Apple has published its 2021 update to its Platform Security guide today along with refreshing the Apple Platform Security landing page. The latest guide goes in-depth on the new and updated security features that have arrived with iOS 14, macOS 11 Big Sur, Apple Silicon Macs, watchOS 7, and more. Apple has also launched an all-new Security Certifications and Compliance Center website and guide.
Apple has long held that secure software necessitates the foundation of security built into hardware. With the shift to using its own custom Apple Silicon in its first three M1 Macs starting last fall, the company has been able to realize that goal across its entire lineup of devices.
2021 Apple Platform Security guide
Device security is a never-ending mission and the latest Apple Platform Security guide details all the effort and changes Apple has implemented over the last year – highlighted by the guide growing 39 pages with this edition to a total of 196.
This documentation provides details about how security technology and features are implemented within Apple platforms. It also helps organizations combine Apple platform security technology and features with their own policies and procedures to meet their specific security needs.
While there a number of security updates that apply to existing/older devices, Apple Silicon has been notable with the M1 Macs allowing Apple to step up security to new levels when it comes to Data Protection via a rebuilt FileVault, System integrity, password protection, and more.
Another notable change in the last year has been the advanced BlastDoor security for iMessage (not specifically mentioned in the new security guide). While it was just recently discovered as present in iOS 14, we’ve learned Apple has built it into macOS Big Sur as well. It’s a totally under the hood change that users won’t notice, but it’s the biggest security improvement to iMessage since the service got end-to-end encryption.
Check out all the new topics added to the Apple Platform Security guide this year:
Memory safe iBoot implementation
Boot process for a Mac with Apple silicon
Boot modes for a Mac with Apple silicon
Startup Disk security policy control for a Mac with Apple silicon
LocalPolicy signing-key creation and management
Contents of a LocalPolicy file for a Mac with Apple silicon
Signed system volume security in macOS
Apple Security Research Device
Car keys security in iOS
And here are all the security topics that have been updated:
Hardware microphone disconnect
recoveryOS and diagnostics environments for an Intel-based Mac
Direct memory access protections for Mac computers
The iOS 14.5 developer and public beta includes a number of new features and changes, but one of the most exciting is the ability to unlock iPhone with your Apple Watch when Face ID detects you’re wearing a mask. Let’s look at how to install the iOS 14.5 beta as well as watchOS 7.4 beta to get access to this useful new feature and more.
The new feature getting the most attention is the Unlock with Apple Watch feature for iPhone. It works by detecting when you’re wearing a face mask and using your watch to authenticate, letting you bypass your passcode.
How to install iOS 14.5 beta and watchOS 7.4 beta
Note: watchOS 7.4 beta required to use the new Unlock with Apple Watch for iPhone feature.
Upgrade to the iOS 14.5 public beta
Make sure you have a fresh backup for your iPhone (Apple recommends with your Mac)
Apple released iOS 14.5 beta 1 to developers, and as you’ve no doubt heard, it’s quite the update. Headlined by the ability to unlock your iPhone with Apple Watch while wearing a face mask, iOS 14.5 beta 1 brings forth a number of practical improvements and overall enhancements to iPhone. Watch our hands-on commentary as we discuss the top iOS 14.5 beta 1 changes and features.
What’s new in iOS 14.5 beta 1?
Updated Software Update screens
Both the Software Update page in the Settings app and the Watch app have received more informative details regarding updates. Apple now includes a green check mark to indicate that you’re on the latest version of software, along with a message stating that “Your iPhone is up to date with all of the latest bug fixes and security enhancements.” In addition, iOS 14.5 now displays a time stamp that shows the last time you successfully checked for an update.
Unlock with Apple Watch
As noted, the biggest feature to come to iOS 14.5 is support for Apple Watch Unlock when Face ID detects a face with a mask. Users must be wearing an unlocked Apple Watch protected by a passcode in order for the feature to work. When attempting to unlock your iPhone using Face ID while wearing a face mask, you’ll feel a vibration on your Apple Watch, along with a notification that your iPhone was unlocked successfully.
Horizontal boot screen iPad
When connected to the Magic Keyboard, iPadOS 14.5 will display the startup Apple logo in horizontal/landscape mode instead of the default portrait orientation. If you restart your iPad when disconnected from the Magic Keyboard, even if you’re holding the device in landscape mode, the startup screen will appear in portrait mode.
As a side note, iPadOS 14.5 now supports emoji search, which iPhone users have been enjoying since iOS 14’s release, but has been inexplicably missing on iPad up until now.
Cellular connectivity updates
One of the biggest changes found in iOS 14.5 is the ability to enable dual SIM functionality while maintaining 5G connectivity. In previous versions of iOS, enabling the iPhone 12’s dual SIM feature would cause cellular connectivity to fall back to standard LTE. With iOS 14.5, users have the option of keeping both connections active simultaneously while still enjoying the benefits of 5G.
In addition to 5G dual SIM support, iOS 14.5 surfaces a new 5G Standalone cellular switch in system settings. Initial 5G implementations piggybacked on existing LTE networks to speed up adoption of 5G, but this method imposes propagation limits based on the LTE limitations. With Standalone (or SA) 5G, the limits of LTE are no longer in play. Keep in mind that your carrier will need to support 5G SA, and Apple warns that enabling SA at this early stage may cause degraded performance.
Apple Music updates
Apple Music gets some noteworthy updates in iOS 14.5, headlined by a new “Made For You” section under the Library tab. Made For You houses all of the algorithmic-curated music suggestions that are normally found within playlists like Favorites Mix, Chill Mix, and New Music Mix within the Listen Now tab.
Another handy feature found in iOS 14.5 is the inclusion of release dates for all music content featured on Apple Music. Prior versions of iOS would showcase release info, but in this latest beta version of iOS, users are treated with the exact release month, day, and year.
Users will also be happy to know that the scrolling metadata view on the Now Playing Lock Screen interface has now returned. This is a big improvement over the truncated metadata view that’s been around in the last few versions.
Reminders app enhancements
It’s crazy that we’ve not been able to sort Reminders based on parameters like modification date or title up until now, but at least we finally receive such features in iOS 14.5. Users can still sort reminder lists manually, but now there are several metadata sorting options, along with ascending and descending preferences.
The ability to directly print a reminders list joins the updated sorting options, allowing users to quickly send a list to a configured AirPrint printer.
Updated Podcast app
The stock Podcasts app gets lots of subtle changes and enhancements alongside a bigger update to the look and feel of the official show page for each podcast. New enhancements include a full-bleed header with color-matched backgrounds and a refreshed Library page with new glyphs.
Apple Fitness+ Workouts AirPlay 2 support
AirPlay 2 compatibility comes to Apple Fitness+ workouts, allowing users to stream workouts directly to an AirPlay 2-compatible set-top box or television. The problem with this method, as opposed to just playing on an Apple TV or iPad, is that you lose on-screen metric support. But that might not be a huge deal since metric details remain readily available on your Apple Watch.
Maps app redesigned guides
Apple has redesigned the Guides feature on the Maps app, which now includes a full-bleed header, redesigned buttons, and beautiful animations when minimizing and maximizing each guide.
PS5 / Xbox Series X controller support
Support for next-generation console controllers, including the Playstation 5 Dual Sense controller and the Xbox Series X controller, is now available in 14.5. Next-gen controller support is a welcome new addition for controller-compatible Apple Arcade games, and for taking advantage of console-centric remote play features.
Dedicated Search tab in News app
Similar to the Search tab in the Music app and TV app, the News app gains a dedicated search interface for quickly finding channels, topics, or stories.
Siri interface updates
Those using the Type to Siri accessibility option will notice an updated interface that no longer opens to a dedicated Siri screen, allowing the user to maintain context of their current position in iOS. This update is similar to the changes first implemented in iOS 14 when invoking Siri using voice. You’ll also find an updated interface that appears when sending iMessages via Siri.
Apple Card updates
Although these updates are not-yet user facing, we’ve also highlighted a couple of forthcoming changes related to Apple Card:
Apple Card Family feature for multi-user accounts
New financial health features coming to the Wallet app
Facebook continues to panic about upcoming privacy changes in iOS 14. The company has sent a new email to businesses today informing them that it has no choice but to comply with the iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature. Otherwise, Apple could remove Facebook from the App Store completely.
As first reported by iMore, Facebook has sent another round of emails to businesses informing them that while it disagrees with Apple’s planned changes, it has no choice but to follow them. Facebook says that the App Tracking Transparency feature, which requires apps to obtain consent from users before tracking them across other websites and apps, will have “hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness.”
The company also says that it believes “personalized ads and user privacy can coexist,” which is also a claim Apple has made. The two companies clearly have different versions of what constitutes “user privacy,” though.
Apple’s requirement that all apps in the App Store show a prompt to iOS 14 users in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework will have hard-hitting implications across targeting, optimization, and measuring campaign effectiveness for businesses that advertise on mobile devices and across the web. Apple’s changes will benefit them, while hurting the industry and the ability for businesses of all sizes to market themselves efficiently and grow through personalized advertising. We believe that personalized ads and user privacy can coexist.
Also in the email, Facebook tells businesses that it has “no choice” but to show the prompt seen at the top of this story. Otherwise, Facebook tells businesses that it believes Apple could block Facebook and its other apps from the App Store completely.
Facebook told businesses that whilst it disagrees with Apple’s solution, it has ‘no choice’ but to show the opt-in prompt and to continue using Apple’s device identifier for advertising. The company states that it believes Apple could block Facebook and its other apps from the App Store if it doesn’t comply, bringing ‘further harm to the businesses and users that rely on our services.’
Finally, Facebook says that if users do opt out of tracking, there could be a reduction in “ad effectiveness and limitations on measurements.”
This is not the first time Facebook has warned businesses about the potential impact of the new iOS 14 App Tracking Transparency feature. Last month, Facebook was warning users about the impacts on marketing efforts. Facebook also took out a full-page ad in US newspapers to slam Apple’s changes.
The ads claim that Facebook is standing up to the iPhone maker on behalf of small businesses …
Facebook has published a blog post with more details. It also says it will back Epic Games in its ongoing legal battle over the App Store.
Facebook Inc. attacked Apple Inc. in a series of full-page newspaper ads Wednesday, claiming the iPhone maker’s anticipated mobile software changes around data gathering and targeted advertising are bad for small businesses.
The ads, slated to run in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, carry the headline “We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere.” They home in on upcoming changes to Apple’s iOS 14 operating system that will curb the ability of companies like Facebook to gather data about mobile users and ply them with advertising.
The attack relates to the fact that iOS will next year force apps to ask for permission if they want to use ad-tracking. It’s expected that most users will refuse, which will mean apps won’t be able to easily offer personalized ads. Ads reflecting user interests earn more money for app developers than generic ads.
The change will significantly impact Facebook, as the ads it carries in the app will be worth less. The social network claims, however, that it doesn’t have its own interests in mind: it is instead standing up for small businesses.
The ad reads:
We’re standing up to Apple for small businesses everywhere
At Facebook, small business is at the core of our business. More than 10 million businesses use our advertising tools each month to find new customers, hire employees and engage with their communities.
Many in the small business community have shared concerns about Apple’s forced software update, which will limit businesses’ ability to run personalized ads and reach their customers effectively.
Forty-four percent of small to medium businesses started or increased their usage of personalized ads on social media during the pandemic, according to a new Deloitte study. Without personalized ads, Facebook data shows that the average small business advertiser stands to see a cut of over 60% in their sales for every dollar they spend.
While limiting how personalized ads can be used does impact larger companies like us, these changes will be devastating to small businesses, adding to the many challenges they face right now.
Small businesses deserve to be heard. We hear your concerns, and we stand with you. Join us at fb.com/SpeakUpForSmall
This is an unconvincing tack the company has taken before. Back in October, CEO Mark Zuckerberg made the claim while warning investors of the likely hit to its own ad revenues.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took aim at Apple on Thursday over its plans to limit advertisers’ ability to track iPhone users, suggesting the proposed changes could hurt small businesses and, by extention, the broader economy.
During Facebook’s quarterly earnings call, Zuckerberg told investors that “actions planned by platform companies like Apple could have a meaningful negative effect on small businesses and economic recovery in 2021 and beyond” […]
Zuckerberg argued that “personalized advertising is helping small businesses find customers, grow their businesses and create jobs,” and that measures to limit targeted ads, such as those by Apple and lawmakers in the European Union, would hurt those businesses’ ability to reach customers.
It follows the company yesterday taking a swipe at Apple in a statement to Reuters about planned European legislation known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which would force Apple to offer a more level playing field between its own apps and third-party ones.
“We hope the DMA will also set boundaries for Apple,” a Facebook spokesman said. “Apple controls an entire ecosystem from device to app store and apps, and uses this power to harm developers and consumers, as well as large platforms like Facebook,” he said.
Some are suggesting that Facebook is trying to divert attention from its continuing privacy woes over its spyware app pitched as a free VPN service. Reuters reports that Australia plans to fine Facebook over the app.
Sources close to Apple tell us the company is not opposed to ad-tracking, but simply wants it to be transparent to users.
The App Tracking Transparency feature will roll out sometime in early 2021. Apple had originally hoped to launch it with iOS 14 in September, but it ended up delaying the feature to give developers more time to prepare.
a coalition of eight civil and human rights organizations penned an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook regarding the company’s decision to delay the release of the new App Tracking Transparency feature in iOS 14.
Apple has now responded to that letter, doubling down on its privacy practices and offering more color on the decision to delay the App Tracking Transparency feature in the first place.
In a letter sent to the Ranking Digital Rights organization, Apple’s Jane Horvath, senior director of global privacy, reiterated that the company believes that “privacy is a fundamental human right.” Horvath explains that Apple delayed the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature in an effort to give developers more time to prepare for the changes.
The letter also confirms that the App Tracking Transparency feature, which is designed to allow users to disable tracking between different applications, is still coming next year. Once in effect, developers will also be required to ask for permission before tracking a user across apps or websites.
“We delayed the release of ATT to early next year to give developers the time they indicated they needed to properly update their systems and data practices, but we remain fully committed to ATT and to our expansive approach to privacy protections. We developed ATT for a single reason: because we share your concerns about users being tracked without their consent and the bundling and reselling of data by advertising networks and data brokers.”
Horvath goes on to emphasize that App Tracking Transparency features don’t prevent advertising, but rather encourages advertising that respects privacy:
“Advertising that respects privacy is not only possible, it was the standard until the growth of the Internet. Some companies that would prefer ATT is never implemented have said that this policy uniquely burdens small businesses by restricting advertising options, but in fact, the current data arms race primarily benefits big businesses with big data sets. Privacy-focused ad networks were the universal standard in advertising before the practice of unfettered data collection began over the last decade or so. Our hope is that increasing user demands for privacy and security, as well as changes like ATT, will make these privacy-forward advertising standards robust once more.”
Furthermore, Horvath has sharp criticism for Facebook, saying that the social network has “made clear” that its intent is to “collect as much data as possible” on its users:
“By contrast, Facebook and others have a very different approach to targeting. Not only do they allow the grouping of users into smaller segments, they use detailed data about online browsing activity to target ads. Facebook executives have made clear their intent is to collect as much data as possible across both first and third party products to develop and monetize detailed profiles of their users, and this disregard for user privacy continues to expand to include more of their products.”
On the flip side, Facebook has criticized the App Tracking Transparency feature and said it could cause ad revenue to drop as much as 40%. Facebook has reportedly met with advertising partners to discuss the impact the change will have on advertising when users have the ability to easily opt-out of cross-platform tracking.
Apple emphasizes again today that advertising that protects user privacy is possible. For example, Apple gives users the ability to disable ad personalization based on first-party data in the Settings app. For users with Personalized Ads enabled, Apple groups together users with similar characteristics, which ensures that a campaign can’t identify a given user.
Once available in 2021, the App Tracking Transparency feature will be accessible by opening the Settings app, then looking for the Privacy menu, and looking for the Tracking section. Apple also says that its new “nutrition labels” for app privacy will be required in the App Store starting on December 8.
Following the release of iOS 14.3 last month, Apple today stopped signing both iOS 14.2 and iOS 14.2.1 — which was only available for iPhone 12 models. That means users who have updated their devices to iOS 14.3 can no longer downgrade to iOS 14.2.
Among all the changes of iOS 14.3, the most notable one is the addition of the ProRAW photo format for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Apple announced the ProRAW feature for the new iPhones during its October event last year, but the feature was only released to users months later.
As for iOS 14.2, the updates brought new emojis, more wallpapers, and support for the HomePod Intercom feature. iOS 14.2.1 arrived a few days later with specific bug fixes for iPhone 12 models.
Reverting to older iOS builds is common for those with jailbroken devices. Restoring an iPhone or iPad to a previous version of iOS can sometimes be helpful for users who experience significant bugs after upgrading to the latest version of iOS.
If you have experienced any serious issues with iOS 14.3, unfortunately you’ll now have to wait until a future update is available rather than downgrading to iOS 14.2. The only possible downgrade for now is from the recently released iOS 14.4 beta to iOS 14.3.
Apple’s iOS 14 home screen widgets have been a huge hit going beyond the tech community and making their way into the mainstream. We’ve seen some awesome options like Widgetsmith and Pastel to make custom widgets, and Clear Spaces is another handy app to create a customized home screen layout with transparent iPhone widgets.
Using stock or custom widgets is a great way to create a personalized iPhone home screen, but you’re typically still locked into filling up the entire screen with apps or widgets.
There have been some solutions to create invisible app icons to color-match your home screen, making them blend in but taking up an app space to allow for custom layouts (without jailbreaking). But one of the limitations has been that for the best results, you need to use a solid, or mostly solid wallpaper.
Enter Clear Spaces for iPhone, an app that allows you to create custom transparent widgets that work with any wallpaper background. For now, options are 2×2 or 2×4 (small and medium) widgets. Another app that you can pair with Clear Spaces if you want even more options is Transparent App Icons. As the name implies, you can create individual transparent apps.
Back to Clear Spaces, it works by taking a screenshot of your wallpaper, placing the widget based on the wallpaper, and then selecting what part of the screenshot the transparent widget should mirror.
The developers behind the app Marko Crnkovic and Aurther Nadeem (WWDC scholarship winners) are also working on an option to remove the “Clear Spaces” text under the widgets in a beta version.
A conspiracy theory being spread on Facebook and other social media platforms this week claims that iOS 14 widgets are actually serving as key loggers, tracking everything you type on your iPhone. This is unequivocally not true, and there are technical limitations and protections in place that prevent widgets from accessing your data.
The viral post on Facebook has been screenshotted and shared to other social media platforms. On Twitter, a tweet with a screenshot of the original Facebook post has over 7,000 retweets and 8,000 likes. Screenshots have also gone viral on Instagram.
The Facebook post comes from an iPhone user who claims to have noticed that their “keyboard would lag and wouldn’t show the characters” as they were being typed, as well as other issues like app crashes and generally laggy performance.
The Facebook post also cites the security code autofill feature of iOS as evidence the app is tracking what they type.
iOS 12’s new security code auto-fill feature works
Another piece of misinformation gaining social media traction is that iOS 14 and/or home screen widgets are responsible for compromised passwords. The misconception here is that a lot of iOS 14 users are receiving a push notification upon updating informing them that their passwords may have been involved in a data breach.
The passwords were likely compromised in a data breach that occurred before you even installed iOS 14. Apple added data breach notifications to the built-in iOS password manager as a way to make users more informed about the security of their various online accounts.
iOS 14: iCloud Keychain now alerts users about leaked passwords
The Facebook user and other social posts all jump to the conclusion that these pieces of evidence are “all signs of a key logger.” This is not true, as it is technically impossible for widgets to access your keyboard data or virtually any other data about you.
How iOS 14 widgets work
iOS 14 home screen widgets have a variety of limitations and protections in place for things like privacy and battery life. These protections are also why you might notice widgets don’t continuously update but rather at predefined intervals.
Widgets in iOS 14 are not full-blown applications; in fact, Apple has went as far as to say they aren’t even “mini-apps.” Instead, the WidgetKit developer framework provides a limited set of tools that developers can tap into when designing and developing their home screen widgets.
Essentially, widgets run in the background very briefly to update the display content at a pre-defined interval. Once the content has been updated, the background process is killed entirely, ensuring that there is no way a widget can gather any data continuously.
Widgets are not mini-apps, so think through a glanceable experience for your user and use timelines, the concept of reloads, and intelligence to create the perfect experience on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.
Widgets use SwiftUI views to display their content. WidgetKit renders the views on your behalf in a separate process. As a result, your widget extension is not continually active, even if the widget is onscreen.
If widgets were allowed to run continuously without restrictions, there would not only be privacy implications but also a dramatic impact on battery life and performance. All of these reasons are why Apple put these limitations in place with WidgetKit.
In fact, generally speaking, sandboxing protection within iOS also prevents any sort of key logger application, regardless of whether or not widgets are used.
The viral Facebook post particularly mentions Widgetsmith as the cause of these issues, but again, there are absolutely no facts behind these accusations.
I’ve seen a number of references to an article being circulated on Facebook that apps like Widgetsmith must include key loggers because of keyboard issues experienced after installing iOS 14. For Widgetsmith I can state categorically and absolutely that this is not true.
Leaving for a moment that I don’t think that is technically possible for a widget to read the keyboard. Widgetsmith was built from the ground up with complete privacy in mind and collects essentially no data about its users.
If you are experiencing laggier performance after installing iOS 14, there are several possible explanations. One of the most common causes of slow iPhone performance is a low amount of available storage.
It’s also important to remember that iOS 14 is a brand new release, and there are likely to be bugs and performance issues. Apple released iOS 14.0.1 with bug fixes last week, so make sure that you’ve updated to that for the best possible experience.
Finally, laggy keyboard performance has been one of the most common iOS 14 complaints since beta testing started in June. The keyboard isn’t laggy because of so-called key logger apps; it’s glitchy because of system-level bugs.
Trust the privacy protections that Apple has put in place and customize your home screen to your heart’s content.
Widgets are beautifully redesigned in iOS 14, giving users timely information at a glance right on the Home Screen pages.
iOS 14 reimagines the iPhone experience, delivering a major update to the Home Screen with beautifully redesigned widgets and the App Library, new ways to use apps with App Clips, and powerful updates to Messages. iOS 14 is available today as a free software update.
“Together with iPhone, iOS is central to how we navigate our lives and stay connected, and we are making it even more powerful and easier to use in iOS 14, with the biggest update ever to the Home Screen,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “We are thrilled to see the incredible ways developers are taking advantage of widgets and App Clips to create new experiences that we think customers are going to love.”
Redesigned Home Screen Pages
New widgets present timely information at a glance and can be added in different sizes on any Home Screen page. Users can choose a Smart Stack of widgets, which uses on-device intelligence to surface the right widget based on time, location, and activity. For example, users might see the News widget in the morning, Calendar events during the day, and their Fitness summary in the evening. Home Screen pages can be customized to show apps and widgets for work, entertainment, sports, and other areas of interest.
At the end of the Home Screen pages is the App Library, a new space that automatically organizes all of a user’s apps into one simple, easy-to-navigate view, and intelligently surfaces apps that are helpful in the moment. Users can also hide Home Screen pages for quicker access to the App Library.
The App Library makes it easier for users to get to all of their apps with a simple, easy-to-navigate view at the end of the Home Screen pages.
All-New Compact Design for Incoming Calls and Siri
Incoming FaceTime and phone calls and Siri interactions take on an all-new compact design that enables users to stay in the context of what they are doing. With Picture-in-Picture support, iPhone users can now watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.
iOS 14 delivers an all-new compact design that lets users multitask while receiving calls, asking Siri a question, or watching videos.
With Picture-in-Picture, users can watch a video or take a FaceTime call while using another app.
The Siri experience is redesigned to let users stay in the context of what they are doing.
App Clips Bring New Ways to Discover and Use Apps
An App Clip is a small part of an app that is designed to be discovered the moment it is needed. App Clips are associated with a particular product or business, and load within seconds to complete a specific task, such as ordering takeout or filling up the car with gas. They can be easily discovered and accessed by scanning a new Apple-designed App Clip code,1 or through NFC tags and QR codes, or shared in Messages or from Safari, all with the security and privacy expected from apps.
App Clips are fast and easy to discover and allow users to access part of an app the moment they need it.
Powerful Updates to Messages
Messages is central to communicating with friends and family, and now it’s easier to stay connected and quickly access important messages. Users can pin conversations to the top of their messages list, easily keep up with lively group threads through mentions and inline replies, and further customize conversations by setting a group photo using an image or emoji. New Memoji options in Messages are even more inclusive and diverse with additional hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.
Favorite conversations can be pinned to the top of a Messages list, with recent messages, Tapbacks, and typing indicators featured right above the pin.
iOS 14 delivers new customization options including additional hairstyles, headwear, face coverings, and more.
Greener Ways to Explore and New Guides in Maps
Maps makes it easier than ever to navigate and explore with new cycling directions, electric vehicle routing, and curated Guides. Cycling directions take into account elevation, how busy a street is, and whether there are stairs along the route. Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types.2 Guides provide a curated list of interesting places to visit in a city, created by a selection of trusted resources. Guides are a great way to find popular attractions, discover restaurants, and explore new recommendations from respected brands.
Maps offers cycling directions along bike lanes, bike paths, and bike-friendly roads.
Electric vehicle routing adds charging stops along a planned route based on current vehicle charge and charger types.
Guides make it easy to find things to do in a city, experience great new restaurants, or places to visit on vacation.
More Transparency and Control with Expanded Privacy Features
Now users can choose to share their approximate location with app developers rather than their precise location when granting an app location access, and get even more transparency into an app’s use of the microphone and camera. Developers can now offer users the option to upgrade their existing accounts to Sign in with Apple. Later this year, App Store product pages will feature summaries of developers’ self-reported privacy practices, displayed in a simple, easy-to-read format. Starting early next year, all apps will be required to obtain user permission before tracking.
App Store product pages feature a summary of the privacy practices of each app before downloading it.
Enhanced Listening Experience for AirPods
AirPods and AirPods Pro gain powerful capabilities with iOS 14. Spatial audio with dynamic head tracking brings a theater-like experience to AirPods Pro. By applying directional audio filters, and subtly adjusting the frequencies each ear receives, sounds can be placed virtually anywhere in a space to provide an immersive listening experience. Automatic device switching seamlessly switches AirPods and AirPods Pro audio between iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Headphone accommodations, a new accessibility feature, amplifies soft sounds and tunes audio to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound crisper and clearer.
Seamlessly switch AirPods or AirPods Pro audio between iPhone, iPad, and Mac with automatic device switching.
Additional iOS 14 Features
Translate is designed to be the best and easiest app for translating conversations, offering quick and natural translation of voice and text among 11 different languages.6 On-device mode allows users to experience the features of the app offline for private voice and text translation.
Siri expands its knowledge and answers complex questions with information sourced from across the internet. Keyboard dictation runs on device when dictating messages, notes, email, and more.7
The Home app makes smart home control even easier with new automation suggestions and expanded controls in Control Center for quicker access to accessories and scenes. Adaptive Lighting for compatible HomeKit-enabled lights automatically adjusts the color temperature throughout the day, and Face Recognition in compatible video doorbells and cameras uses on-device intelligence from Apple TV or HomePod to identify visitors. The Home app and HomeKit are built to be private and secure, so all information about a user’s home accessories is end-to-end encrypted.
Digital versions of car keys give users a secure way to use iPhone to unlock and start their car. Car keys can be easily shared using Messages, or disabled through iCloud if a device is lost, and are available today for compatible cars using NFC technology.8
Safari offers a Privacy Report so users can easily see which cross-site trackers have been blocked, secure password monitoring to help users detect saved passwords that may have been involved in a data breach, and built-in translation for entire webpages.9
Health has all-new experiences to manage sleep and better understand audio levels that may affect hearing health. A new Health Checklist that includes Emergency SOS, Medical ID, ECG, fall detection, and more offers users a centralized place to manage health and safety features.10 Health also adds support for new data types for mobility, Health Records, symptoms, and ECG.
The Weather app keeps users up to date on severe weather events, and a new next-hour precipitation chart shows minute-by-minute precipitation when rain is in the forecast.11
Apple One is the easiest way to get many Apple subscription services at a great value, so customers can choose the one planthat is right for them or their whole family. Customers can sign up for Apple One starting this fall.
Accessibility features include Back Tap, which offers a quick new way to trigger gestures, tasks, and accessibility shortcuts, sign language detection in Group FaceTime, and Sound Recognition, which uses on-device intelligence to notify users when the sound of a fire alarm or doorbell is detected. VoiceOver, the industry’s leading screen reader for the blind community, now automatically recognizes what is displayed visually onscreen so more apps and web experiences are accessible to more people.
Translate helps users quickly and easily translate voice or text between supported languages, and can work completely offline to keep conversations private.
The Home app has a new visual status that provides an at-a-glance view of a user’s smart home accessories.
Digital car keys give users a way to securely unlock and start their car using just their iPhone, and can be easily shared using Messages.
Pricing and Availability
iOS 14 is available as a free software update starting today for iPhone 6s and later. For more information, visit apple.com/ios/ios-14. Some features may not be available in all regions or all languages.
iOS 14 allows for third-party web browsers and email clients to become the default, so if you really don’t like Safari and Apple Mail, you now have other options.
With the latest update to Google Chrome, now available on the App Store, you can change your default browser from Safari to Google Chrome, on iPhone and iPad. Here’s how to do it …
With iOS 14, Apple has added system support for third-party web browsers and email apps. In the future, they may open even more categories.
The default web browser will be used when tapping on a link in any application. Until iOS 14, you could have an alternative browser like Google Chrome but link actions would always open in Safari. Here’s how to change that on iPhone and iPad in iOS 14.
How to set Google Chrome as your default browser on iPhone
Download the latest version of Google Chrome from the App Store.
Open the Settings app and open the settings page for Google Chrome.
Tap ‘Default Browser App’.
With this set, any app that triggers a standard open URL activity will now direct the system to open Google Chrome, rather than Safari.
If you ever change your mind, you can go back into Settings and change the Default Browser App back to Safari. If you want to use a different third-party browser that isn’t Chrome, you will have to wait for the developer to update their application. The same goes for changing email apps: so far, we haven’t seen any compatible email app expose this feature.
Obviously, this all requires iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 to be installed. Right now, we are at iOS 14 developer beta 8. Apple is expected to release iOS 14 publicly for all users later in September, with a release date likely announced as part of next week’s Apple Event.
Apple is delaying its new rules around in-app tracking in iOS 14, postponing the controversial disclosure requirement that set it at odds with Facebook. Announced at WWDC 2020, the new feature was intended to make explicit that software could use data to deliver personalized adverts, and indeed track users across multiple apps and websites.
Users would be presented with the option to allow such tracking, or ask the app not to track them. At the time, Apple was praised by privacy advocates for taking the step, which could prevent iPhone and iPad users from unwittingly having their digital lives tracked and comprehensive profiles built on them for more specific advertising purposes.
However it was less popular with ad providers and networks. In August, Facebook called out the iOS 14 feature as having the potential to undermine its partner ad business. The change could leave its so-called Audience Network system “so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it on iOS 14,” Facebook said at the time.
Clearly someone at Apple has been listening to the feedback. Now, while iOS 14 will still support the new notification and the prompt to permit in-app tracking, developers won’t be penalized if their apps don’t show it. Instead it won’t be until sometime early in 2021 before Apple makes supporting the notification a requirement.
“We believe technology should protect users’ fundamental right to privacy, and that means giving users tools to understand which apps and websites may be sharing their data with other companies for advertising or advertising measurement purposes, as well as the tools to revoke permission for this tracking. When enabled, a system prompt will give users the ability to allow or reject that tracking on an app-by-app basis. We want to give developers the time they need to make the necessary changes, and as a result, the requirement to use this tracking permission will go into effect early next year”Apple
The technology relies on IDFA, or Identification for Advertisers, which sees each iOS device being given a unique code. That can be shared with advertisers, and used to personalize campaigns shown to a user across different software and websites. Audience Network, for example, is used in numerous apps and sites, and many people may not realize that they’re all keeping track of visits and sharing that data in aggregate in the background.
Making it more visible, Facebook and others have warned, could pull the rug out from under effective campaigns. Without a comprehensive user profile, targeted promotions will be trickier to finesse. “Like all ad networks on iOS 14, advertiser ability to accurately target and measure their campaigns on Audience Network will be impacted,” Facebook explained last week, “and as a result publishers should expect their ability to effectively monetize on Audience Network to decrease.”
Apple’s decision comes as it faces criticism from multiple quarters about its policies. In August, Epic Games led a revolt around in-app purchases and the so-called “Apple tax” applied to developer revenues made through the App Store. Apple responded by pulling Fortnite from its store, with Epic going on to sue the Cupertino firm – and Google – over the situation.
Apple says it will have more information on when, exactly, app publishers will need to start asking permission around tracking, later this year. “More information, including an update to the App Store Review Guidelines, will follow this fall,” the company told developers.