iOS 14 brought loads of exciting additions and improvements to the iPhone. You can now add widgets right onto the Home screen, gain access to all installed apps via the new App Library, interact with a compact version of Siri, and more. Don’t forget to check the entire list of 100+ iOS 14 features here. That said, iOS 14 also provides numerous options, settings, and subtle tweaks that help enhance your iPhone experience. Let’s dig in and check out the best iOS 14 tips and tricks that you can start using right away.
iOS 14 Tips and Tricks
1. Build Smart Stacks
iOS 14 lets you insert a Smart Stack of widgets from the widgets gallery. But did you know that you could also build your very own Smart Stack from scratch?
Simply drag a similarly-sized widget over another to start building one. Just like the standard Smart Stack, it will also rotate automatically based on usage patterns. You can build as many Smart Stacks as you want.
2. Hide Unwanted Apps
Have apps that you hardly ever use? Rather than deleting or tucking them away into a folder, just hide them within the App Library instead. Long-press the app that you want to hide, tap Remove App, and then tap Move to App Library.
You can access hidden apps easily via the App Library (swipe to the right from the last Home screen page) or the iPhone’s Search functionality.
3. Hide Home Screen Pages
Apps aside, iOS 14 also lets you hide entire Home screen pages. Start jiggling the Home screen, tap the strip of dots that denotes the number of Home screen pages, and then uncheck the Home screen pages that you want to hide.
4. Jiggle Apps From Anywhere
Forget holding down app icons for ages to jiggle them. In iOS 14, simply long-press (or 3D-press) any vacant area within the Home screen to get those apps dancing.
5. Use Back Tap
iOS 14 comes with a nifty accessibility setting dubbed Back Tap. It lets you bind various system-related features, gestures, and shortcuts, which you can then activate by tapping the back of the iPhone twice or thrice. Head over to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap to start binding actions.
You don’t have to have the latest iPhone either — any iPhone that runs iOS 14 supports Back Tap.
6. Identify Privacy-Invasive Apps
In iOS 14, you gain access to a slew of privacy and security-related features. One such feature is the iPhone’s ability to notify an active camera or microphone in the form of green or orange-colored status indicators.
If the indicators start lighting up for no obvious reason, bring up the Control Center to figure out the exact app that is using (or last used) the camera or microphone.
7. Easily Check Audio Level
iOS 14 comes with a new Control Center addition dubbed Hearing that makes it easier to protect your hearing while using a pair of wireless headphones.
Start by adding Hearing to the Control Center — go to Settings > Control Center to do that. Then, bring up the Control Center while playing music and the Hearing icon will denote audio output in green (safe) or yellow (unsafe).
You can also long-press the icon to figure out the exact audio level in terms of decibels. iOS 14 deems anything over 80 decibels as unsafe.
8. Take Mirrored Selfies
Hate seeing selfies flip the other way after shooting them? Turn on the Mirror Front Camera option via Settings > Camera, and you get to capture selfies exactly as they appear within the viewfinder.
9. Pin Conversations in Messages
iOS 14’s Messages app lets you pin conversations to the top of the screen — swipe any conversation to the right, and then tap the pin-shaped icon. You can do that to a total of nine conversations.
10. Quickly Change Video Quality
Hated having to dive into the Settings app whenever you wanted to adjust the camera’s video resolution? With iOS 14, you don’t have to anymore.
Instead, just tap the video quality indicator to the upper-right corner of the Camera app (while in Video mode) to quickly cycle through supported capture resolutions.
11. Send E.T.A. via Siri
Loving the compact Siri UI in iOS 14? She’s also much smarter. While using the Maps app, simply shout out Hey Siri, Share my ETA with [contact’s name] to quickly share your E.T.A. with a contact.
12. Bring Up History Stack
Whenever you are buried deep within a native iPhone app (such as Settings), simply long-press the option to go back to bring up the history stack. Then, glide your finger along the stack to jump back pages quickly.
13. Dismiss Calls Without Rejecting
The compact incoming call notifications in iOS 14 are a huge improvement. But did you know that you could also dismiss calls without rejecting them? Just swipe them upward.
14. Enable or Disable Precise Location
To improve your privacy, iOS 14 lets you determine whether an app has access to your precise or approximate location. Head over to Settings > Privacy > Location Services to enable or disable Precise Location for installed apps.
Just don’t turn off Precise Location for essential apps such as Maps or Find My unless you have a solid reason to do so.
15. Watch Videos in Picture-in-Picture Mode
Did you know that you could use Picture-in-Picture mode to watch videos while using other apps? While playing a video, just quit to the Home screen to bring it up in Picture-in-Picture mode. You can also watch YouTube videos this way.
Here’s a complete guide to using Picture-in-Picture mode on the iPhone.
16. Use Mentions in Group Messages
Finally, the Messages app lets you use mentions to grab the attention of specific contacts in noisy group chats. Just type @[name] before typing your message.
17. Translate in Conversation Mode
iOS 14 comes with a new Translate app that allows you to, well, translate languages. However, it also comes with a Conversation Mode that lets you converse with others in real-time. But where is it?
Open the Translate app, and then hold your iPhone in landscape view to switch to Conversation Mode.
18. Notify in Messages
Have a habit of muting group chats? You can still choose to be notified whenever someone mentions you by name. Head over to Settings > Messages, and then turn on Notify Me.
19. Send Audio Messages via Siri
Did you know that you could record and send voice messages without lifting a finger? Thanks to Siri, you now can. Just say Send an audio message to [Contact Name] to start recording a voice message. Then, say Send.
20. Set Key Photo for Albums
iOS 14 lets you set any image within an album as the key photo. Simply long-press an image and tap Make Key Photo.
21. Set Photos App Permissions
Third-party apps no longer need to have complete access to your photos library. Instead, you can restrict them to any particular photo or album.
Head over to Settings > Privacy > Photos to manage photo permissions.
22. Quickly Filter Emojis
Having trouble locating that perfect emoji? After bringing up the emoji keyboard, use the new Search Emoji feature to filter out emojis using common keywords.
23. Use Autoplay in Apple Music
The Music app in iOS 14 now lets you keep the music playing even after the end of a playlist or album. This new Autoplay feature uses tracks from within and outside your library, helping you discover new music.
Bring up the Now Playing screen, tap the Up Next icon, and you can choose to either enable or disable Autoplay.
24. Perform QuickTake Videos
The iPhone 11 series allowed you to shoot videos simply by holding down the Shutter icon. With iOS 14, the QuickTake feature is also available on the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS series. Kudos, Apple!
25. Translate Websites in Safari
The new Translate app aside, Safari also lets you translate foreign websites directly while viewing them. To do that, bring up the Safari’s aA menu, and then tap Translate to English.
26. Disable Share Sheet Contact Suggestions
iOS 13 introduced contact suggestions in the Share Sheet. If you didn’t like that, then iOS 14 lets you get rid of them quickly. Go to Settings > Siri & Search, and then turn off the switch next to Suggestions when Sharing.
27. Search Apps in Storage Menu
Looking to manage the storage on your iPhone? Head over to Settings > General > iPhone Storage, and you should now see a new Search icon that lets you quickly filter apps by name.
28. Watch YouTube in 4K
iOS 14 supports Google’s VP9 codec, which means that you can finally watch YouTube in stunning 4K. Simply start playing a 4K video in the YouTube app, and you should see the 2160p streaming option listed within the quality selection menu.
29. Enhance Recorded Voice Memos
Finished recording a memo? iOS 14’s Voice Memos app lets you quickly enhance the audio quality by toning down background noise. Get to the Edit Recording screen, and then tap the wand-shaped Enhance Recording icon to do that.
30. Use FaceTime Eye Contact
Last year, Apple introduced Attention Correction in early iOS 13 beta builds but ditched it in the stable release. Basically, it gave FaceTime video call participants the impression as if they were directly looking at each other instead of at their cameras.
iOS 14 reintroduces it as Eye Contact. Head into Settings > FaceTime to enable or disable it.
31. Add Photo Captions
While viewing any photo within the Photos app, swipe upward to start adding captions. Your captions will also sync over to other devices if you have iCloud Photos enabled.
32. Smart Stack to Dumb Stack
You can stop the Smart Stack of widgets from automatically rotating your widgets — long-press the Smart Stack, tap Edit Stack, and then turn off the switch next to Smart Rotate.
33. Unhide Hidden Album in Photos
In iOS 14, you can no longer see the Hidden Album in the Photos app. It’s now ‘hidden’ by default, which is probably how it should’ve been all along.
Head into Settings > Photos, and then turn on the switch next to Hidden Album in case you want to unhide it.
34. Search in Music Library
The Music app in iOS 14 features a hidden search bar in the Library. Tap on a category (Playlists, Albums, Artists, etc.), and then swipe down to bring it up. Makes locating stuff much easier.
35. Use Private MAC Address
iOS 14 lets you mask the MAC address of your iPhone with a private address, preventing network operators from tracking you.
Go to Settings > Wi-Fi, access the current Wi-Fi connection’s settings screen, and then use the switch next to Private Address to enable or disable the feature.
36. Receive Sound Notifications
Sound Recognition is another new accessibility setting that identifies and notifies you of a range of sounds. This has multiple use cases — for example, you may want to be notified if someone knocks on the door while wearing headphones.
Head into Settings > Accessibility > Sound Recognition to set up the feature. You can also choose to add a Sound Recognition toggle to the Control Center.
37. Press Volume Up for Burst Mode
iOS 14 lets you shoot photos in burst mode with the Volume Up button. Head into Settings > Camera, and then turn on the switch next to Use Volume Up for Burst Mode to enable the feature.
38. Plan Cycling Trips With Apple Maps
Before you plan your next cycling trip, you may want to head over to the Apple Maps app. It’s now updated with cycling paths and includes information such as elevation changes and inclines, which helps a lot when it comes to picking the best routes.
At the time of writing, the feature is only available in a handful of cities that only includes New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai, and Beijing.
39. Change Default Browser and Email Client
iOS 14 will finally let you change the default browser and email client. If you want to set Chrome as the default browser on your iPhone, for example, head over to Settings > Chrome > Default Browser App and select Chrome on the menu that follows.
However, iOS 14’s Safari is a seriously good browser, so you may want to think twice before ditching it for good.
iOS 14: Up Your Game
iOS 14 is an absolute treat to use and improves how you go about using your iPhone in almost every way. Here’s how to install iOS 14 on your iPhone right now.
So, know of any other cool tips and tricks? Sound off in the comments below.
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