It’s crazy to think that as recently as ten to fifteen years ago, computer literacy and tech-savviness weren’t really necessary for most people to have. Texting your friends on a flip phone wasn’t exactly rocket science, and laptops and tablets were still prohibitively expensive luxuries for most folks.
But being able to navigate technology is more necessary today than ever, especially since most people carrying around a smartphone in their pocket! So although I’m about the furthest thing from a “tech blogger,” my mission has always been to share tips that make your daily life easier, and that includes the use of smartphones! I’ve written three different posts focusing on iPhone hacks (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), and today I’ll be adding a new one to that list!
Today’s post will focus on iOS 14, the iPhone operating system update that was released back in September. This latest update includes some great new features you’ll definitely want to know about!
The oldest model that can run iOS 14 is the iPhone 6s, and if your phone is eligible for the update, it may or may not have already downloaded the update. (To find out which version of iOS you have and to check for eligible updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update.)
Once iOS 14 is up and running on your phone, it’s time to explore new features! The most recent changes include practical tools to help you manage digital clutter, create fun new emojis, and much more.
9 New Brilliant iPhone Hacks You Need To Know
1. Smart Stack
For those who could stand to declutter or optimize their home screen, you’ll love the new Smart Stack feature! A Smart Stack is a group of widgets that show specific information from the apps you choose to include, as well as relevant information based on time and location.
When you enable Smart Stack, it will display those app snippets right on your Home Screen. You can check the weather, see your upcoming calendar events, or control your music streaming app without actually having to open an app.
To set up or modify your Smart Stack, just press down on your home screen until the app icons start to wiggle, then click the “+” in the top-right corner of the screen.
2. App Library
If you swipe all the way to the right on your Home Screen, you’ll see a new feature called the “App Library.” This section displays all of the apps you have downloaded on your phone in perfectly organized categories.
You can use the search bar at the top of the App Library to quickly find the app you need, or you can visually scan the categories to identify apps by icon when you can’t remember an exact name.
3. App Clips
According to Apple, App Clips allow users to access a small part of an app at the moment it’s needed, without having to downloading the entire app in full. For example, if you were using Maps to figure out which restaurant you wanted to order dinner from, you may encounter a restaurant’s App Clip that would allow you to place your order right then and there!
But App Clips aren’t just new for users—they’re new to developers too, so it will take some time before they are more widespread. But when there are more options, you’ll be able to discover and access App Clips via NFC tags and QR codes, sharing via Messages, or sharing from Safari.
4. New Emojis
My favorite part of downloading the latest version of iOS is checking out the newest emojis! The iOS 14.2 update includes over 100 new emojis, including a potted plant, blueberry, teapot, roller blades, and a black cat. These new emojis and more are now available to insert into your group chats and text chains in the Messages app.
5. Picture In Pictures
No one need to pause the video you’re watching in order to do a Google search or respond to a text message! With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app. Simply switch from the video to another app, and the video will minimize itself into a smaller tile that you can drag to the top or bottom of your screen. Great for multitaskers!
6. Pinned Messages
You can now pin specific conversations to the top of your Messages app so that your husband, daughter, or your best friends’ group chat is always at the top of your list.
No more scrolling through dozens of conversations to find your faves! To pin a conversation, just press down on the conversation you want and select “Pin.”
7. Translate Languages
Whether you’re a world traveler or practicing a new language, you’re going to love the new Translate app! This app makes it easy to translate anything from a single word or phrase to a full conversation.
Set the language you’re using and the language you want to translate to at the top of the screen, then get quick, natural translations of voice or text in over 10 different languages! In landscape mode, Translate also has a useful option to display a translation in a large, easy-to-read font, making it much less stressful to bridge the language gap while you’re abroad!
8. Back Tap
Thanks to a new accessibility feature called Back Tap, you can now double or triple tap your finger on the back of your phone to trigger a task or shortcut. To customize this feature, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap.
I have mine set up so that a double tap on the back of my phone sends me to my Home Screen, while a triple tap triggers Siri. You can set these options to control almost any app or action on your phone!
Memoji (a rather clever portmanteau of “me” and “emoji”) are Apple’s customizable animated avatars you can use just like you would use normal emojis in texts. While they aren’t brand new to iOS 14, they did get a few updates that make them even more entertaining!
To customize your Memoji and explore your options, open a conversation in the Messages app, select the App Store icon near the text field, select Stickers, then tap the circle with the ellipsis to edit the settings.
Do you have any iPhone hacks or tips that you find particularly useful?
Want Even More Smartphone Hacks?
- For even more clever hacks that will make your smartphone more useful and easier to use, check out the other posts in the “iPhone Hacks” series!
- Click here to explore the “iPhone Hacks” series archive.