iOS14, macOS Big Sur and All the Updates From WWDC20

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Apple’s first ever virtual keynote was a huge one. Apple has made several massive changes to iOS14, macOS (now called Big Sur) and Safari. It also announced its moving on from Intel, with custom processors for Mac. There’s a lot to unpack, so without further ado, here’s a quick look at what’s new from WWDC20.


Home Screen: Users can now have widgets right in the home screen. There’s also a ‘smart stack’ that uses on-device intelligence to pick the widget based on time/location. There’s also a new ‘App Library’ view that automatically categorises apps. You can also hide pages you don’t want to view.

New Siri & Call Interface: Calls and Siri no longer take up the whole screen (yaaay!). They now appear like notifications at the top of the screen, and can be swiped away. Siri also gets an animation, before opening the requested app/info.

App Clips: There’s no more need to download an entire app, you can now complete a singular task through a Clip (like ordering food, unlocking a bike). Clips can be accessed through NFC, QR codes and social media.

Messages: You can now pin messages in iOS14/iPadOS14 and macOS Big Sur. Group threads can be customised with a photo/emoji. Just like WhatsApp, you get in-line replies. New Memoji customisations options coming.

Maps: Maps is getting support for cycling and electric vehicles. There’s also a ‘Curated Guides’ section for travellers.

CarKey: Users can lock/unlock and start their cars with digital car keys from the Wallet app. Keys can be shared, and disabled via iCloud. Currently, support is with NFC, but Apple is working to bake its ultra wideband tech into the feature in the future.

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Find My: Apple’s Find My app will now support third party accessories like Tile. Further details are yet to be announced, but it seems this will work through iCloud.

Picture in Picture: Apple is finally bringing PiP support for the iPhone. Just like the iPad, it will work across all apps and the home screen. Users will be able to hide the video and have the audio continue playing if they want.


Universal Search: The iPad is getting a universal search option, just like macOS. Users can search for apps, contact info, answers to questions through Safari and more straight from a new macOS-like search interface.

Redesigned Sidebars: The iPad is also taking a cue from the Mac’s sidebars. New sidebars are available in Photos, Files, Notes, Calendar, and Apple Music to consolidate navigation options.

Toolbars: Yup another macOS-inspired design choice. iPadOS14 includes new “streamlined toolbars and new pull-down menus provide access to app controls all in one place.

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Handwriting: If you love Scribble on watchOS, Apple brought the feature to the iPad with the Apple Pencil (English and Simplified Chinese only for now). Scribble works in any text field across all apps. Smart Selection can now also recognise handwriting, so you can select, copy and paste handwriting as text into another app. It can also recognise phone numbers, email IDs and addresses in handwriting.

Shape Recognition: Shape recognition allows users to draw shapes that are made geometrically perfect and snap right into place when adding useful diagrams and illustrations in Notes.

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Face Sharing: You can now share your favourite watch faces, and get exciting new ones through social media. Sharing also supports complications, and if you don’t have a particular app will be prompted to download it.

Face Updates: There’s a new ‘Chronograph Pro’ face with a tachymeter, X-Large face can now supports a single rich complication and the Photos face gets the ability to add colour filters.

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Complications: Developers can now create multiple complications per app, giving users more information on a single face. Apple is also bringing complications for its Camera Control, Sleep and Shortcuts apps.

Sleep Tracking: Sleep tracking finally comes to watchOS! Using the accelerometer, the Apple Watch can track sleep time and wake periods. All this data will be available on the Health app in iOS. In the morning, the wearer will see a visualisation of their previous night’s sleep. To support better sleep habits, Apple has added a ‘Wind down routine’ option in iOS, allowing users to create a customised routine before bed.

Hand Washing detection: It may be a little late for the pandemic, but the Apple Watch can now detect when a user is washing their hands. The Watch uses the motion sensors, microphone, and on-device machine learning to automatically detect hand washing motions and sounds. It then initiates a 20-second countdown timer, and if the user finishes early, they will be prompted to keep washing.

Workouts and Fitness: Apple has added four new workout types: Core Training, Dance, Functional Strength Training, and Cooldown. Apple has also rebranded the Activity app as Fitness, as well as introduced a new design. There’s now one tab for daily Activity, Workouts, Awards, and Activity Trends and another for sharing.

Hearing Health: watchOS now monitors headphones for audio levels, and can issue audio notifications. When total listening with headphones has reached 100 percent of the safe weekly listening amount (80 decibels for 40 hours as per WHO), Apple Watch provides a notification to the wearer.