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5 awesome new iPhone features hiding in iOS 14

Published Jul 7th, 2020 8:56AM EDT
iOS 14 Beta Features
Image: Yalcin Sonat/Shutterstock

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  • Apple’s first iOS 14 beta is packed full of new iPhone features — in fact, there are hundreds of additions covered in the iOS 14 section of Apple’s website.
  • While iOS 14 is indeed a huge upgrade, there are a few features such as widgets and Apple’s new Compact UI that are getting most of the attention right now.
  • Here, we’ll cover 5 lesser-known new iPhone features that are hiding in iOS 14.

Apple’s new iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 software is packed full of new features. The company covered all the big ones when it unveiled its next-generation mobile platforms last month during its virtual WWDC 2020 keynote presentation, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. There are literally hundreds of new features and updates to old features in iOS 14, and it would take hours to read about them all. What’s more, Apple always holds a few special new features back until September in order to keep from giving away any new details pertaining to it’s next-generation iPhone lineup, which in this case is the upcoming iPhone 12 series.

iOS 14 is stuffed to the gills with new features galore, but a select few marquee features have definitely stolen the spotlight. Home screen widget support is likely the most talked-about new detail, and Apple’s new Compact UI features that keep things like call notifications and Siri out of the way are also generating plenty of buzz. And let’s not forget all the new Messages features, Maps feature, App Library, Translate app, and more. But there’s a whole lot more to iOS 14 than the functionality that’s buzzing right now. In fact, some of the coolest and most useful new features are hiding just out of sight in iOS 14. Here, we’ll run through 5 particularly neat features that won’t be immediately obvious when you first fire up iOS 14 on your iPhone.

Add captions to photos

This is an awesome new feature that many people have been waiting for. In the Photos app, tap on any image and then slide up on the screen. You’ll be able to add a caption that can help you remember details you definitely would have otherwise forgotten.

Emoji search

Do you find yourself reusing the same handful of emojis over and over? Are you tired of millennials and tweens mocking you for it? Good news: you don’t have to be ashamed anymore. Quickly find any emoji you might be looking for with the new emoji search feature in iOS 14. Whenever you open the emoji keyboard in any app, you’ll see the new search box above the emojis.

Back tap gestures

This might be my favorite new feature in iOS 14, and it’s buried deep in the Settings app so most people will likely never even find it. In Settings, go to Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap and you can configure iOS 14 to perform an action when you tap twice or three times quickly on the back of your iPhone. You can keep it simple like we did above, or you can use custom Accessibility Shortcuts if you want to get fancy.

Keep apps off your home screens

Apple’s new “App Library” is the equivalent of the app drawer in Android and the app grid in every smartphone operating system that came before Android. In a nutshell, it’s a repository for all your apps so you can declutter your home screens and reserve that space only for apps that are used regularly. To keep new apps you install off your home screens by default, go to Settings > Home Screen and check the “Appl Library only” option.

See traffic camera warnings in Maps

Image source: u/_shoybot, Reddit

One of the greatest things about Waze is the fact that it alerts you to things like police in the area and traffic cameras that snap your photo if you’re speeding or trying to catch a light as it’s turning yellow. But when it comes to actual navigation features, Waze isn’t so great. As of iOS 14, there are now traffic camera warnings that appear in the Apple Maps UI, as you can see in the screenshot above that was shared recently by a Reddit user.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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