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New iOS 14 feature may change the way we find and use apps

Published Apr 9th, 2020 6:43PM EDT
iOS 14 Features
Image: Zach Epstein for BGR

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  • iOS 14 may allow users to preview an app’s interface even if they haven’t yet downloaded it.
  • Apple will unveil iOS 14 later this year at WWDC.
  • The coronavirus prompted Apple to cancel its in-person WWDC conference and instead put on an online-only event.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

A new report from 9to5Mac reveals that iOS 14 may make it a lot easier for users to discover and explore new third-party apps. According to the report, a newly unearthed API from a recent build of iOS 14 suggests that iOS 14 will enable users to use a QR code and subsequently experience limited aspects of an application’s user experience without having to download the app in the first place.

The report notes that the API is known as “Clips” and, as the name implies, will let developers offer “interactive and dynamic content from their apps even if you haven’t installed them.” Of course, developers will be able to choose what portion of an app will be made available to users in the form of a “floating card that shows a native user interface instead of a web page.”

Now is this a game-changing feature? Not exactly, but it should make it easier for iOS users to make decisions about which apps are worth downloading.

As for other iOS 14 features we might see Apple roll out, well, the rumor mill hasn’t been very busy in that regard. For instance, we’ve seen reports that iOS 14 will provide an upgrade for Apple’s password manager along with some CarPlay and HomeKit enhancements, but those aren’t exactly worth getting excited about.

That said, one of the more interesting new features we might see in iOS 14 is something called CarKey. References to CarKey have been found in recent iOS 13 betas but there’s a good chance Apple won’t release it until iOS 14. Put simply, CarKey will allow Apple Watch and iPhone owners to unlock, lock, and start their cars directly from their devices. What’s more, the feature will enable car owners to send one-time keys to friends and family that grant them a specified level of access to the car.

As was revealed via a leaked screenshot late last month, CarKey will offer three varying levels of access which include Trunk Access (unlock the trunk only), Access Only (unlock the car only), and of course, Access and Drive.

With April already in full swing, WWDC is only two months away at this point. Of course, with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing, Apple a few weeks ago canceled its in-person WWDC event and will instead hold an online-only WWDC.

“We are delivering WWDC 2020 this June in an innovative way to millions of developers around the world, bringing the entire developer community together with a new experience,” Apple’s Phil Schiller said in a press release. “The current health situation has required that we create a new WWDC 2020 format that delivers a full program with an online keynote and sessions, offering a great learning experience for our entire developer community, all around the world.”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.