We tried out a bunch of the coolest new features coming soon to the iPhone in iOS 14

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Apple is letting iPhone users try out their new software early. Recently, the company released a public beta of iOS 14 which brings some of the biggest changes to the iPhone yet. There are new home screen widgets, an alphabetical list of all your apps and privacy enhancements everywhere.

Keep in mind, it’s not recommended that you install this on a phone you rely on because there could be major issues. I put it on a test device to check out some of these new features coming soon. The biggest issues I’ve seen have to do with battery life on my device (it’s way less), my phone has crashed a few times and there are certain things that just don’t work.

The most prominent new features deal with the home screen. You can now drag and drop widgets on your home screens for info at a glance. If you’re sick of organizing your apps, there’s no need to with iOS 14! You can now hide homepages you don’t want to scroll through and have Apple put your apps into automatic folders. There’s even a new alphabetical list of all of your apps called the ‘App Library.’

A new real-time hearing feature lets you see if you’re listening to your headphones too loud. After using it, I now know that I’m running with my headphones at too high of a volume. I’ll work to change that.

Also, prepare for emoji overload! After you write a text you can tap the emoji icon to see which words are replaceable with the fun little icons.

You can also finally search for emojis by keyword!

There’s a cool new trick in the Notes app: if you pause after drawing a shape, iOS 14 will make it perfect.

In Messages, there are some new filters that let you sort out messages from unknown senders. This way you can see all the texts from people you don’t know, businesses and spam.

In iOS 14, there is an even bigger emphasis on privacy.

The new software tells you when apps snoop on stuff you’ve copied to your clipboard. (It’s already caught some spying apps!)

Additionally, iOS 14 lets you know when an app accesses or recently accessed your camera or microphone. This might help squash those theories that Facebook is always listening to what you say.

Also, you no longer have to give apps blanket permission to access your entire camera roll, you can limit their access to just one pic. So say you’re using a photo editing app to spruce up your selfie – you can give it access to just that one single picture and not your entire camera roll.

My favorite privacy-related feature: you now have a choice of just how precise you want to be when sharing your location with apps. You can share your exact location as before, or you have a new option to share your “approximate” location. This is a fantastic way to put one more level of privacy between you and apps that want to know your every move.

Again, I don’t recommend installing this on your primary device. The “final” version of iOS 14 will launch in the Fall as a free update for any iPhone currently able to run iOS 13, which is the iPhone 6s and up.

NOW: Listen to the Rich on Tech podcast, where I talk about the tech news I think you should know about and answer the questions you send me!

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