First Thoughts on iOS 14

Do you remember when you got your first iPhone?

If you use Android, do you remember when you first heard about the iPhone?

I wanted an iPhone from the day they came out, but it wasn’t until Apple released the iPhone 3GS in 2009 that I finally got one.

I haven’t had a phone from another manufacturer since.

That first iPhone of mine was running the top-of-the-line, latest and greatest iPhone OS 3. The newest, biggest, most impressive features that year were copy & paste, push notifications for third-party apps, USB & Bluetooth tethering, a landscape keyboard, and Find My iPhone.

A lot has changed in the 11 years since then. Technology changes so quickly it’s hard to keep up some times, isn’t it? Now there is more technological advancement in the watch on your wrist than in the phone you had back then.

I’m thankful that technology continues to advance. Outside of job security for a developer like me, it means that the collective “we” continue to move forward. That we are still pushing boundaries. It means that someone, somewhere is still asking the question “What if?”

And that leads us to now.

On September 16th Apple released their latest iteration of the iPhone operating system … iOS 14.

I’ve had the opportunity over the past couple of months to run the beta of this new OS. Today I’d like to cover some of my initial impressions and my top new features in iOS 14. Here goes!

Initial Thoughts

My first thought is … I like it. But I think that’s only because I love new, shiny software.

I always get excited for new releases like this. The ability to do new things or to do the same things in different ways is interesting and keeps me engaged. There’s something about the new coat of paint that the upgrade process brings. Kind of like how New Year’s Day feels. It’s a chance to start over again.

iOS 14 comes with a slew of new upgrades and features. Things like:

  • A Translation app that will even speak for you.
  • AirPods Pro automatic device switching. Meaning that you can start watching a video on your computer, switch over to your phone and your AirPods will move right along with you.
  • Mentions and inline replies in group messages. How many times have you been having a group conversation and needed to respond to what someone said 8 messages ago? At that point your reply is all out of context. Not any more.
  • Cycling directions and electric vehicle routing. For those of you that bike a lot or need to follow the charging stations on your road trips.

Seriously, there are too many to list here. For a list of all the features I suggest you start here.

That being said I will be completely honest. While I like the upgrade, there isn’t a lot here for me in particular. For the way that I use my phone (the way I work, play, create, and consume) there aren’t a lot of things that make my life better. Even just looking at the new features I mentioned above:

  • I don’t travel much (in particular to foreign countries)
  • I don’t have very many group conversations
  • I don’t cycle to work
  • I don’t have an electric vehicle.

So while there are a ton of new things, there isn’t a lot that I need. It’s not bad, it’s just not really for me, you know?

My Top 3

That brings us to my top 3 new features. While I’m kind of bullish on the upgrade, there are a few things that I enjoy.

Picture in Picture

I really like Picture in Picture. It might be my new favorite feature. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t watch a lot of video on my phone, but when I do, having the ability to just move it off into a corner and continue to use another app while the video plays is awesome.

Pinned Conversations

The one is just a helpful tweak to the Messages app that I didn’t know I wanted until I had it. Keeping the conversations with my family members up at the top of my app right where I can get to them quickly has been super handy.


I don’t know that I need these … but they are super convenient to have around. I personally like the Fitness one (keeping me up to date on the 3 rings on my watch), the weather one from Carrot Weather (I can’t go getting rained on, can I? Sugar melts, y’all. 😂), and one created by my friend Caleb Panza called TimeDeck … which literally just tells me what time it is. Not that I don’t know where the clock is at the top of my phone, but when I go to my home screen it’s right there for me in a way that is visually appealing and I don’t have to go searching for it.

The Bottom Tier

There are some things that aren’t that great about iOS 14. The one I dislike the most is the App Library. I just don’t see why it exists. I get the idea that it puts all of your apps into categories for you and should make it easier to find all your stuff. Theoretically. To me it’s just an extra screen at the back of your screens of apps that doesn’t need to be there. I don’t ever go there, so it’s not a big deal, but it literally serves no purpose for me. It doesn’t suit my workflow. It’s really just something I don’t need.

The End

And that’s it. Overall iOS 14 is a decent upgrade but in my opinion it’s not something I need. Obviously, I still think you should upgrade and make that judgement call for yourself.

If you happen to upgrade, let me know what you think!