New Features Coming To iPhone That Android Already Has
Apple just showed off iOS 14 in its virtual WWDC Conference that kicked off on June 22nd and it brought a lot of great new features to the iPhone. If you’re a long time Android user, some of those features might look a little too familiar.
Here are a few ways Android influenced the latest version of iOS:
Widgets are finally coming to the home screen in iOS and you don’t have to stare at a grid of icons anymore. In iOS 14, widgets can be resized to two-by-two, four-by-two, or even larger. They dynamically update with information like the weather – to fit in their size.
It’s almost similar to Windows Phone ‘Live tiles’ and Android’s ‘Widgets’. Before the announcement at WWDC, iPhone users could only have apps on the iPhone home screen. Widgets, which showcase more information and are more functional than app icons, have been a basic feature on Google’s Android since its inception in 2008.
2. App Library
What is known as an ‘App Drawer’ on Android devices is now coming to iOS 14 as the ‘App Library’. If you swipe all the way right of your iPhone’s home screen, you’ll reach a list of automatically categorized smart folders that group all of the apps on your iPhone. You can also tap the search bar at the top of the screen to pull up a vertically scrolling list.
This is pretty much exactly what Android has been doing for years. Well, more stock builds of Android don’t let you group your apps by folders in your app drawer like you can on a Samsung phone running one UI. You can still swipe up from your home screen to see everything in one place.
Apple also announced a new picture-in-picture feature coming to iOS 14. As a feature that has existed in Android since Version 8.0 Oreo, this feature will allow users to be able to watch videos while using other apps.
In the Android 11 Beta, Google added the ability to resize your picture-in-picture windows by dragging along the corners. However, the touch targets are so small and one ends up moving the window when you don’t mean to.
With iOS 14, you can just pinch and zoom to resize, instead. You can also hide the picture-in-picture in a sidebar to keep the audio playing but the video out of the way.
4. App Clips
Back in 2017, Google launched the initial test of Android Instant Apps which lets one run lightweight apps and games without having to actually install them on the phone. About a year later, it was renamed to Google Play Instant. With iOS 14, Apple is introducing its own version, calling it App Clips.
The concept is basically the same. You can just scan a QR code, tap the web link and you’ll be taken to a small temporary version of the corresponding app. App Clips also show up in Apple’s Library after you use them and you get a shortcut to the app store for downloading the actual full version.
5. Default Apps
This has been a long time coming but now one can finally set default apps on iOS. As an avid Gmail or Chrome user, it can be really irritating not having it as the default email and browsing app. Unfortunately, this only applies to an email and browser app as one still can’t set Spotify as the default music player nor Google Assistant as the default voice assistant. However, it’s a great start and hopefully, other default apps will follow suit.
6. Visual Phone Assistant Changes
With iOS 14, Apple already made some visual changes to how Siri and phone call notifications appear on the screen. This is similar to how Android has had it set up for a while. When you launch Siri, she’s now a small icon hovering at the bottom, with the rest of the screen still visible even after you get your answer.
With Google Assistant, it’s also a similar look. With phone calls, both from the phone app and third-party calling apps, the iPhone will now only display a notification across the top of the screen when a call comes in, rather than taking over your whole screen. This is the same notification style you can have on your Android device as well, which has been that way for quite some time now.
iOS 14 is also getting a new dedicated Translate app. Rather than stealing Google’s own Translate, this seems to be Apple’s own iteration. Obviously, with Google running Android, Google Translate a fixture on these phones for a while. With the Pixel devices in particular, Google has tried to hide different translating features as well.
However, the Translate feature on iOS 14 is still a new feature and things like conversations are a bit buggy. However, it’s good to see Apple offering its own Translate app as a default option on the phone.
8. Emoji Search
This is another feature that Android users have had for a while. This isn’t typing out a word and getting an emoji suggestion. It is now a dedicated search for emojis on the keyboard. Interestingly, it is set upon the exact same style on both phones too.
One thing that iPhone didn’t mention in the conference was the ability to tap on the back of the phone to launch certain things. There’s no button and it’s all tapping the bareback glass of your iPhone and you can set different taps to launch different things. It isn’t an exact Android feature yet, but it similar to the way Android launches different things using the rear fingerprint sensor or abilities for tapping and swiping.
However, Google has actually attempted to add the actual back tap feature to their Android 11 beta which was released first last month.