There’s a reason that everyone loves Apple iOS 14. When the update was first released to the public in September 2020, it was one of Apple’s most ambitious updates. The new iOS 14 update introduced major new features, including options for the home interface, privacy improvements, a smarter Siri, plus certain measures to ensure a less intrusive experience. But iOS 14 isn’t without its limitations. After various bugs and extensive beta testing, some iPhone users are still not happy with the obvious product tie-ins and subscription pushes.
While there’s a lot to unpack about the new iOS 14 update, the overarching theme is a more convenient and efficient user experience. Some changes are more apparent, such as the ability to personalize the home screen interface. Users can now arrange their most-used widgets to show the most relevant information at just a glance. Additionally, users will notice that they can pin conversations so that important messages are easier to access.
But there are other, not-so-obvious functionalities that come with iOS 14, such as limiting who can see a user’s precise location. To make the situation even murkier, when users install iOS 14, the update automatically adjusts some of the user’s default settings. Because of this, users could be unaware that they are using a new iOS 14 functionality, such as FaceTime Eye Contact. Read on to take full advantage of iOS 14’s secret features.
Emoji Search Bar
IPhone users finally got what they were asking for with an emoji search feature. Need a quick thumbs-up for that group message? Now, instead of scrolling through pages and pages of emojis, users can simply type their desired emoji into the provided Search bar.
Camera Security Alert
The iOS 14 update offers increased privacy and security warnings. If an app is using the camera, users will be alerted by a green dot in the top right corner of their iPhone, found above the Wi-Fi, network, and battery symbols. If an app is using the microphone, users will be alerted by an orange dot.
Option to Close All Browsers
Previously, if users wanted to close out internet browsers, they would have to do so one at a time, which could be tedious. The iOS 14 update allows users to close all browser tabs at once. To perform this function, users can open their browser and find the icon in the bottom right corner that allows users to switch between tabs. Press and hold the icon. Users will then have the choice to close out the specified number of tabs.
For users that are looking to streamline their iPhone experience, iOS 14 offers users the ability to integrate home screen widgets. With use, iOS 14 learns to highlight certain widgets based on usage, time, and location. The widgets aren’t meant to be interactive, but the concept allows users to quickly access the information they need.
To add to their Smart Stack, users can press and hold down an app as if they were organizing the home page. Once the icons start moving, users can choose the “+” button in the top left corner. Users will then be prompted to add a widget.
Less Intrusive Calls
Apple iOS 14 introduced the option to hide calls. Instead of an incoming call taking up the entire screen, incoming calls are indicated by a smaller banner at the top of the screen. Users can choose to swipe the banner up, which allows the user to continue operating their device without answering the phone. And users don’t have to worry about declining the call– the call continues, but without impeding the use of the screen.
FaceTime Eye Contact
Previously when using FaceTime, users may have experienced a disconnect in the conversation due to the lack of eye contact. Often, instead of looking at the camera at the top of the screen, FaceTime users fixate on another part of the screen.
FaceTime Eye Contact is a new feature that was originally developed for iOS 13. The Eye Contact feature digitally alters the user’s eyes so that it appears they are looking directly at the person to which they are speaking. The difference is subtle, but the augmented reality functionality by Apple “helps make video calling more natural by helping you establish eye contact even when you’re looking at the screen instead of the camera.”
Eye Contact works on any iPhone Xs or later with the iOS 14 update. Once users update to iOS 14, the Eye Contact functionality is automatically turned on. If you want to disable Eye Contact, open the settings on your iPhone. Scroll down to FaceTime. Open and scroll again until the Eye Contact toggle. If green, Eye Contact function is on.