iOS 14 is here, and it’s ready to bring big changes to your iPhone

The iOS 14 release date is here and it is for many phones around the world! The Apple September event revealed that the next iPhone OS update will be released a day later on September 16th, and that is today.

While the event revealed new products like the Apple Watch 6 and the iPad Air, the iPhone 12 was nowhere to be found. That fits with rumors that the next series of Apple phones won't be announced until a second event in October.

Whether or not the iPhone 12 line comes out, iOS 14 will be available very soon for most of the latest iPhone models in the past four years.

New features in iOS 14 include widgets on the home screen that break up the stagnant look of apps with tiles, the long-awaited picture-in-picture so you can watch videos in the corner of the screen while you perform other tasks, and digital buttons for Unlock your car with your iPhone.

We have the details of iOS 14 below as well as the compatibility list of which phones can be upgraded to the new software (note: everything including and after the iPhone 6S).

  • iPadOS 14 will also be available on September 16
  • watchOS 7, which received its first public beta this year, will also be released that day
  • And tvOS 14 is also available the day after the Apple event in September

In a nutshell

  • What is iOS 14? Apple's latest major iPhone update
  • When will iOS 14 be available? Right now
  • What does iOS 14 cost? Absolutely nothing. It's free.

IOS 14 release date

  • Developer Beta: June 22nd, the day of WWDC 2020
  • Public Beta: July 9th
  • Final Version: September 16 (this is currently)

iOS 14

(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 14 is currently available for download on iPhones around the world. If you can't get it, you should be able to do so within the next few hours as Apple gradually rolls out the next software.

Not every iPhone can get iOS 14, but the compatibility list hasn't changed from iOS 13: if you could download the previous update, you could get this one.

Is your iPhone getting iOS 14?

iOS 14

All of these iPhones get iOS 14 (Image credit: Apple)

Want the best news about iOS 14? If your iPhone is running iOS 13, it's time to update to the next major software update. If your phone is iPhone 6S (2015 or later) or later, you will get the update.

That means the devices listed below can download iOS 14 – and yes, we expect that to include the iPhone 12 lineup, but we're waiting for Apple to officially confirm this first:

iOS 14

What widgets look like in iOS 14 (Image credit: Apple)

IOS 14 introduces the right widgets to your iPhone. These are now available in a variety of sizes and seem far more attractive than they were in previous versions of iOS.

Apple even called these "data richer," and that makes sense when you see them above. The company learned from how widgets work on the Apple Watch and wanted to bring that functionality to the iPhone.

You can choose from different sizes – although these have not yet been confirmed – and widgets can now be used on your home screens as well as in your phone's Today view.

There is a special widget gallery that you can find these on your phone. Exactly which apps will receive widgets is unclear, but we've seen marketing collateral from Apple that includes your watches, Apple news, weather, calendar, and many more.

You can also stack the widgets so they don't take up as much space on your screen. According to 9to5MacThese are intelligently stacked according to factors like time of day and more.

iOS 14 app library and interface

iOS 14

This is what the App Library looks like in iOS 14 (Image credit: Apple)

A new feature called App Library is also at the bottom of your home screens in iOS 14.

It's a way to better organize your apps, and it essentially puts different services down without you having to do it manually. For example, all of your social apps will appear in one folder. One of the options shown on the WWDC live stream included all of your Apple Arcade games.

This should all work automatically and will only show up at the bottom of your home screen.

Also, you can now hide certain apps that you don't want on your home screens and they'll show up in the app library instead. Don't you want people to know that you have fast food apps on your phone? If you hide them, you can still find them in the app library later.

The user interface for receiving calls is changed. Instead of taking up the entire screen – a problem for many iOS users – the notification is now displayed at the top of the screen.

This means that you can easily answer a call, but you can ignore it and continue to use your phone as normal. to wait for the call to end without manually hanging up.

A new interface function does not use the screen at all. The new "Tap Back" option allows you to navigate through the phone menus by tapping the back of the handset. You can set it up for two or three taps. The shortcuts that can be set up include taking a screenshot or changing the volume.

There's also a new feature that lets you long press the Back button to go back to your original app. This should make it easier to navigate as you drive through a variety of apps.

Finally, you can now also change the default app your phone uses for email or browser. This took a long time, and iOS 14 now means you can switch to an alternative like Google Chrome or Gmail to be your default app.

iOS 14 picture-in-picture

iOS 14

An example of picture-in-picture in iOS 14 (Image credit: Apple)

Another new update included better picture-in-picture functionality. It should allow you to watch videos with other apps at the same time. Got a message on your phone while in the middle of a TV show? Now you can reply without stopping.

iOS 14 app clips

iOS 14

An example of a coffee app as an app clip (Image credit: Apple)

Ever needed an app but didn't want to download it? App Clips is a new feature that will be available in iOS 14. This feature allows you to use an app without having to download many large files.

Apple calls this "easy and fast," and you can access it from a map that appears at the bottom of the screen. You can then use certain functions of certain apps without having to download them from the App Store.

This is useful, for example, when you want to use an electric scooter that is unlocked with an app, but don't want to spend time downloading the service when you're on the go.

App clips can be viewed in a number of ways. For example, they can appear after someone references an app in your messages. Plus, Apple is also issuing NFC tags that you may see in your daily life.

Say there's one on an electric scooter – you can tap that NFC tag and use the app right away without downloading it. This is similar to the Android features we've seen before, but it's the first time iPhone users have had these types of features.

If you love a particular service, you can download the full app straight from the app clip without having to go to the app store.

iOS 14 Apple Pay

This isn't a confirmed feature yet, but the second version of the iOS 14 beta suggests that Apple Pay may work with QR codes soon too. This was discovered by 9to5Macwho mentioned this in the second beta code.

This allows you to trigger payments using the iPhone camera, which may make using the service smoother than ever. This feature isn't readily available in the latest beta, so this feature may not be included in the final version of the software either.

iOS 14 Siri

iOS 14

(Image credit: Apple)

Siri has been redesigned for iOS 14, and now your voice assistant's responses aren't taking up the entire display. Instead, they appear as small notifications at the top of your phone, just like regular notifications.

This seems to make using Siri on your iPhone a lot easier. We never really understood why Siri's functionality had to take up the entire screen, and that can mean you are more likely to use the voice assistant.

There are also a number of behind-the-scenes upgrades that Apple believes Siri is a far more useful voice assistant than it was before.

Siri also provides more accurate translations than before and can now also send audio messages for the first time.

iOS 14 news

iOS 14

A variety of Memoji designs that Apple showed off at WWDC 2020 (Image credit: Apple)

The Messages app receives a variety of updates, including the ability to pin conversations. Do you always want to have a specific person at the top of your messaging app? Now you can.

Other improvements include 20 new hair and headgear styles for Memoji that allow you to better customize your character. There is also face cover for those who want the 2020 look.

Groups are also getting improvements, including inline replies to specific messages, as well as @mentions that allow them to function more like Slack than you've ever wanted from your personal messaging app.

iOS 14 cards

iOS 14

(Image credit: Apple)

After the strange claim that Apple Maps is the best way to get around the world, there are a number of new enhancements that were unveiled during WWDC.

This includes guides, which are editorial content about a location. Think of it like a travel book – now you can get this information right from the Maps app.

Cyclists are happy! Maps gets improvements right for you, including the option to search for quieter streets or bike lanes. It should tell you if it's a steep incline too.

These bike features are currently only available for New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and some cities in China. However, Apple said these features will be available in other cities around the world as well.

If you have an electric car, Apple Maps now has specific routes for you too. The app shows you where the charging stations are on your journey.

In addition, Apple Maps will now call you to find out where traffic cameras are. This is something that alternative services had before, but it should make Apple Maps and an even more useful app for motorists.

iOS 14 CarPlay

iOS 14 CarPlay

(Image credit: Apple)

Have you always wanted to leave your car keys at home? If you have a compatible car, you can now get digital keys that you can use to unlock and turn on your car using your iPhone.

This currently applies specifically to the upcoming BMW 5 Series 2021, but will also apply to other car models in the future. Apple hasn't been able to confirm any models or manufacturers yet, but expects auto companies to be pleased.

iOS 14 data protection

Apple has always valued privacy very seriously, and iOS 14 takes it a step further by requiring all apps to get your permission before they can track you.

In addition, you can now share your approximate location with apps, not your exact location. This gives you more transparency about the use of your phone's microphone and camera through an app.

Safari is also expected to see some improvements, and the biggest one concerns the privacy with which you can see the ad trackers you are connected to while browsing the internet. Here you can read more about it.

Accessibility for iOS 14

These upgrades are minor for iOS 14, but there is a major one that can be helpful for hearing impaired users.

With the new update, you can set up your iPhone to listen for specific noises, such as a fire alarm or a siren. When the phone hears the sound, the user will be notified.

According to Apple, this is all done using on-device technology, so none of your data is sent over the internet to enable this feature.

iOS 14 smart home controls

iOS 14

(Image credit: Apple)

IOS 14 also gives you more control over your smart home. Advanced smart home controls are available in the Control Center.

The Home app also offers other automation suggestions so that you don't have to manually control devices that often anyway.

Do you want to upgrade to a new iPhone? We've rounded up the best deals we can find in every easy-to-use comparison table, including all of the current iPhone models available.

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