iOS 14 release date, leaks, beta and what to know

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It’s a matter of hours until iOS 14 will be unveiled by Apple at WWDC 2020 as we’re expecting to hear about the software at the company’s big keynote on June 22.

Don’t expect the final software to land on your phone soon after. It’s very likely Apple won’t release the finished version of iOS 14 until September this year, and this event is just when we’ll be hearing about the new features.

One rumor even suggests it won’t be called iOS 14, suggesting Apple will be switching to the name iPhoneOS for its next upgrade. We won’t know that until Monday, but we’ve seen a variety of leaks and we’ve been able to make some educated guesses considering rumors for the upcoming iPhone 12.

Some of those guesses are more obvious than others. For example, it’s expected the iPhone 12 series will embrace 5G connectivity so it’s likely we’ll see lots about that within iOS.

Below we’ve put together all of the leaks and rumors for the new software so far, plus a little bit of what we want to see the new software do too.

Latest story: A new leak suggests iOS 14 may not actually be the name of Apple’s new software. It says Apple may be returning to iPhone OS as its naming structure, which would match the first few iterations of its mobile software.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? Apple’s next big phone update
  • When is it out? Late September, unveiled in June
  • How much will it cost? Absolutely nothing

iOS 14 beta schedule and release date

iOS 13

We’re not expecting iOS 14 to look drastically different to iOS 13 (above) (Image credit: Apple)

Given last year’s big iOS updates came out on September 19, one day before the then new iPhone line, we’re guessing that iOS 14 will launch in late September 2020. That will be just in time for the launch of the iPhone 12 family, which will be the first phones to get the next iOS. 

Assuming Apple follows prior years, it will likely unveil iOS 14 at its WWDC 2020 conference. That’s set to take place virtually this year – due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and it’ll be starting on June 22. 

Apple has confirmed it’s hosting a virtual keynote on June 22 at 10AM PT / 1PM ET / 6PM BST so we’d expect it to be unveiled then.

Apple usually releases an initial developer beta the same day, so it may do the same in 2020. The first public beta will likely follow later in the month, and will accordingly get new betas after the developer versions.

Whether you want to use this on your phone will come down to whether you’re fine with having any software problems over the coming months. The public beta can often be temperamental, so you may want to wait until September for the final edition.

iOS 14 or iPhone OS?

A new leak days before the big WWDC 2020 event threw a spanner in the works and suggested that Apple may be switching its naming structure for iOS 14 and returning to the name iPhone OS.

For its first three years of making mobile phones, Apple referred to the mobile software as iPhone OS. That all changed in June 2010 when Apple got the trademark for iOS for the first time and began using it from iOS 4 onward.

Although there’s little evidence to suggest the switch to iPhone OS apart from this leak, it would make sense for Apple to do this. It would sit alongside iPadOS 14 and watchOS 7 as its software naming and it’d make things far clearer for a mainstream audience. 

Will your iPhone get iOS 14?

While Apple didn’t leave any phones behind when it introduced iOS 12, the most recent jump to iOS 13 made up for it by stranding two generations of iPhone handsets – anything older than the iPhone 6S or original iPhone SE.

However, current rumors suggest that all phones able to run iOS 13 will also support iOS 14. We first heard that back in January, and then again in June. So that’s our best guess for now, which will be a relief to many who don’t want to upgrade their phone.

Having said that, we would say it’s questionable whether the original iPhone SE will get the iOS 14 update, given that the company has now launched a new iPhone SE. If this rumor is true, we’d expect the following devices to get the upgrade:

We expect to hear about the full compatibility list at WWDC 2020 on June 22, so you’ll know if you need to upgrade your phone to be able to get iOS 14 by the end of this month.

iOS 14 interface

  • Apple looks set to make big changes to the iPhone home screen
  • It may work in a similar way to your Apple Watch
  • Widgets may become a feature in iOS 14

Now, let’s move into the features you can expect in iOS 14. iOS and iPadOS support widgets up to a point, but based on early code snippets it looks like you might be able to add widgets to your home screens in iOS 14 as well. At the moment though, sources say the feature could be still be scrapped.

Other leaks suggest that more wallpaper options will be added in iOS 14 as well, so you’ll be able to add dynamic, flat and gradient options. We’ve also seen a sneak peek at what some of the new wallpapers in iOS 14 will look like.

In other interface news, this leaked video (below) supposedly shows an internal build of iOS 14, and as you can see it sports a new app switcher layout that’s similar to the one on iPadOS.

Rather than the current switcher that fans apps out like a deck of cards, this one shows four per screen with a smaller image of each. There’s also (as part of the leak but not in the video) the suggestion that users might be able to choose between these two layouts, among others.

However, we’d take all of this with a pinch of salt. The leak might not be genuine and even if it is, the presence of a feature in an internal build doesn’t mean it will be available in the finished version – Apple might just be trying it out.

iPhone 11 review

How apps look in iOS 13 on the iPhone 11 (Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple might also let you better tailor your phone to the apps you use. It tends to put its own apps first, but with iOS 14 you might be able to set third-party options as defaults.

That could let you for example have Google Chrome be the default browser that opens web links in place of Safari, or have Gmail replace Mail. According to Bloomberg these changes are simply being discussed, so it remains to be seen whether this will happen.

If this were to happen, this would be a big deal for all iOS users and may make using alternatives like Chrome far easier.

iOS 14 fitness

  • A new dedicated Fitness app for iPhone is rumored
  • There may be improved sleep tracking features too

Apple has put a big focus on health and fitness in recent years. Mostly that’s happened through the Apple Watch, but the iPhone could be getting in on the action too, with a new fitness app – possibly just called ‘Fit’ or ‘Fitness’.

Apple Watch 4

(Image credit: TechRadar)

MacRumors claims this is a standalone app that would offer guided fitness-related videos to walk users through workouts.

The site reports that these videos – which would apparently cover indoor running, cycling, rowing, stretching, core training, strength training, outdoor walking, dance, and yoga – could be viewed on an iPhone, iPad or Apple TV, and your progress through each routine could be tracked with an Apple Watch.

Sleep tracking is heavily rumored to be introduced in watchOS 7 for the Apple Watch and may debut on the Apple Watch 6. It might be added to the Health app for iPhone too, if rumors of the Apple Watch getting sleep tracking pan out.

iOS 14 apps

  • Third-party apps are rumored to be improved
  • Lots of improvements to the Messages app
  • Plus some apps may work without you installing them

For one thing, code spotted in an early iOS 14 build suggests you won’t have to install apps to use some of their features.

For example, you might be able to watch a YouTube video without having YouTube installed, but mentions of Yelp, DoorDash, OpenTable and PS4 Second Screen have also been seen in the code.

This could save you clogging up your phone with apps you rarely use, or simply give you an opportunity to try an app before committing to a download.

Apple might also be adding all sorts of new features to the Messages app as part of iOS 14. According to information obtained by MacRumors, the company is testing a feature that would let you tag participants in a group chat, so you could mute a conversation and still get notifications when you’re mentioned.

Other features being tested apparently include the ability to retract messages after sending them, typing indicators, and the ability to mark messages as unread, even after opening them.

However, the site notes that these features may land later than iOS 14, if they land at all.

iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro Max (Image credit: Future)

Beyond the above, a number of other apps might get tweaked or improved as part of iOS 14.

An early build of iOS 14 that 9to5Mac have used includes a translation feature that allows you to translate an entire Safari web page without being connected to the internet.

It also allows you to see the translation alongside the original text without reloading the web page. It’s also expected that this feature may make its way to other apps in the Apple ecosystem too, with one example being the App Store so you can read reviews in a variety of languages.

Rumors via 9to5Mac talk for example of a Kids Mode being added to the activity app, which would replace burned calorie tracking with movement tracking.

There’s also talk that CarPlay could get custom wallpapers, CarKey could be added to let you use your phone to lock, unlock, and start a car, Find My could offer alerts when someone doesn’t arrive somewhere when they’re meant to, as well as additional sounds and vibrations to help you find lost gadgets, and Shot on iPhone photo challenges could be added directly to the Photos app.

There’s also evidence that Apple is working on a new QR code format that would use colored cones.

Podcasts may also be set to get an overhaul with some similar features to Apple Music being brought in. That may include a new recommendation section called ‘For You’ and it’d give you suggestions on what to listen to next according to your listening history.

Another leak suggests there may be a dedicated Apple AirTags app landing in iOS 14 too. This would be the place where you’d be able to track your products using the long-rumored location tags that Apple may be unveiling soon.

iOS 14 Siri

The way Siri sounds is currently completely down to Apple, but MacRumors reports that Apple is exploring the ability for developers to use custom voice synthesizers to change it.

iOS 14

(Image credit: Apple)

This feature would apparently be provided through a new framework called VoiceProvider, and could land as part of iOS 14.

It could allow for the addition of languages and dialects that Apple doesn’t currently support, as well, potentially, as allowing for custom Siri voices.

iOS 14 security

According to 9to5Mac, Apple is working on improvements to iCloud Keychain, including the ability for it to warn users when they re-use passwords. The service could also add two-factor authentication support. With these changes, it could become a strong alternative to the likes of LastPass.

A call recording feature was also rumored to be landing in iOS 14, but the latest leaks suggest it will actually just be a feature for internal debugging. That means it’s very unlikely to land in the public build of iOS 14.

iOS 14 other features

  • There may be features to prepare for 5G
  • Some rumors suggest ARKit improvements are coming
  • Plus we may see some preparation for Apple Glasses

One thing we’re sure to see is 5G. In fact, this might be the easiest feature to guess Apple will bring to the operating system in 2020.

Unfortunately, as we’ve seen with other 5G phones, this feature can’t be retroactively applied to older iPhones – hooking up to 5G networks requires a particular type of modem and compatible processors. Only the newest phones with the latest top-tier chipsets and modems have been capable of harnessing 5G.

In other news, Apple may be planning to release AR glasses sometime in 2020 alongside a 5G iPhone, according to a Bloomberg report. These Apple Glasses may initially serve as an iPhone accessory running through iOS to display text messages and map directions, though that could grow over time to run their own proprietary apps from a dedicated AR glasses store – and perhaps become a standalone successor to the iPhone itself.

Before that happens, though, Apple’s AR glasses would need a killer app as its raison d’etre – or rather, reason for buying, as the lukewarm reception to Google Glasses and even Snapchat Spectacles 2 can tell us. Heck, even Amazon is couching its new Amazon Echo Frames behind an experimental product line to soften any hype. 

But given the years of experience developers have had with Apple’s ARKit, it wouldn’t be surprising if 2020 was the year we see Apple branch out to smart spectacles – and iOS 14 could support it.

Having said that, some reports suggest Apple Glass won’t be available until 2021 or later, so don’t count on it.

Looking to upgrade to a new iPhone? We’ve put together all the best deals we can find in any easy to use comparison chart, including all the current iPhone models available.



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