Apple is set to unveil the next iteration of the iPhone operating system – iOS 14 – at its all-digital Worldwide Developers Conference next week. So, what can you expect from this release?
We’ve gathered together all of the latest rumours about the upgrade, including expected new features, which models will be compatible and when you can expect it to appear.
When will iOS 14 be available?
Traditionally, Apple announces the feature set for the new version of iOS at WWDC in June. This is then usually followed by the software being made available to coincide with the release of the flagship iPhone models in September, but there’s also a public beta which lets anyone try out the update on their iPhone from mid- to late June.
Last year we saw iOS 13 revealed at WWDC on 3 June 2019, then arriving on 19 September 2019, a day before the iPhone 11.
This year is slightly different due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with Apple delaying the conference until 22 June and making a shift to an online-only focus. This could suggest the eventual release may be slightly later than usual too, but one thing is for sure: we’ll see iOS 14 and the iPhone 12 range released at the same time.
Which iPhone models will be able to use iOS 14?
There has been heavy speculation that iOS 14 will be available on all models that were compatible with iOS 13. This has most recently been backed up by The Verifier, and while the site doesn’t have a perfect track record when it comes to leaks of this nature, it did correctly predict that iOS 13 would drop the iPhone 5s and 6.
So, if all goes as the rumours suggest you’ll be able to use the new iOS 14 with the following devices;
iPhone SE (second-gen)
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone XS Max
iPhone 8 Plus
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 6S Plus
iPhone SE (first-gen)
Of course, the new update will also be available on the iPhone 12 models when released later this year.
What’s new in iOS 14?
Here’s what we’ve managed to find out from the rumour mills so far.
The wildest iOS 14 rumour is that it won’t be called iOS at all – in fact, rumours suggest it’ll be reverting to iPhone OS. It might sound familiar to OG iPhone fans, as it’s the name of the original operating system run on the iPhone before Apple rebranded it to iOS with the release of iOS 3.
While it might be seen as a confusing move, it actually makes a lot of sense. Apple has iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, watchOS and iOS – the latter is the only one that doesn’t explicitly name the product, and even though most people know iOS is short for iPhone OS, it looks a little odd in comparison. Apple’s obviously going for unification across its entire range of operating systems, so it’s likely that this will be the case.
iOS 13 has been something of a rollercoaster ride for users in terms of reliability. The OS has received, at the time of writing, 15 updates so far addressing bugs and problems, which is way above average.
Due to this, there are strong rumours that one of the main focus of iOS 14 will be overhauling the operating system and restoring the solid performance that has been the hallmark of iPhones for many years.
Changing default apps
Another popular rumour, and one we’d very much to see become a reality, is the possibility to change the default apps on iOS. Apple has always made its own software the ones that open when you click a link to send an email, open a webpage, get directions to an address, or want information from a voice assistant.
It seems that Apple might be intending to change this practice so you can set the default app yourself should you prefer Gmail over Apple Mail and so on.
Apple has yet to include 5G capabilities in its iPhone range. For this feature to appear in iOS 14, it would mean that at least one model in the new iPhone 12 lineup needs to include 5G technology. So, if we see this feature announced at WWDC it will be an indicator of what’s come on the hardware side in September.
For more on this rumour, read Three 2020 iPhones said to have 5G chips.
Another rumour suggests that Apple is working on translation capabilities for Safari, allowing those on iPhone and iPad to instantly translate entire web pages without the need for third-party apps or services. It has been a staple of Google Chrome for some time, so it’s good to see Apple considering it for Safari.
The difference is that Apple won’t stop at Safari. It has been suggested that the translation technology could be utilised by all built-in Apple apps, and will be powered by Apple’s A-series processors, providing translation capabilities without an active internet connection.
New UI tweaks
A few reports have emerged of Apple potentially moving away from the card-style window that opens up when you want to switch between apps. Instead, iOS 14 could adopt a grid-style graphic similar to that found on iPadOS. It would make sense to bring the two systems into some kind of harmony, so users switching between devices would find familiar layouts, so we think this one could become a reality in September.
Evidence of this comes from 91mobiles which posted a ‘leak’ video on YouTube showing how the feature works in what is thought to be a very early development version of iOS 14:
Apple has been long-rumoured to be working on a bundle that’d combine its subscription services at a lower cost – the news originally broke back in November 2019, with a Bloomberg source claiming it’d be happening in 2020, and a recent discovery by 9to5Mac suggests it could make an appearance in iOS 14.
Digging into the code of the iOS 13.5.5 beta, the site discovered references to a “bundle offer” and a “bundle subscription” that haven’t appeared in previous iterations in iOS. There’s not much detail about what the bundle would include, but some sources suggest it won’t include Apple’s headline subscription service, Apple Music.
The Financial Times reported in March 2020 that while Apple had reached a new agreement with record labels, there was no mention of the ability to bundle the streaming service with any other Apple service – namely Apple TV+ and News+, the company’s video streaming and news services.
Hopefully there are some headline features for iOS 14 that we don’t yet know about. If not, it looks to be very much a quality-of-life update rather than anything game-changing. Are you looking forward to the iOS 14 announcement? Let us know on Twitter.