If you’ve been on the lookout for fun hacks after Apple’s iOS 14 update, which was released in mid-September, there are plenty of features you might not have checked out. From hacks that increase productivity to streamlined bike directions in maps to shortcuts for screenshots, there are so many ways to upgrade your iPhone experience. To get you started, here are 13 iOS 14 updates and hacks you never knew you needed.
By now, you’ve seen everybody rearranging their Home Screens to make them aesthetic AF, but iOS 14 is so much more than widgets and app icons. If you haven’t tried out tricks like Back Tap or the new Maps features, you’re definitely missing out. As you explore what iOS 14 has to offer, make sure you try each of these new updates and hacks.
1. Cycling Directions on Maps
If you’re biking, you can use Maps’ new cycling directions feature to help you get around easier. Maps will direct you where bike lanes, bike paths, and bike-friendly roads are available. You’ll also be able to see other helpful tips before you head out, such as the elevation for your ride, steep inclines or stairs along your route, and how busy a street is.
As of Oct. 1, cycling directions is coming to users in New York City, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area, plus select cities in China. Apple will release the feature to more cities in the future.
2. Back Tap
Back Tap lets you trigger action shortcuts of your choice with a quick double or triple tap on the back of your phone. For instance, you can set your Back Tap’s double tap to creating a GIF or taking a screenshot.
To use it, go to Settings > Accessibility > Touch > Back Tap. Then, you can register a shortcut for Double Tap and Triple Tap. If you don’t see the option, it’s because you’ll need to have an iPhone 8 or later to use it.
3. Group Message Photos
In addition to pinning messages, and using mention and line replies in group messages, you can customize your group message by adding an image, Memoji, or emoji. Once you do, your group members will also see the group photo icon. To add one, select the group chat, tap on the group of images at the top of the thread, and choose the “info” button. Then choose “Change Name and Photo” at the top. Choose a picture and tap “Done.”
4. Search for Emojis
The next time you use your emoji keyboard, look for the search bar at the top and search for the emoji you’d like to use. Then, you should find related emojis in your options. Previous iOS versions featured a predictive emojis pop up along with predictive text, but no way to search for them.
5. Wind Down Shortcuts
Apple’s Sleep Mode features new Wind Down shortcuts, which include relaxing actions such as turning on a home scene, using a meditation app, or listening to soothing soundscapes before bedtime.
To set it up in your Health app, go to Browse > Sleep > Full Schedule & Options. The Wind Down option is under “Your Schedule,” and from there you’ll select “Wind Down Shortcuts.” Choose from suggested categories or apps, and once you’ve registered them and set a time for Sleep Mode to begin, you’ll find them directly on your Sleep Mode Lock screen.
6. Guides in Maps
If you’re still new to your city, or want to discover some of the best restaurants and takeout spots, Maps’ new Guides feature gives you expert recommendations from travel brands, such as the best restaurants. Even if you’re staying at home, you can save a Guide in Maps for a later time.
7. Enhance your Voice Recordings
A less flashy but nonetheless cool feature is the ability to enhance your voice recordings using the new Enhance Recording option in Voice Memo. It works to cut out any unwanted background noise from your recording to make it clearer. You can choose to record a new audio clip or select any existing recording on your list. Next, tap on the ellipses icon at the bottom left, choose “Edit Recording,” and tap the magic wand icon you see on the top left. Once it’s highlighted, you can tap “Done.”
8. Ask Siri to Send Voice Messages
Whether you’re using iOS or CarPlay, you can now ask Siri to send an audio message to reply to someone when you’d rather express yourself through voice than a text message. It also works with third-party messaging apps through SiriKit.
9. Maps’ Red-Light Camera Alerts
To help keep you safe on the road, Apple Maps will alert you when there’s a speed or red-light camera along your route, as a reminder to watch the road, as well as your speed.
10. Bluetooth Connection Banner
Stop guessing whether you’re connected to Bluetooth, thanks to the new connection banner. It pops up at the top of your screen to let you know you’re connected and also displays the battery life of your wireless device.
11. Filtering your Messages
YouTube creator TechMeOut pointed out how iOS 14 gives you the ability to filter messages. When you select the “Filters” tab, you’ll see options to view all messages, known senders, and unknown senders. To turn it on, go to Settings, and choose Messages. Scroll down until you see “Filter Unknown Senders.” Tap it to toggle it on. You can always toggle is back off if you don’t want to keep the “Filter” tab.
12. Hide a Page
You can now easily hide pages on your Home Screen with iOS 14, and TechMeOut broke down this feature in a video, which will allow you to keep your Home Screen more streamlined.
To clean it up, long-press on the Home Screen, select the three-dot button at the bottom of the page, and you’ll see the option to select which pages you want to see on your Home Screen. When you unselect pages, it doesn’t remove any apps from your phone but makes your Home Screen cleaner. After you’ve hidden the pages you want, tap “Done” at the top right of your screen to save, and hit “Done” again to exit the Home Screen editor.
13. Custom Charging Sound
You’ve probably never considered customizing the sound your iPhone makes when you charge it, but you can with iOS 14. To create your own charging sound, you need to hit the Shortcuts app, choose the “Automation” option in the bottom menu, select “Create Personal Automation.” Next, scroll to the bottom until you see the “Charger” option. Tap that and select to hear the sound when you’re connected to the charger, disconnected from it, or both. Tap the “Next” option in the top right corner, then choose “Add Action” from the next page.
Now hit the search bar and type in “Speak text.” From here, you can type in whatever you’d like your phone to say when you connect to the charger. (TechMeOut chose “and I oop!”) Tap “Done” and you can listen to the sample box by hitting the play button in the bottom right corner. If you like it, tap “Next” in the top right corner.
Make sure you toggle off the option that says “ask before running,” so the sound automatically plays. When that’s all set, you’ll hear your phone say what you typed in the next time you plug in your charger. Is it something you thought you really needed, no? But will your phone saying “and I oop!” when you plug it in make you less annoyed you forgot to charge it all day? You’ll have to try it and find out.