Cover Some of our favourite new features of Apple's iOS14 (photo: courtesy)

Upgrade your iPhone organisation, Health, car ownership experience, AirPods functionality and more with the latest iOS 14 upgrade from Apple

Apple's new and improved iOS rolled out around the world overnight (Hong Kong Time) and as of this morning, iPhone users should have at their disposal an entirely new and upgraded suite of tools. We upgraded our iPhones today and have already found five of our favourite new features in iOS 14—features that seem subtle, but will make huge impacts in improving our lives on a day-to-day basis. Here are reasons you should consider upgrading your iPhone iOS ASAP.

Related: Octopus Cards Can Be Linked With iPhones and Apple Watches

Widgets for All

How many apps does an average iPhone user have on their phone? A lot. And, without the alphabetical order sort order option that Android users have at their disposal, it can sometimes be difficult to browse and find apps without defaulting to the search option. Enter iOS 14's robust, expanded Widgets offering—redesigned widgets for Apple apps such as Weather, Clock, Calendar, Fitness, Photos, Reminders, Stocks, Music, TV, Notes, Shortcuts, Battery, Screen Time, Files, Podcasts, and Siri. In iOS 14, Widgets come in small, medium and large and can be placed anywhere in the Home Screen grid. Plus, Widgets can be stacked to make the most of screen real estate. Think of it as an upgraded app filing system for your Home Screen. 

For humans (like me) who've been wanting something scannable, like a "view all" option for apps, iOS 14 also includes an App Library feature, which displays after the last screen in your, uh, Home Screens. It showcases all your apps into one single view.

Translate, Even When You're Offline

Apple announced its Translate app back in June, but the 11-language tool only appeared on our iPhones this morning, after updating to iOS 14. Apple Translate offers online and offline always-on translation of speech and short text in: Chinese (Mandarin), English (British, American), French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, and Spanish.

Airpods, Streamlined

AirPods' functionality is instantly upgraded after the iOS 14 update. At the most basic level, switching AirPods connectivity between Apple devices is now nearly-seamless and smoother than before. Additional AirPods upgrades include a Motion API, which allows app developers to tap into user orientation, acceleration and rotation; optimised spatial audio, which creates a more "movie theatre"-like experience, with directional sound; and a new accessibility feature that helps sharpen and contrast sound and certain frequencies, helping make voices easier to hear and the overall audio experience clearer and crisper.

Car Keys, Bye

Remember just a few decades ago how if you locked your car keys in your car you'd have to call some car guy to come and possibly break your car window or ruin your lock just so you could drive home? Oh how times have changed—so many auto manufacturers now don't even require key insertion to start a car. Well, Apple sees your dongle proximity and raises the stakes. iOS 14 features digital car key functionality that allows drivers to unlock their vehicle from their iPhones or Apple Watches—and share their car keys via iMessage. Also coming next year: Apple will release an Ultra Wideband technology-based digital car key feature that will give drivers the ability to unlock "future car models" (the suspense!) without touching their iPhone.

Health, Improved

Apple doubles down on Health with the release of its latest Apple Watch 6 this month—and iOS 14 helps maximise wellness tracking with a suite of new features including:

  • Health checklist: Aggregates Apple Health tracking and tools into one place, where a user can monitor and gauge their overall state of wellbeing
  • Sleep goal-setting: The new Health app helps users set sleep goals, track their sleep (even better with the new Apple Watch sleep tracking functionalities), and provide recommendations for getting a better night's rest
  • Wind Down experience: Productivity gurus and bio-hackers have been touting morning routines and bedtime routines for decades—and there's a good reason why: creating a regular regimen signals to your body and your psyche that it's time to wrap up the day's activities. In iOS 14, Apple's Wind Down experience helps the user create and stick to an end-of-day routine—get ready for bed, and get a good night's sleep. Think: meditation and audio programming while your phone goes into Do Not Disturb mode for the evening. 
  • ECG: In iOS 14, the Health app supports ECG and other new data types, including for mobility and a symptoms tracker.
  • Hearing: If you've ever wondered whether you have the volume in your ears turned up too loud, now the Health app will let you know if you do. 
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