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10 of the best iOS 14 features that Apple didn’t have time to talk about

Published Jun 23rd, 2020 7:31AM EDT
iOS 14 Hidden Features
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 pack several exciting hidden features that Apple never had time to demo on stage.
  • iOS 14 will finally let users set the default browser and mail clients on iPhone and iPad, which is a highly requested feature from fans.
  • The new operating systems will also support a brand new Accessibility gesture that will let you tap the back of the phone to invoke a specific action.
  • Many of these features will be available in iOS 14 beta this summer, with the first public release set for July.

WWDC 2020 may have been Apple’s first such event without an audience, all because of the ongoing health crisis, but the iPhone maker still delivered an impressive show. Apple execs unveiled several of the tentpole features of its upcoming software updates, with iPhone and iPad practically dominating the show. After addressing the novel coronavirus pandemic and the recent wave of protests over racism, Apple went directly to iOS announcements. The main features of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 were explained in brief demos, and Apple addressed some of the novelties in iOS in other segments of the presentation. As always with new iOS releases, Apple wasn’t able to demo everything coming to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch this fall. And, as always, there are plenty of exciting tidbits that were left out of the show. In what follows, we’re going to cover a few of the most exciting iOS 14 features that Apple didn’t have time for.

New email and browser defaults

You might have missed on one of Apple’s slides, or over on Apple’s iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 newly released pages. But iPhone and iPad will let users set new default email and browsers. That’s great news for anyone who doesn’t use Mail or Safari and could help Apple in its looming antitrust cases. Apple didn’t explain how the feature will work, but it’s all coming to the Settings app on iPhone and iPad.

iPadOS 14
iPadOS 14: New defaults for email and browser.

Back tap

Hidden in the Accessibility settings of iOS 14 will be a new gesture. You’ll be able to tap the back of the phone to generate action. You can add double and triple taps on the back of the phone that can be associated with various actions. Things like Reachability, Screenshots, Siri, or Mute can all be paired to these taps.

iOS 14
iOS 14: Back tap gesture Image source: 9to5Mac

Find My

Apple hasn’t exactly launched its Tile-like devices, but the company does say in its iOS14 announcement that Find My will be expanded to let you find third-party products and accessories with the “new Find My network accessory program.

Approximate Location

This one is a new privacy feature that lets you share with apps your approximate location instead of your precise location. That’s a step in the right direction if you ask me.

Recording indicator

Whenever an app uses the microphone or camera, a visual recording indicator will appear in the app and in Control Center. It’s an orange dot that warns you an app is accessing a sensitive feature of the phone.

iOS 14
iOS 14: Camera and recording indicator. Image source: Apple Inc.

Quick toggles in Video mode

Recording video on iPhone will be even easier with the help of quick toggles that let you change things like video resolution and frame rate.

Volume buttons in Camera

The volume buttons can both be used to initiate actions while taking photos. Press the Volume Up button to capture bursts, and press the Volume Down button to capture QuickTake video on devices that support the feature. QuickTake now works on iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max.

Mirror selfies

This shouldn’t require other explanations. You’ll be able to mirror your selfies going forward.

Emoji Search

A search field for the emoji keyboard now lets you search for the perfect emoji by typing words or phrases.

APFS encrypted drive support

This feature will let you connect external drives using APFS encryption both on iPhone and iPad.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.