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iOS 14: Apple introduces App clips and home screen widgets

Last updated on March 9, 2021

The new OS version runs on iPhone SE (first generation) and iPhone 6S and newer. App clips offer individual app functions without the application being fully installed. IOS 14 will organize apps on the home screen in the app library.

Apple also presented a new version of its smartphone operating system at WWDC 2020. iOS 14 brings numerous new functions as well as updates for Apple’s own apps. For the first time, Apple enables widgets to be displayed on the home screen . App clips should also give users quick and easy access to certain app functions.

Apple highlights the new features for the home screen as the biggest update this component has received so far. The new widgets should provide important information at a glance. They can also be attached to the start screen in different sizes. Smart Stack, in turn, is a stack of several widgets, whereby artificial intelligence should display the widget that is appropriate for the context such as time, location and activity.

As with Android , iOS users with version 14 can now also put widgets on their start pages (Image: Apple).

Apple wants to simplify the organization of apps on the home screen with the App Library. It automatically groups apps together to facilitate navigation through the app library. Examples are recently added apps, social media apps, games, or creative applications.

The interfaces of Siri and FaceTime have also been revised. Apple promises a more compact design. Another new feature is a picture-in-picture function, which allows users to watch a video or make a FaceTime call while using another app.

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Apple sees App Clips as a new way to discover and use apps. “An app clip is a small part of the app experience that is designed so that it can be discovered the moment it is needed,” said Apple.

Instead of downloading a complete app to rent an electric scooter, for example, a provider can in future provide an app clip that only does this one task. Access to the app clips is via an app clip code developed by Apple, or alternatively via NFC tags or QR codes, which can also be shared via messages.

Apple announced further updates for messages, maps and data protection settings. Message users can pin 14 conversations on iOS. Maps, in turn, offers new special routes for bicycles and electric vehicles.

In the future, apps will only be allowed to track their users with their consent. In addition, the product page of an app in the App Store will provide information about the developer’s privacy policy this year. Apple is also making the use of the microphone and camera by apps more transparent. Furthermore, Safari can now create a data protection report.

IOS 14 is now available in a developer version. Apple announced a public beta test for July. Interested users can then install the new operating system on the iPhone SE (first and second generation), the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus and newer, and the seventh generation iPod Touch.