Apple releases a new version of its operating system every summer and provides it to its users simultaneously with a new iPhone. This year, the trend is a bit different, since the new iOS does not have considerable changes and there is no news about a new iPhone model with exciting features. Instead, the new iOS was released in a way that surprised both users and developers.
Apple showed that surprise is not always good, because the result is quite obvious when iOS 14 is released. In recent years, I used to get the new iOS update at 9:30 pm on the day Apple determines, but this time I got it at 1:30 am. Release time aside, the overall feel of iOS 14 is not the same as other updates from recent years.
iOS 14 has two distinct features, and it is clear that Apple intended to make up for past mistakes. Therefore, I divide this review into two main sections: “User Experience Improvements” and “Privacy Improvements”. Note, however, that many apps have not yet been updated by their developers and therefore do not support the new features of iOS 14.
iOS 14, while familiar to older users, is new. You can now bring widgets that were previously only available by swiping to the last page on the left side of the home screen to the home screen and between apps. At the time of writing, popular apps such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Twitter, Spotify and Google Maps do not support new widgets.
As a result, your choices are limited to the Apple apps that most people are not using them, because many of them are Apple-specific services that few can afford in Iran. The other features like Apple TV Plus, News Plus and even Apple Music might be useless to many users.
More importantly, these widgets are not interactive. If you think that the music widget should have a button to play music or go to the next or previous songs, you are right. This is exactly what we expect from a widget. For Apple, however, this is not the case and there is no reason why you should want to access some of the facilities of the app without opening it. For this reason, when you place the music widget on the home screen for easier access to your music, you realize that your definition of a widget differs from what Apple had in mind.
Of course, it is not clear that third-party applications also have non-interactive widgets. Personally, I am very much looking forward to updating the Spotify app to find out the depth of the story. Hopefully this is Apple’s only choice for their apps and developers will be able to add interactive widgets to their app. Another issue that gets a little on the nerves regarding widgets is their resizing.
By default, Apple allows you to add several different sizes of a so-called widget to your home screen. At the same time, you cannot change your mind later and change the dimensions of the added widget. To do this, you need to delete the desired widget and then select another size from the widgets menu and add it to the home screen.
You can also put widgets of the same size on each other and create stacks. This enables you to switch between widgets with just one swipe, and you don’t have to clutter up your homepage with lots of colorful widgets. In general, the widgets have not been implemented as I expected, and it is not possible to say whether the widgets are just enlarged icons or not until the third-party applications are updated.
The next topic I will address is something called the App Library, which has just made its way to iOS 14. This feature is located on the opposite side of the Widgets panel, on the last page of the right side. The role of the library app is to categorize applications. The operating system automatically places programs into specific categories. Not bad to know, you cannot rename them, nor can you put apps in other categories.
In other words, the categories that are shown to you from the beginning are the categories that you have to deal with. The interesting thing here is that all the apps I have downloaded from the Iranian App Store fall into an unspecified, nameless category. Of course, this is justifiable, because iOS 14 categorizes apps based on the categories within the App Store, and the lack of Iranian apps within the App Store is the main reason for the problem in categorization.
Apart from all these issues, the app library is a bit dumb and you cannot trust your instincts which program falls into which category. For example, the Pinterest app, which could be both a social media category and a creativity category, is in the “Other” category. I know I use the word “categorization” a lot, but there is no way out.
Now, for whatever reason, if you cannot find the program you are looking for, you can run the program directly by searching for it in the app library or Spotlight, which is activated by swiping down in the app library and home page, respectively. The question may be, what is the use of a library app that did not do its job properly? The differences are where you can hide pages that you do not use and only have one home page. Combining this feature with widgets in the future can create a more private user interface; that is, a layout similar to what I intended for my phone’s home screen.
These two were major features of iOS 14. I will now turn to the minor features, which I think are more practical and, of course, more obvious than the widgets and the app library. One of these features, which is a bit embarrassing to mention, is the display of the call as a notification banner at the top of the screen. After 13 years, Apple has finally come to the conclusion that calls do not have to be displayed in full screen, and if the user does not want to answer someone and at the same time does not reject the call, he does not have to stare at the call.
The next feature that rival platforms and even iPads have been equipped with for some time is the image-to-image capability. With this feature, you can turn your video into a floating window and, in addition to watching the video, do the rest of your work. Of course, this feature is only enabled within Facebook and Apple TV Plus, and other developers have not yet updated their apps to support this feature.
The interesting thing that became a question for me from the beginning was the compatibility of the YouTube app with the image-in-image capability. As you know, you can only access YouTube content in the background if you have purchased a premium YouTube sharing service. As you might have guessed, this feature is disabled for regular YouTube users (me and you) and there is no way to enable image-to-image for videos posted on this platform. For some reasons the operating system does not allow me to take screenshots while playing video content, which is why the black rectangle is shown here.
Let me tell you a little about Siri. Siri as Apple’s voice assistant is one of the first voice assistants in the mobile world to be introduced with the iPhone 4S. Siri has undergone many changes over the years, and Apple has always tried to make it a better assistant. Of course, Siri’s lack of support for Persian has limited its use among Iranian users to simple questions.
With all that said, Siri knows 20 times more information than it did three years ago, and by saying the word “Hey Siri” your entire screen is not occupied and Siri appears like a funny colored black hole at the bottom of the screen. More importantly, responses are displayed like notifications under a banner at the top of the screen.
App Translate has also been added to iOS 14 as an alternative to translator apps, with which you can translate a variety of sentences between several living languages of the world, among which Persian is not seen. The feature is also available offline, but Apple says it may not be as accurate as when the phone is online. In any case, you can download the languages you need and use its capabilities offline. It should be noted that Safari can now translate pages into the phone’s default language.
In my opinion, Apple is ahead of its competitors in terms of privacy and is increasing this gap every year. A new change this year is the addition of selective access to photos. For example, if an app asks you for permission to access the gallery, you can restrict the app to accessing photos of your choice. Under these circumstances, the program cannot see other photos and you are comfortable with your security and privacy.
Another issue is the microphone and camera activation indicators, which are indicated by orange and green dots at the top right of the screen, respectively. These dots play the role of the LED next to the laptop webcam that tells you whether it is active or not. You can also see the app that has recently accessed the microphone or camera in Notification Center after you’re done with the app.
The “Sign-in With Apple” feature has also received updates. If you have this feature enabled and supported by third-party applications, you can increase your security by changing your account to this feature. The same privacy changes can be seen in Safari. Safari can provide you with a report of all the promotional trackers and at the same time blocks the ones it can.
Except for the above two, no other tangible features have been added to iOS 14. Of course, battery consumption is higher than before. The speed of the phone was already high and as a result you do not feel the change. As I mentioned in the video, this version of the operating system has many tiny features that it is not possible to compile all of them in one article or one video. For this reason, in the coming days, I will tell you more about its minor and major features.
When iOS 13 came out with so many bugs and issues, I guessed that Apple would be launching its next operating system to fix the current generation issues without the flagship features. It was also speculated that iPhones that supported iOS 13 would receive the new version. Because before that, with the release of iOS 11, which was full of minor and major bugs, it had already shown that it would release the next version to fix users’ problems without any new features.
So it is safe to say that iOS 14 was essentially the same iOS 12 released for iOS 11 with the sole purpose of improving iOS 13 issues. At the time of writing, many of the programs have not been updated, so it is not possible to talk about many shortcomings. Especially widgets that are not yet clear whether they are going to be big icons or Apple has another dream for them.
As a result, if you have an iPhone 6S or even a first-generation or newer SE, you can upgrade your phone to iOS 14 and enjoy its new look. But do not expect fundamental changes.