When Facebook warns that the change to Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system will negatively affect how well it can track you on cell phones, you know you’ll love iOS14.
It’s Apple’s latest mobile OS update, and it’s a fall tradition that brings new features to the iPhone and iPad and a new coat of paint for older models as well.
Tuesday, Apple maintains its annual product reveal at a virtual demo from the company’s Cupertino campus, where it is expected to promote new versions of the iPad and Apple Watch, and remind users of some of the new features coming to iOS14. (You can see the presentations on apple.com)
This year, Apple is putting privacy first with the new iOS, which Apple traditionally released in the third week of September (last year it was September 19). The iPhone release will be delayed until October, and Apple is expected to organize another iPhone event next month.
Smartest Siri? Hey Siri, are you really “20 times more” this year? Apple’s personal assistant gets a new look in iOS 14
What to expect from an Apple event:Will we see more iPad and Watch updates?
The privacy feature Facebook talked about against users informs when applications such as the social network use data to “track you,” or “associate with you,” by obtaining financial information, contact information, browsing history and location. Users will be required to obtain their permission to allow Facebook to do this, and because people are expected to say no to this, Facebook has been warned that it will take a financial hit when the feature is enabled.
Apple is delaying this feature until early 2021, to give developers like Facebook, Snapchat and others ample time to resolve kinks. But there are many other features coming soon that are worth looking forward to. I downloaded the iOS14 beta last week and spent some time using it. Let me tell you what I found.
For years, Android smartphone enthusiasts have been able to customize their home screens with a “widget” feature that allows you to specify whether you want to watch a large clock, weather, news headlines, and the like. Now, you can do that in iOS14, by swiping the home screen to the left and clicking the edit button to add to the experience. Although it is steal, it is good to have it, just as Google Translate has always been a life saver when traveling internationally. Now, Apple is adding its translation feature to the OS, via the new pre-loaded Translate app or Siri’s personal assistant. Ask a question like, “How do I say” hello “in Japanese? You get the answer and the ability to continue the conversation.
If you’re like me, you have a lot of apps all over your phone, and I miss a lot of them. In the past, Apple offered the ability to create folders of your choice. Apparently, Apple feels consumers have not made an effort. Because this year Apple introduces an automatic batch of similar apps, with categories for Entertainment, Social, Utilities, “Reading”, Health and more, and they’ll create them for you, whether you like it or not. This is good in theory. But since it is automatic, you may not agree with the choices Apple has made. There is no tool for changing snapshots. (However, you can still create folders in the old manual method, too.)
Before, you spoke on the phone, and a black background call dominated your screen. Now, in a move that will be especially helpful for people talking on speakerphone, the calling part will take up a small percentage of the screen, and you’ll be able to see more of your iPhone real estate.
Apple Map is getting two useful new features this year. Biking Trends, which has been a staple of Google Maps for years, is finally getting it right with Apple – although in beta, it wasn’t working for my local area. Second, Apple provides “guides” for cities like New York, San Francisco, and London with advice on what to do when visiting – post-pandemic, of course. There will only be a few of these initially but will be rolling out in more cities in the coming months.
The personal assistant, which debuted in 2011, has gotten smarter this year, according to Apple, which specifically says Siri has “more than 20 times more facts than it did just three years ago.” In my tests, she was actually much richer and smarter. Siri still has this nagging tendency to answer a query by saying, “That’s what I’ve found on the web” instead of responding to you, but it’s happened a lot this time.
Start your car with iOS
Arguably the most intriguing new feature of all of them, this is the ability to use your iPhone to unlock your vehicle and start your engine. But even though it’s a part of iOS14, don’t raise your hopes. The feature only works with one manufacturer, BMW, on a series of models produced after July 2020. But it is definitely worth looking forward to.
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter