Tweaking your iOS 14 iPhone

Published September 16, 2020, 4:32 PM

by Jonathan Castillo

Written by Prof. Rom Feria

Now that the iOS 14 is out — there really is no reason why you should not upgrade to it, unless your iPhone is older than the first generation iPhone SE or iPhone 6S. This new iOS version comes with some user interface changes, in addition to the technical improvements underneath. Here’s a short list of what you can tinker with after you upgrade to iOS 14:

  1. Maximize App Library. Like most normal people, you probably have more than 2 Home Screen-full of app icons. On a separate Home Screen, App Library automatically organizes your app icons for you in different categories (some are spot on, but others aren’t). In my case, I have hidden all my Home Screens except for the main one and the App Library.
  2. Play with Widgets. Currently, the list of widgets available is rather short, but knowing third party developers, it won’t take that long before there is a widget for most popular applications. Personally, I have not found a stock widget that is so useful that merits space on my main Home Screen, except the Photos widget as part of the Smart Stack. I can’t wait for third-party apps like Fantastical and Carrot Weather, to come up with a widget.
  3. Pin Group Messages. The Messages app gets a major upgrade. First thing to do is to pin the most important and most active groups for easy access. Messages now has threads and mentions!
  4. Revisit Location Services. A new privacy feature on iOS 14 is preventing applications from getting your precise location. Examine each third-party application you have and make sure that applications that do not need location information is Never allowed access. For applications that need location, make sure Precise Location is turned off, unless it is really needed, like perhaps for Grab Delivery. Don’t forget to turn on Location Alerts as well — every time an application retrieves your location information, you will get an alert with the location data that the application has accessed.
  5. Set default email and browser applications. For those who do not like using the and Safari, you can now set a third-party application as your default email or browser — provided, of course, these applications are qualified (you cannot just arbitrarily set it to any application).
  6. Revisit Photos. iOS 14 can restrict the photos each application can access. You can go to Privacy-Photos and decide which applications should have access to all photos, selected photos (asks you to select photos that you want accessible) or none at all. This prevents malicious applications to scan your photo library, also helps prevent accidental sharing of photos like Captain America’s you know what.
  7. Tap back. A new accessibility feature called Back Tap allows you to configure the iPhone’s behavior when you tap the back of the device two or three times. 
  8. Explore Shortcuts. One of the most underrated features of iOS (and iPadOS) is Shortcuts, and it is even more powerful with the new version. Explore the gallery and start automating some of your tasks.

These are just some settings and features that you can tweak and play with. I cannot wait to see how third-party application developers will take advantage of the brand new features that come with iOS 14.