We are excited to tell you about a handful of new enhancements that come courtesy of Apple’s latest iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 update. From the sensible privacy improvements to the more aesthetic home screen customization we are here to fill you in.  

The iOS 14 and iPad 14 update is ready to go, easy to set-up and you will find yourself rearranging your widgets to your preference in no time. Widget wizardry aside there are a few buried settings that aren’t so easy to find if you don’t know where to look.

So before the impending release of the new iPhone 12 let’s take a look at some of the less obvious benefits. For example, streamlining your app use and setting preferences via the default apps setting. 

Control over your defaults

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Apple is loosening the reins. It’s been a long time coming but at last, you have some control over your default applications. So a screen full of locked away icons you never use will one day be a thing of the past 

For the time being, email apps and web browsers are up for the chop and change but all default apps could become more flexible. But if you are sick of Safari, you’ll take what you can get. Now you can easily assign Chrome as your go-to browser and Outlook instead of Apple Mail.

Some App developers haven’t prepared yet. So not all your favorite apps are ready for compatibility with the iOS 14 update. To our knowledge, Chrome, Google, Hey email, Microsoft Edge, and Outlook have updated.

It is a relatively simple process via your settings App. First, you’ll need to scroll to find your list of installed apps and select your preferred mail or browser App. If it’s been updated for iOS 14, you’ll see either Default Browser App or Default Email App; tap it and then select your preferred app. 

Unfortunately, as it is early days there is a bug in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. So be warned if you restart your device it will reset your defaults and you will have to start over again. Apple has stated that future updates will rectify the problem.

Hide entire home panels for a tidier screen

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The new App Library is another great feature. It allows you to store all the apps you are less likely to use and shelf them. You can hide an entire panel of apps with zero effort. You no longer need to go through your apps one by one.

You can trigger the edit mode with a long-press on an empty area of your home screen. Then you should see the page indicator. Tap it and then tap the checkmark below any page you would like removed. 

This sends them to your App library which functions as an app storage drawer. So they aren’t deleted, they are just no longer accessible from your home screen. Hiding them away in case you need them in the future.

Stop new apps auto-appearing on your screen

It is no good being able to create the screen layout you want, customize your widget, store away junk apps only to have a new one appear whenever you download. 

Now you can change your settings so that newly downloaded applications are sent straight to your App library. This gives you the choice of what you want left.

Here’s how; Open Settings > Home Screen and select App Library Only in the top section. You can easily find recently downloaded apps in the App Library’s Recently Added category, which should be the top-right folder when you view it.

Emoji keyboard search bar

Now for something we have all been waiting for! Apple has finally updated the emoji keyboard to include its very own search bar. Sounds like a small change but it makes a big difference, no more endless scrolling. Use the emoji picker and find what you need with ease. 

Genuinely hidden photos

You have been able to stash away your photos into your Photo apps Hidden Album with previous updates but they were always easy to find.

For whatever reason you may have, you can now thankfully cloak the hidden album, making it well and truly hidden. So any embarrassing photos or videos you don’t want to be found can remain completely incognito.

You can choose to hide a picture or video directly from your camera roll. It remains saved within your iCloud Photos library as well as in the Hidden album. To cloak the Album you need to do the following;

Turn it on by going to Settings > Photos and making sure the Hidden Album switch is turned off.  

That might sound counterintuitive but we repeat; Off! With the setting enabled the hidden album is visible within your albums tab.

Picture in picture viewing for YouTube

A popular feature update is Apple’s Picture in Picture (PiP) mode. It is great for watching videos and video calls. Previously you had to stay in-App to view anything. But now you can swipe up from the bottom and your window will shrink and float whilst you access other apps on your iPhone. You have complete control over the thumbnail. You can position where you want and even drag it out of sight and just listen if you require your whole screen.

At present, the YouTube app doesn’t support PiP functionality. However, there is a workaround with the new update.  If you start a YouTube video within your Safari browser in full-screen mode you can swipe back up to your home screen. Then you will find the full-screen video becomes a thumbnail and you can watch in PiP style.

PiP is automatically active. If you would prefer to have it off head to your Settings and find Picture in Picture under your General tab. If you deactivate it then you can still use PiP when you tap the PiP icon during video play.

Eye contact is back

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FaceTime revealed their proposed eye contact feature in last year’s operating system upgrade beta but it never made the official release.

Now it is fully functional. It basically works to make it appear like you are maintaining eye contact with your camera lens rather than your screen itself. So the person on the other end will feel more connected.

You can turn it on by going to Settings > FaceTime > Eye Contact.

Back tap feature multitasking

When the new Back Tap feature was announced some people were dubious as to how useful it would be. 

Some thought that it would be problematic, activating accidentally when it was in a pocket or placed on surfaces. However, after trying it out a lot of users found that the phone was great at identifying the difference between intended Back Tapuse and general knocks.

It takes a little getting used to as a brand new trigger system but certainly makes some multitasking a lot easier. 

A triple Back Tap can be used to launch Siri or take a screenshot. You can access your Control Center and much more with a simple double or triple tap.

Go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap to access the features. Choose the number of taps you want to use, and then you’ll see a list of actions you can initiate.

Handwriting to text with scribble 

The iOS 14 update for iPads brought with it another cool feature. You can now write with an Apple Pencil into the Scribble App and it will convert from handwriting to typed text. 

If you use your pencil a lot then you will find the speed of tasks much quicker, thanks to the update. You won’t have to switch between the stylus and keyboard. If you receive a message while you are busy doodling or jotting a note you can now use your pen to scribble back a text.

The latest update shows real promise for enhancing how you use your phone. It is a free update that has a lot to offer that just makes sense. The process is simple and should go smoothly as long as your phone is ready for it.

The original article was written by Jason’s Cipriani over at cnet.