Earlier in June 2020, Apple made some major software announcements at WWDC 2020. A lot of that had to do with iOS 14, Apple’s operating system for the iPhone range of smartphones. This year we’re looking at a paradigm shift in design that brings a whole lot of changes in one attempt to the flagship smartphone experience from Apple. And now, the first Public Beta of iOS 14 is available for everyone to download and experience (and compare with Android). Before we tell you how to get it, let’s have a look at some of the most notable changes coming your way, and how they compare with their Android counterparts.

A new home screen experience

Perhaps the most obvious changes, a lot is going to happen to your iOS home screen. You get an app library, which is one swipe away from your final home screen. This means you can remove apps from the home screen altogether. The app library groups your apps together based on purpose, but also puts suggestions and recently used apps on top. While this functionality is closer to what Android has offered for a while now, the usage-based grouping is something that's not available on Stock Android.

Widgets get an upgrade

Widgets have been around in the Today view, but in a rather non-flexible way. Now, you get a lot of new size options, as well as the ability to drag them straight onto your home screen. There’s even a smart stack widget that lets you scroll throw your commonly used widgets and can even show the widget you’re most likely to use at any given time of the day. This is very similar to what Android users have been using since, well, the first Android phone.

Siri goes minimal

Rather than taking over your entire screen upon every activation, Siri offers a more minimal experience now, appearing just as a circular blurb when summoned. Results from Siri will mostly show as a rich notification on top of your screen. In addition to that, you also get a real time translate feature that does not depend on the internet. Android's Google Assistant also offers a similar experience, but in a smaller window rather than a blurb.

Picture in picture

Once an iPad exclusive, the picture-in-picture (PiP) mode makes its way to the iPhone with iOS 14. Your videos and Facetime calls can now become smaller screens when you swipe back to the home screen, and even go audio-only if you swipe them away. On the surface, this appears to be as capable as what Stock Android offers. However, there's the fact that on Android you can use entire apps in a smaller windowed form.

App Clips

Think of App Clips like micro-apps that you can use without having to go through the trouble of downloading, installing and signing into a full-sized app. While they’re still downloaded, App Clips are much smaller versions of full-sized apps that let you access some immediate functionality without a full install. The combination of Sign In with Apple and Apple Pay makes this seamless. While instant apps have been doing this for Android, the additional security that Sign in with Apple and Apple Pay offers across the system is definitely an Apple advantage.

How to download iOS 14

There are a lot of other smaller improvements that are due in the upcoming upgrade. As of now, you can taste many of these in the Public Beta for iOS 14. It should be noted that this is not the final version of the software and that you might encounter problems with it – so it is advisable to not install it on your primary device or at least take a backup before you do. To get it, sign up for Apple’s Beta Software Program using your Apple ID and follow the instructions there to install. Once you’re done, you’re all set to explore iOS 14’s new features. Image Courtesy: Apple

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