Features iOS 14 borrows from Android
Some of the best new iOS features might look familiar to Android users
The new iOS 14 has bought a bunch of big new features to Apple's operating system, some of these features have been present in the Android operating system for some time now, reports The Verge.
Here are the features in the new iOS 14 that Android already has:
Home screen widgets
After years of keeping the iOS home screen static, Apple has finally allowed users to add widgets to their home screens. Widgets have been one of the core differentiating features between Android and iOS going back to the very first iteration of Android, and it's a feature that Google would continue to expand on over the years, allowing custom sizes, third-party support, and a gallery with previews of those widgets — all features that Apple is using in its own widgets on iOS.
App list view
Apple has called its iteration of this "the App Library." However, it is similar to Google's app drawer: a list of every app on the phone, regardless of its visibility on the home screen.
Apple will let users manually hide apps so that they will only appear in the App Library view. Unlike Android, which is just a straight list of all the apps, Apple's App Library automatically sorts apps into different categories, like social, entertainment, or Apple Arcade.
Third-party default email and browser apps
This is less "borrowing from Android" and more "something Apple has been capable of doing for years but intentionally had decided not to." iOS 14 will finally allow users to choose their own default email and browser apps, instead of using Mail and Safari.
There are a few catches, like the fact that all iOS browsers still have to use Apple's rendering engine, and developers will have to update their apps to support the feature. It is also limited only to email and browser apps. Users still have to use Apple Maps and Apple Music by default.
Discreet voice assistant and calls
Apple is debuting a new "discreet" view for Siri in iOS 14, where the voice assistant will appear with a small icon at the bottom of the screen, instead of taking over the entire display. Results of queries will similarly appear in smaller windows at the top of the screen, without blocking the rest of the display.
This function is also similar to how Google Assistant works on Android, although its results are shown in a small window at the bottom of the display, not the top.
Apple's new "compact calls" design — which also prevents incoming calls from blotting out the whole screen — is akin to an option on Android.
App slices / App clips
One of the more interesting ideas added in iOS 14 is the new App Clips feature, which will allow developers to slice out parts of their apps in small packages, letting users get key features without having to install a whole app.
It is an interesting idea and one that Google has taken a few cracks at over the years with Android P's app "slices" in 2018 and Android's instant apps in 2017.
Apple Maps has been playing catch-up to Google Maps for a while, but each new iOS update has brought Apple's app closer and closer to Google's leading standard. To that end, iOS 14 adds new cycling features that give directions specifically for bike riding, which factors in things like elevation, stairs, and bike routes.
Google introduced the feature to Google Maps in 2010. Apple's version is only in a few cities so far - New York City, Los Angeles, San Fransisco's Bay Area, Shanghai, and Beijing.
Another of Google's most iconic services, Google Translate, is getting an Apple equivalent with iOS 14. Like Google Translate, Apple's version allows users to translate typed and spoken phases in the Translate app, as well as offers integrated support with Safari to translate entire webpages. Apple's version has a far more limited list of languages, with just 11 supported at launch.
Not a first for Apple's software, but new to the iPhone this year is picture-in-picture. The iPhone is finally getting a picture-in-picture mode, which can be used to play videos on top of other apps.
Usefully, picture-in-picture also supports FaceTime calls, so users can continue chatting without having to keep the FaceTime app open.
Introduced by Google at the end of last year, Safari is also getting a version of Chrome's password alert feature, which will notify users when a password they're using has been compromised in a data breach.
Apple is including a new option that will let users add a "back tap" button of sorts to trigger an action - launching an app or taking a screenshot - similar to a double-tap gesture Google is also working on for Pixel phones in Android 11.