Apple has released iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, the newest operating system updates designed for the iPhone and iPad. As with all of Apple’s software updates, iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 can be downloaded for free. iOS 14 is available on the iPhone 6s and later, while iPadOS 14 is available on the iPad Air 2 and later.
The updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. It may take a few minutes for the updates to propagate to everyone due to high demand.
While the update downloads, read on to see a description of all the new features found in iOS 14 and watch this “Getting Started” video on iOS 14 for some tips:
Getting Started With iOS 14 Video
There are dozens of major new features and changes in the iOS 14 update, but the most notable change may be the redesigned Home Screen that adds support for widgets for the first time. Widgets are available in three sizes and can be customized through the new widgets gallery.
The App Library, a new feature, shows you all of the apps that are installed on your iPhone in one place, both in an icon view organized into smart categories and in an alphabetical list. Since all of the apps are listed in the App Library, app icons and Home Screen pages can be hidden for a cleaner look.
Compact User Interface
Apple has added new compact user interface elements. Incoming phone calls and FaceTime calls no longer take over the entire display of the iPhone (and iPad), and Siri requests have been minimized so Siri no longer takes over the display when activated.
Picture in Picture
A Picture in Picture mode lets you watch videos or use FaceTime while accessing other apps, so you no longer need to pause what you’re doing on your iPhone or iPad during chats.
A feature called App Clips lets you take advantage of some app elements without needing to go through the hassle of downloading an entire app, which is useful for quick actions like purchasing a coffee or making a restaurant reservation. App Clips can be scanned from QR codes, NFC tags, or Apple-designed App Clip Codes, and they can be shared in Messages or accessed from Safari.
The Messages app lets you pin your most important conversations to the top of the display, with circular icons for your favorite people or groups. An @mentions feature makes sure you never miss an important conversation in a group chat, and inline replies keep multi-person conversations better organized. Apple added new Memoji options, and group chats can be customized with new icons featuring photos, emoji, or Memoji.
In the Health app, there’s support for the Sleep Tracking feature on the Apple Watch, along with the Bedtime and Wind Down options that are meant to help you get a better night’s sleep. A Health checklist gives you a way to make sure all of your health settings are accurate, and the Weather app offers minute-by-minute precipitation reports and warnings of severe weather events.
The Maps app gains cycling directions that incorporate metrics like elevation, how busy a street is, and stairs, and for those who own electric vehicles, there are options to plan routes with EV charging stops. The Collections feature is now Guides, and Apple is offering curated guides created in partnership with trusted companies to provide you with suggestions on places to visit and restaurants to eat at when you visit a new city.
A dedicated Translate app provides text and voice translations to and from 11 languages, with spoken text options and a conversation mode that helps you chat with someone who speaks another language. Safari has a built-in translator in iOS 14 too.
Apple always adds tons of new privacy features with each iOS update, and iOS 14 is no exception. You can now provide apps with approximate locations instead of exact locations, and there’s an option to limit the number of photos that an app can see.
Safari has a Privacy Report that lets you know which websites have trackers, and how often trackers are being blocked by the built-in Intelligent Tracking Prevention feature. Icons at the top of the iPhone let you know when an app accesses the camera or the microphone, so no apps can use these in the background without your knowledge.
Apple Watch Family Setup
Alongside the watchOS 7 update, iOS 14 supports a new Family Setup feature that lets iPhone owners manage and set up Apple Watches for children or older family members who don’t own iPhones. Parents control contacts and downloaded apps, there’s a Schooltime mode to limit Apple Watch features when necessary, and location tracking with Find My is available.
With Family Setup, kids can call and text their parents, talk to Siri, stream music, download apps, use the new Memoji app to create Memoji, and use Apple Pay with funds provided by parents. Family Sharing also includes Activity tracking options that provide Move minutes instead of active calories burned, and activity tracking has been optimized for children. For older adults, the feature supports managing health options like fall detection.
App Privacy Nutrition Label
App Store apps are getting a new privacy “nutrition label” that will let you know what kind of data will be collected before you download an app, and next year, Apple plans to require apps to ask you before tracking your device usage across different apps and websites.
Change Default Browser and Mail
Third-party browser and mail apps can be set as the default, and there are new capabilities for the AirPods. AirPods and AirPods Pro can automatically switch between iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch as you swap between devices, and the AirPods Pro are getting a new Spatial Audio feature that offers movie theater-like surround sound by taking advantage of the built-in gyroscope and accelerometer.
Later this year, the Fitness app on the iPhone will include access to the new Fitness+ service that lets Apple Watch owners access guided workouts on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. Videos are viewable on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, with the Apple Watch tracking progress and fitness achievements. Workouts span multiple categories, including yoga, dance, core, HIIT, rowing, strength, and more, with the app providing customized workout recommendations and customizable parameters like workout length, trainer, and music.
Many of these features are shared between iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, but the iPad lacks App Library and the Home Screen changes. It does get a few exclusive features of its own, such as expanded Apple Pencil support. The Apple Pencil can now be used in any text field, with the handwritten text converted automatically to typed text, a feature that Apple calls Scribble.
In the Notes app, you can handwrite text and have it converted into typed text, and neat features like Smart Selection let you select your written text and then copy it in typed text format into another app. There’s a Shape Recognition feature that lets you draw a rough shape like a star that’s then converted into a perfect geometric shape to make your notes look neater than ever, and there are new features for detecting handwritten addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and more.
Full iOS 14 Release Notes
Apple’s full release notes for iOS 14 are below:
iOS 14 updates the core experience on iPhone, includes significant app updates, and other new features.
– Redesigned widgets can be placed right on the Home Screen
– Small, medium and large widget sizes allow you to pick the amount of information to display
– Widget stacks make the most of your Home Screen space and the Smart Stack uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget at the right time
– Widget gallery includes all available widgets to browse and choose from
– Redesigned Apple widgets for Weather, Clock, Calendar, News, Maps, Fitness, Photos, Reminders, Stocks, Music, TV, Tips, Notes, Shortcuts, Battery, Screen Time, Files, Podcasts, and Siri Suggestions
– The App Library automatically organizes all of your apps into categories
– The Suggestions category uses on-device intelligence to show apps you’re likely to be looking for based on factors like time of day or location
– The Recently Added category shows apps that were recently downloaded from the App Store, as well as App Clips that were recently launched
Ability to hide Home Screen pages to get to the App Library even faster by tapping on the dots at the bottom of the screen while in jiggle mode
– Incoming Phone and FaceTime calls appear as a banner at the top of the screen
– Siri has a compact design that allows you to refer to information onscreen and seamlessly launch into your next task
– Picture in Picture enables watching a video or taking a FaceTime call while you use another app
– Pinned conversations keep up to nine of your favorite message threads at the top of the list
– Mentions let you direct a message to an individual in a group conversation
– Inline replies let you reply to a specific message and see all related messages in their own view
– Group photos can be customized for a shared group look
– 11 new hairstyles and 19 new headwear styles to customize your Memoji
– New Memoji stickers to send a fist bump, hug or blush
– Six added age options
– Face covering options
– Cycling directions provide routes along bike lanes, bike paths, and bike-friendly roads, taking into consideration elevation or how busy a street is
– Guides offer recommendations for places to eat, meet friends, or explore, curated by a selection of trusted brands
– Electric vehicle routing helps you plan trips with supported electric vehicles and automatically adds charging stops along your route
– Congestion zones help you route around or through active zones in cities like London or Paris
– Speed cameras let you know when you’re approaching speed and red-light cameras along your route
– Refine Location enables a highly accurate location and orientation when in urban areas with a poor GPS signal
– An App Clip is a small part of an app that developers can create and that is discoverable at the moment you need it, and focused on a specific task
– Small by design, App Clips are usable in a few seconds
– Discover App Clips through tapping NFC tags or scanning QR codes, from Messages, Maps, and Safari
– Recently used App Clips show up in App Library’s Recently Added category, and you can download the full version of the app if you want to keep it around
– The new Translate app is designed for conversations and can work completely offline so your conversations stay private
– A split-screen design in conversation mode has a single microphone button that automatically detects which of the selected languages is being spoken and transcribes the original and translated text on the correct sides of the screen
– Attention mode shows translations in larger text so you can capture someone’s attention
– Voice and text translations are supported for any combination of 11 languages
– A new compact design allows you to refer to information onscreen and seamlessly launch into your next task
– Expanded knowledge brings 20x more facts than three years ago
– Web answers help find answers to a broader set of questions using information from across the internet
– Audio messages can be sent with Siri on iOS and CarPlay
– Expanded language support for the new Siri voice and Siri translation
– One place where you can find everything: search for apps, contacts, files, quick information like weather and stocks, common knowledge questions about people or places, or even quickly start a web search
– Top Hit results show the most relevant information including apps, contacts, knowledge, points of interest and websites
– Quick Launcher allows you to launch an app or website by typing a few characters
– As-you-type search suggestions show more relevant results as soon as you start typing
– Web search suggestions to launch Safari and get the most relevant web results
– Start a search in apps like Mail, Messages and Files
– Suggested automations help you set up automations with just a tap
– A visual status at the top of the Home app gives you a summary of accessories that require your attention
– Dynamic suggestions of the most relevant accessories and scenes appear in Home controls in Control Center
– Adaptive Lighting automatically adjusts the color of your smart light bulbs throughout the day to maximize comfort and productivity
– Face Recognition for video cameras and doorbells uses on-device intelligence to let you know who is there based on the people you’ve tagged in your Photos app and recent visitors you identify in the Home app
– Activity Zones for video cameras and doorbells captures video or sends you a notification only when motion is detected in areas you define
– A Privacy Report shows cross-site trackers that are being blocked by Intelligent Tracking Prevention
Password monitoring securely screens your saved passwords for any that may have been involved in a data breach
– Web page translation (beta) translates entire web pages in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, French, German, Russian or Brazilian Portuguese
– Next-hour precipitation chart shows a minute-by-minute forecast of the intensity of rain or snow over the coming hour for the U.S.
– Severe weather information displays government-issued alerts about certain severe weather events including tornados, winter storms, flash floods and more, for the U.S., Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia
– Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking on AirPods Pro places sounds anywhere in space, creating an immersive surround sound experience
– Automatic device switching transfers audio from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac
– Battery notifications let you know if you need to charge your AirPods
– A recording indicator is displayed whenever an app has access to the microphone or camera
– Approximate location can now be shared with an app, rather than sharing your precise location
– Limited Photos library access gives you the option to share only selected photos with an app whenever an app asks for access
– App and web developers can now offer the option for you to upgrade your existing accounts to Sign in with Apple
– Back Tap is a quick way to trigger accessibility features by tapping on the back of your iPhone
– Headphone accommodations amplify soft sounds and adjust certain frequencies, customized for an individual’s hearing
– Sign language prominence in FaceTime detects when a participant is using sign language and makes the person prominent in a Group FaceTime call
– Sound Recognition uses on-device intelligence to detect and identify important sounds such as alarms, and alerts you to them using notifications
– VoiceOver Recognition uses on-device intelligence to recognize elements on your screen to improve VoiceOver support for app and web experiences
– Image descriptions read complete-sentence descriptions of images and photos within apps and on the web
– Text recognition speaks the text identified within images and photos
– Screen Recognition automatically detects interface controls to aid in navigating apps
– This release also includes other features and improvements.
– Important details about each app are displayed in a glanceable, scrollable view, including a way to see the games your friends are playing
– Coming Soon gives you a sneak peek at upcoming Apple Arcade games and you can automatically download them as soon as they’re released
– See All Games is improved with sorting and filtering by release date, updates, category, controller support and more
– Achievements are browsable right from within the Apple Arcade tab
– Continue Playing makes it easy to resume recently played games across devices
– Game Center dashboard showcases your profile, friends, achievements, leaderboards and more, all from within your game
Apple Cash Family
– Apple Cash can be enabled for up to five family members under 18
– Send money to your child through Messages or by asking Siri
– Notifications for purchases or person to person payments as they occur
– Parental controls to limit who your children can send money to
– Option to turn off Apple Cash for family members under 18
– Shared oversight with another adult in your Family Sharing group
– Location Anchors in ARKit 4 enables apps to place AR experiences at a specific geographic coordinate
– Extended face tracking support is extended to the new iPhone SE
– Video textures in RealityKit enable apps to apply video to any part of a scene or virtual object
– Improved shot-to-shot performance speeds up the time to first shot and makes shooting photos even faster
– QuickTake video can now also be captured on iPhone XS and iPhone XR when in Photo mode
– Quick toggles in Video mode to change video resolution and frame rate from the Camera app
– Updated Night mode capture experience on iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro provides guidance to help you stay steady throughout the capture, as well as an option to cancel the shot mid-capture
– Exposure compensation control lets you lock an exposure value for an entire camera session
– Mirror front camera lets you capture selfies that match the front camera preview
– Improved QR code reading to scan codes, even if they are small or wrapped around objects
– New categories of supported apps for parking, EV charging, and quick food-ordering
– Wallpaper options
– Share ETA and send audio messages with Siri
– Horizontal status bar support for cars with portrait screens
– Chinese and Japanese keyboard support gives users an additional option to search for points of interest
– Improved video quality with up to 1080p resolution on iPhone X and later
– New eye contact feature uses machine learning to subtly adjust the position of your eyes and face to make video calling more natural even – when you’re looking at the screen instead of the camera
– APFS encryption support for external drives
– Wind Down helps you create a pre-bedtime routine with apps and shortcuts, like listening to a relaxing playlist
– Custom sleep schedules help you meet your sleep goals with bedtime reminders and wakeup alarms
– Sleep mode minimizes distractions during Wind Down and Bedtime by turning on Do Not Disturb and simplifying your Lock screen
– Health Checklist helps you track and manage health and safety features in one place
– New Mobility category in the Health app, including metrics like walking speed, double support time, step length, and walking asymmetry
Keyboard and International
– On-device dictation helps protect your privacy by performing all processing completely offline. Dictation in search uses server-based – dictation in order to recognize terms you may be searching for from across the Internet.
– Search within the Emoji keyboard using a word or phrase
– Keyboard displays AutoFill suggestions from Contacts for email addresses, phone numbers, and more in apps
– New dictionaries for French-German, Indonesian-English, Japanese-Simplified Chinese, and Polish‑English
– Wubi input method for Simplified Chinese
– Autocorrection support for Irish Gaelic and Norwegian Nynorsk
– Redesigned Japanese Kana keyboard with easier input for numbers
– Mail supports email addresses using non‑Latin languages
– A new Listen Now tab for playing and discovering your favorite music, artists, playlists and mixes
– Autoplay keeps music playing when you reach the end of a song or playlist by finding similar songs to play
– Search now showcases music for your favorite genres and activities, and shows helpful suggestions as you type
– Library filtering helps you find artists, albums, playlists and other items in your library even faster
– Enhanced actions menu provides easy access to locking, scanning, pinning and deleting
– Top Hits in search surfaces your most relevant search results
– Pinned Notes list can be collapsed or expanded
– Shape recognition enables drawing perfect lines, arcs and other shapes
– Enhanced scanning captures sharper scans and more precise auto-cropping
– Filter and sort your collection to more easily locate and organize your photos and videos
– Pinch and zoom to quickly find your photos and videos in more places, like Favorites and Shared Albums
– Photos and videos caption support
– Live Photos taken using iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 will autoplay with improved stabilization in Years, Months and Days View
– Memories enhancements provide a more relevant selection of photos and videos and a larger music selection for Memory movies
– Redesigned image picker in apps uses the same smart search from the Photos app to help you easily find content to share
– Listen Now is smarter and includes your personal episode queue and new episodes picked for you
– Assign reminders to people you share lists with
– New reminders can be created from the lists screen without having to enter a specific list
– Smart suggestions let you add dates, times and locations with a tap
– Personalized lists with emoji and newly added symbols
– Rearrange or hide smart lists
– Option to set your default email and web browser
– Starter Shortcuts let you get started with a built-in folder of shortcuts, tailored for you
– Shortcuts automations are suggested based on your usage patterns
– Folders let you organize your shortcuts and can be added as widgets to the Home Screen
– New compact design for running shortcuts keeps you in context while you use another app
– New Automation triggers can run shortcuts based on receiving an email or message, your battery level, closing an app and more
– Wind Down Shortcuts provide a collection of relaxing shortcuts to help you get ready for a good night’s sleep
– Folders help organize your Voice Memos recordings
– Favorites lets you mark your best recordings and quickly access them later
– Smart Folders automatically group together Apple Watch recordings, recently deleted recordings and recordings you marked as Favorites
– Enhance Recording reduces background noise and room reverberation
More Details and Discussion
There are a ton of other features in iOS and iPadOS 14, so make sure to check out our detailed iOS 14 roundup and our iPadOS 14 roundup for a complete list of everything that’s new.
You can also discuss iOS 14 in our dedicated iOS 14 forum.