With WWDC 2020 coming up on June 22nd, Apple will finally introduce the first beta version of iOS 14 to developers. This year, 9to5Mac had access to an early iOS 14 build that revealed some of the new features for Apple’s mobile operating system this year.
Read on for our full breakdown of iOS 14 leaks and rumors.
iOS 14 feature roundup:
Tweaked home screen
iOS 14 is expected to keep most of the design aspects from previous versions of iOS without a major redesign, but that doesn’t mean it won’t have any interface refinements.
Based on leaked code obtained by 9to5Mac, we found evidence that iOS 14 will include a new home screen page that allows users to see all of their application icons in a list view. The list view will include different sorting options to show only apps with unread notifications, recently opened apps and smart suggestions from Siri based on your daily usage.
This particular feature might be similar to the current Apple Watch app list view, but with advanced sorting options available.
Apple is also working on home screen widgets, 9to5Mac learned. Instead of pinned widgets like on iPadOS 13, the new widgets will be able to be moved around, just like any app icon. However, this feature seemed to be in a very early stage of implementation, and it’s possible Apple scraps it before public release.
iOS 14 will feature a redesigned wallpaper settings panel, which includes default wallpapers separated by collections, such as “Classic Stripes”, “Earth & Moon”, and “Flowers.” Instead of showing all wallpapers together, users will be able to scroll through each collection to find a specific wallpaper more easily.
Developers should be able to provide wallpaper collections and integrate them right into iOS Settings with a new Wallpaper API available to third-party apps. Users will also have the option to define a smart dynamic wallpaper that will only be used on the home screen. These dynamic wallpapers include a flat color, gradients, and a dark version based on the current wallpaper.
We discovered that it will be possible to set a custom wallpaper on CarPlay for the first time. Apple is testing this feature with the same default wallpapers from iOS 13, and they also automatically switch between light and dark versions.
With iOS 14, users will be able to receive alerts if the iPhone detects sounds like fire alarms, sirens, doorbells, and more. The system will translate these alerts into haptics for people who have hearing loss.
The camera will detect hand gestures to reproduce some specific tasks across the system, and code also points to a new “Audio Accommodations” accessibility feature which “can improve audio tuning over AirPods or EarPods for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.”
Immersive augmented reality
Apple is developing a new app internally referred as “Gobi” that will allow users to get more information about what they’re seeing around them through augmented reality. iOS 14 code reveals that Apple is testing its new AR system with Apple Stores and Starbucks, so people would be able to use the iPhone or iPad camera to learn more about a product.
These new AR features are supposed to be released to developers through ARKit, so they can create their own interactions with real environments.
More HomeKit controls
HomeKit is about to get a big update with iOS 14. The system will feature “Night Shift to Light” which essentially includes the ability to change the light temperature of compatible lamps during the day automatically, much like Night Shift does on iPhone, iPad, and Mac displays.
Apple is also expected to expand its HomeKit Secure Video system, which will be able to identify specific people on camera such as family members, so you’ll receive custom notifications.
The CarKey API has been under development since iOS 13.4, but the feature is expected to be introduced with iOS 14. 9to5Mac found out that CarKey lets users unlock, lock, and start a car using an iPhone or Apple Watch.
The pairing process will be done through the Wallet app with NFC-compatible cars, as users only need to hold the device near the vehicle to use it as a key. iOS code hints that Car Keys can be shared with other people, such as family members. Drivers can invite them also through the Wallet app to have access to the key on their own Apple devices.
iOS 14 internal files also reveal that BMW may be the first car maker to support Apple’s CarKey later this year. We expect to learn more about Apple’s partners when CarKey is officially introduced.
Apple Maps enhancements
Apple Maps will show more details about Apple Stores and hardware repair availability in the future. With iOS 14, users will be able to check the availability of Genius Bar services at each Apple Store directly from Apple Maps. The app will tell users, for example, whether a specific store offers screen and battery repairs for the same day.
In addition to that, Apple Maps will highlight places that have seating for couples, discount for children, private rooms, and movie theaters with IMAX sessions.
Advanced iCloud Keychain
For iCloud users who don’t want to subscribe for a paid password manager like 1Password, 9to5Mac found evidence that Apple is testing some major changes to iCloud Keychain on iOS 14. Users will be warned about reused passwords, so they can avoid using the same password on multiple sites for security reasons.
There will be a new method to save two-factor authentication passwords, so users will be able to log in on compatible sites using only the iCloud Keychain, without SMS, email, or other less secure methods.
Apple is working on a new way to offer specific parts of third-party apps across the system without needing to have them installed. Internally called Clips, this new API would developers to provide interactive and dynamic content from their apps even if users haven’t installed them.
The Clips API is directly related to the QR Code reader, so users will be able to can scan a code linked to an app and then interact with it directly from a card that will appear on the screen.
Developers will need to specify which part of the app should be downloaded by iOS as an Over-The-Air package to read that content. Apple is internally testing the Clips API with apps like OpenTable, Yelp, DoorDash, Sony, and YouTube.
Safari will get built-in translator features with iOS 14, allowing users to translate web pages without any third-party app or service. This feature should be automatically activated for web pages in different languages, and translations will be processed locally by the Neural Engine.
The translation option is also being tested with other apps, such as the App Store. In this case, iOS would translate app descriptions and reviews from users if these were written in another language.
More Apple Pencil tools
Apple added some new Apple Pencil related features on iPadOS 13 last year, and 9to5Mac learned that iPadOS 14 might include full support for Apple Pencil input on websites, making it compatible not only to scroll and touch but also to draw and markup with all its capabilities in Safari and other browsers.
Keyboard brightness shortcut
Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Smart Keyboard designed for iPad lacks function keys, which can be a downside as users need to access the Settings app or Control Center to change screen brightness or keyboard backlighting.
We also found evidence in code that suggests the existence of new keyboard shortcuts to change the brightness of the iPad screen or even the backlight of the keyboard. We believe that the brightness function keys will be adjustable just as modifier keys, but with shortcut combinations.
Although this is already being tested internally with the iPadOS 13.5.5 beta, we believe these new shortcuts might be introduced with iPadOS 14.
‘Find My’ alerts
Apple revamped Find My app last year with iOS 13, which now allows users to track lost devices and also share their location with family and friends. With iOS 14, Find My is expected to get another massive update, as Apple is planning custom alerts, AR mode, and more.
The updated app will include a new option to receive an alert when someone doesn’t arrive at a specific location at a scheduled time of day. The new alert options will also include being notified when a contact leaves a location before a set time, which can be useful for monitoring children.
Apple’s Find My app in iOS 14 will also work with augmented reality, as users will be able to locate a friend or a lost device visually using augmented reality for more precise directions from close locations.
If an iPhone or iPad stops working, it’s often necessary to restore the device’s firmware using a Mac or PC. But Apple is now testing a new feature called “OS Recovery” that will let users restore an iOS device directly over-the-air as well as by connecting it via USB to another iPhone or iPad, similar to how Apple’s Migration Tool works.
It should work just like the macOS Internet Recovery, which has been available for years and allows users to reinstall the operating system over the internet without needing another computer nearby.
Ready for new hardware
More than just new features, iOS 14 should be ready to work with Apple’s newest products likely to be announced this year. Evidence of the second-generation iPhone SE and the new 2020 iPad Pro models were found by 9to5Mac in iOS 14 code long before these products were launched, and there is more to come.
iOS 14 code also includes new details about changes to the Apple TV. Prior versions of tvOS 13 code have revealed that Apple is working on a new Apple TV box, but iOS 14 also includes the tidbit that there might also be a new Siri TV Remote.
Apple is yet to introduce its AirTag item trackers, but iOS 14 code revealed that it will have a user-replaceable battery instead of an internal rechargeable battery. Users will be able to attach an AirTag to any object to track it through Apple’s Find My app.
This early build of iOS 14 also revealed that Apple is testing new iPhone models with a time-of-flight sensor, which is likely the same LiDAR Scanner as iPad Pro. There are only two new iPhones in the code that are listed with three rear cameras plus the LiDAR Scanner, presumably the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
9to5Mac offered the first look at Apple’s over-ear headphones thanks to a glyph found in iOS 14. Based on the two versions of the same glyph, we expect Apple to offer at least two color options for the so-called “AirPods Studio”, likely black and white.
iOS 14 features: Device compatibility
A recent report suggests that iOS 14 will be compatible with all iPhone models that currently support iOS 13, ranging from iPhone 6s to iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, iPadOS 14 might drop support for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, as these devices are powered by the A8 and A8X chips.
So these are the iOS devices that should be compatible with iOS 14:
- iPhone 6s and 6s Plus
- iPhone SE (1st generation)
- iPhone 7 and 7 Plus
- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
- iPhone X
- iPhone XR
- iPhone XS and XS Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2nd generation)
- iPod touch (7th generation)
And the iPadOS 14 compatibility list:
- iPad (5th generation)
- iPad (6th generation)
- iPad (7th generation)
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro
- 11-inch iPad Pro
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- 9.7-inch iPad Pro
iOS 14 wrap-up
Even without major design changes, iOS 14 is expected to bring several new features to enhance user experience. On the Home screen, iOS 14 features are likely to include widgets and a new list view.
Accessibility improvements are always welcome, and HomeKit enhancements will make the integration between devices even more seamless. The new AR system should prepare Apple’s operating system for its upcoming AR headset, and the CarKey API will certainly make life easier for those who own a car.
Keep in mind, however, that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple’s plans may have changed and some features might be delayed or scrapped at all. Check out 9to5Mac’s guide for more details on everything we know about iOS 14.
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