5 things we love – and hate – about the 5 big­gest iOS 14 fea­tures

Some of the best parts of iOS 14 aren’t ob­vi­ous. Ja­son Cross re­ports

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

When you first up­grade to iOS 14, ei­ther in beta or when it re­leases in the au­tumn, you’ll be treated to some big ob­vi­ous im­prove­ments. The new, more cus­tom­iz­a­ble home screen with wid­gets and the App Li­brary will make an im­me­di­ate dif­fer­ence in how you use your iPhone. You’ll dis­cover the use­ful­ness of pic­ture‑in‑pic­ture video right away.

But some of iOS 14’s best fea­tures aren’t the ones Ap­ple pops up tu­to­rial cards for; they’re buried lay­ers

deep in Set­tings or hid­den be­hind in­ter­face ac­tions you don’t make every day. Some of the best stuff in iOS 14 you wouldn’t know about if some­one didn’t point it out.

Here are some of our favourite lesser‑known and hard‑to‑find fea­tures of iOS 14.

1. Head­phone Ac­com­mo­da­tions

If you open Set­tings > Ac­ces­si­bil­ity > Au­dio/Vis­ual, you’ll see a new set­ting up top for Head­phone Ac­com­mo­da­tions. This menu al­lows you to tweak the sound out­put on sup­ported Ap­ple and Beats head­phones to bring out vo­cals more or make the

sound ‘brighter’. A cus­tom au­dio set‑up func­tion will run a se­ries of A/B tests to help you hone in on just the right set­tings for you.

While this is in­tended to be an ac­ces­si­bil­ity fea­ture for those who are hard of hear­ing, it’s go­ing to re­ally im­prove sound qual­ity for mil­lions of peo­ple. As you age, you lose sen­si­tiv­ity to high fre­quency sound, and these set­tings can help re­store that when you lis­ten to mu­sic, watch video or talk on the phone.

2. Back tap

An­other ac­ces­si­bil­ity set­ting that ev­ery­one might find use­ful, iOS 14 al­lows you to set spe­cific func­tions to a dou­ble‑tap or triple‑tap on the back of your iPhone. Head to Set­tings > Ac­ces­si­bil­ity > Touch and look for Back Tap at the bot­tom of the screen. There’s a set list of sys­tem and ac­ces­si­bil­ity func­tions you can as­sign to dou­ble or triple taps, but you can also as­sign Short­cuts to them, which opens up the fea­ture to all kinds of pow­er­ful ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Here’s a neat trick: with the Google As­sis­tant

app in­stalled, you can cre­ate a Short­cut to in­voke it, and then set that Short­cut to a dou­ble‑ or triple‑tap.

3. Long-press back but­ton

If you’re six menus deep in an app and you want to go back to the top, you’ve got to tap the back but­ton in the up­per left again, and again, and again...

With iOS 14, you can press and hold the stan­dard up­per‑left Back but­ton to get a bread­crumbs list of all the pre­vi­ous pages. Sa­fari has long had this func­tion on its Back but­ton (in the lower left); you can think of this as Ap­ple ap­ply­ing the same in­ter­face con­ven­tion through­out iOS.

4. Sa­fari pri­vacy re­port

When you open a new tab in Sa­fari us­ing macOS Big Sur, you see a neat pri­vacy re­port where Ap­ple shows all the track­ers it has blocked for you.

This ex­ists on your iPhone with iOS 14, too! With Sa­fari open, on any page, tap the text/font/reader but­ton on the left side of the nav­i­ga­tion bar. At the bot­tom of this list, you’ll see Pri­vacy Re­port.

As with Sa­fari on macOS Big Sur, this shows the to­tal num­ber of track­ers pre­vented by Sa­fari, the

web­sites with the most track­ers, and the track­ers you’ve en­coun­tered most of­ten. It’s a great over­view of just how of­ten your ac­tiv­ity, and even iden­tity, is be­ing passed around on­line and just how of­ten Sa­fari stops that.

5. Mir­rored Self­ies

By de­fault, the front‑fac­ing cam­era on the iPhone shows you a re­versed im­age – text ap­pears back­wards, and things you do on your right hap­pen on the right side of the screen.

This is more in­tu­itive for set­ting up a shot, but it looks weird, so the ac­tual photo you take is not mir­rored. It is taken as if you were stand­ing where your phone is, look­ing at your sub­ject (usu­ally your­self): text is not re­versed, and any­thing on the left side of your body is on the right side of the pic­ture.

If you’d like to cap­ture ex­actly what you see on your screen, back­wards text and all, you can now do that. Just open Set­tings > Cam­era and tog­gle the new Mir­ror Front Cam­era tog­gle.

Even if you’re not hard of hear­ing, run­ning through the Hear­ing Ac­com­mo­da­tions setup can make your AirPods sound bet­ter

Dou­ble- or Triple-tap the back of your iPhone to launch a va­ri­ety of sys­tem func­tions, or even Short­cuts

Long-press any back but­ton in a menu to see a list of all pre­vi­ous menu screens

Sa­fari’s Pri­vacy Re­port lets you know just how many track­ers it’s block­ing

You now have the op­tion to save a selfie that is mir­rored, just as it ap­pears on screen in the Cam­era app

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