new features for cyclists and drivers of electric cars. The cyclist map will give you details like how steep the road is, making it easier for you to plan your route and how long it will take to get to your destination. EV car drivers can see where the charging stations are, and 

your phone will give you estimates on when you have to stop based on the range of your battery. Maps will also provide interest guides, almost like having your own travel agent or tour guide.

Hidden Extras

Another interesting feature beta users have discovered is tapping the back of the phone to launch an app. You can link the action of a double or triple tap to activate an app or perform a function like lower the volume or take a photo. This new iOS system also lets you use your phone as a key for your car or home. Digital keys even allow you to share the link with another user so they can use or open your car door. Apple has also developed its own weather app that will alert you when there is severe weather in your location.

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