iOS 14 intros widgets for home screen, redesigned Siri, more

Apple has given the world a first glimpse of iOS 14 at the all-digital WWDC 2020. The update will be bringing a big change to the iPhone home screen, a Siri redesign, and more exciting features.

Changing the app experience

On iOS 14, users will be able to add widgets to their home screens, right where their apps are. There’s a new Widget Gallery where users can choose widgets from to add and customize. They can select the size of widgets and where to place them onscreen and create a “Smart Stack.” This feature uses AI to change the widgets based on time, location, and activity.

Additionally, iPhone users have a new App Library view, which automatically organizes all the apps into groups and lists. With the App Library, users can choose to hide other apps on their main home screen and make room for widgets.

Taking a page out of Android’s book, Apple finally adds system-wide picture-in-picture to iOS 14. Let’s say you’re watching Netflix but want to scroll through social media, the PiP feature will hover the video over apps in a small, resizeable window. The PiP can also be collapsed to the side of the screen and continue playing in the background.

Another new app-related feature released is App Clip, which will give users a snippet of the app so they can discover them. App Clips are discovered with new App Clip codes, NFC tags, or QR codes.

Sleeker Siri

Siri gets a complete makeover in iOS 14. Now, the virtual assistant won’t take up the whole screen when summoned. Instead, it will just take up a small area at the bottom of the display. With the new look, Siri can now send audio messages besides dictated ones.

Like Siri, incoming calls and FaceTime calls will pop up on top of the screen instead of taking over the whole display.

In addition, there’s a new Translate app built into iOS, which allows users to easily translate between languages. The 11 languages supported include English, Mandarin Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Portuguese, and Russian.

Messaging made easier

The iMessage inbox gets new features to make it easier to navigate and organize. Users can now pin conversations to the top of the app so they can easily keep up with threads. They pins will appear as icons, which will also show if you get new messages from pinned convos. New Memoji options in Messages are also available with additional hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.

Apple will launch a public beta of iOS 14 to users this month. The update will be available this fall for iPhone 6s and later.

Read more: WWDC 2020 highlights: iOS 14, MacOS Big Sur, more

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