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iOS 14 stole these 8 useful features from Android

iOS 14
iOS 14 (Image credit: Apple)

Apple just held its Worldwide Developer Conference, also commonly referred to as WWDC (or my personal preference, dub dub). This year's WWDC is where Apple showcased iOS 14, which looks to be one of the most substantial iOS updates in quite a while. The home screen is more customizable than ever before, widgets are a thing, and — yes — Apple added an app drawer.

If those sound like things Android has had for years, you're right. Apple may talk about some of iOS's features as being revolutionary and groundbreaking, but truth be told, it just looks more like Android than ever before.

On that note, here's a quick look at 8 things iOS 14 copied from Android.

Home screen widgets

Source: Apple

iOS 14 ushers in the biggest change to iOS's home screen than ever before, the first part of this revolution coming in the form of home screen widgets.

Widgets have existed in iOS for a while, but up until now, they've been limited to the leftmost page. Not only have widgets been completely redesigned, but now you can add them on your legit home screens. Widgets can have different sizes to make sure you get the right amount of information that you want, and you can place as many or few as you want.

Apple also created a new "Smart Stack" widget that automatically displays different app widgets based on the time of day, and while that's something we haven't seen in Android before, the idea of home screen widgets is one that's existed in Android since the very beginning.

App drawer

Source: Apple

Speaking of the home screen, something else that's coming to iOS is an app drawer. Well, Apple calls it the "App Library," but it's the same basic idea. The App Library lives on the far right of your iOS 14 home screens, and it groups all of your installed apps in smart folders. You can also use the search bar to find a specific app if you don't feel like digging through the pre-made groupings.

This also means that iOS 14 now allows you to hide apps on your regular home screens, further converting it into a very Android-esque experience.

Picture-in-picture

Source: Apple

If you have an Android phone, chances are you're pretty familiar with picture-in-picture. Being able to have a video play in a small window on the home screen is something we've had since Android 8.0 Oreo, but our iOS friends have been living life without it.

iOS 14 finally adds picture-in-picture to the iPhone, allowing you to view your video on your home screen or over another app and multitask with ease. You can also hide the PiP player in a sidebar if you want to keep the audio playing but hide the actual video.

Apple may not have invented picture-in-picture, but it is improving on it to make the execution one of the best out there. iOS 14 allows you to easily adjust the size of the PiP player by dragging the corner, which is a small tweak that should make the day-to-day experience substantially better.

Set default apps

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One of the longstanding complaints about iOS has been the inability to set third-party apps as a default app. For example, even if you have Google Chrome installed as the web browser you prefer using, tapping a link would always open it in Safari with no way to change it.

This is finally changing in iOS 14, with users now having the ability to set their default email and browser apps.

Apple sneakily snuck this in as a small graphic during the WWDC presentation rather than explicitly talking about it, so even if the company's a bit ashamed about finally caving to add the feature, it's a great touch that'll benefit a lot of users.

Translate app

Translate app in iOS 14

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

Google has a lot of excellent apps/services under its belt, but one of the most useful is Google Translate. While it's been the source of some excellent memes, Translate is a legitimately excellent tool for communicating with people that don't speak the same language as you.

Apple's using iOS 14 to introduce its own Translate app, which functions basically the same way. You choose the language you want to speak, which language you want it to be translated to, and then start talking. When you're done, Translate reads out your message and also shows the translated text on your screen.

The app itself looks good, but there's a big difference compared to what Google offers. Apple Translate is debuting with just 11 supported languages, whereas Google Translate works with over 100.

App Clips

iOS 14 App Clips

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

Back in 2017, Google launched the initial test of Android Instant Apps — a way to run lightweight apps and games without having to install them. Just tap a button, and you have instant access to a lightweight version of a fully-fledged application. About a year later in May 2018, Android Instant Apps were made available to all developers under the name "Google Play Instant."

With iOS 14, Apple is taking a page out of Google's playbook yet again with "App Clips."

App Clips are Apple's take on Google Play Instant, allowing you to run a lightweight version of an iOS app without having to install it. Scan a QR code, hold your iPhone to an NFC tag, or tap a web link, and just like that you're running an App Clip.

App Clips show up in the new App Library after you use them, and if you want, you get a shortcut for easily downloading the full application.

New Siri design

New Siri interface in iOS 14

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

Prior to iOS 14, triggering Siri would result in the digital helper overtaking your entire home screen. It was fine, but it completely took you out of whatever you were previously doing.

Now, Siri pops up with a small indicator on the bottom of your screen that keeps you on the current app or website you were previously interacting with. It's a much more similar approach to what it looks like when you trigger the Google Assistant on an Android phone, and while it's a small tweak, there's no denying that Android did it first.

App permissions in App Store

App Store permissions in iOS 14

Source: Apple (Image credit: Source: Apple)

Android has been laser-focused on revamping app permissions over the last couple of years, resulting in the OS feeling more user-friendly and privacy-conscious than ever before. Privacy is one of the company ideals Apple prides itself the most on, which makes it that much more hilarious that it's just now adding app permissions to the App Store.

When you view an app on the App Store in iOS 14, you'll finally see which permissions that app asks for. It's a pretty basic idea, but it's something that previously hasn't been offered on iOS.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

138 Comments
  • After, in some cases, over a decade without those features, Apple users deserve a break. They know their crap is as derivative as anyone else's now. They no longer brag, and I don't even bother beating a horse that's dead.
  • Apple is FINALLY cleaning up their home screen. Proper widgets too. I'll admit, my interest is piqued.
  • Yea, on Android you can customize your home screen to make it the way you want it, something you could never do on iOS
  • Well you can now, Apple is finally silencing the snobby Android fanboys with the changes in iOS 14.
  • You still can’t put an app icon anywhere you want, use different themes or launchers, icon packs etc. Widgets are a start but the home screen is still nowhere near as customisable as on android.
  • I don't want iOS to go full on Android with those features I don't use. I use Android and don't customise my phone beyond setup and don't care for icon packs either. iOS 14 has the things that I truly care about, PIP, changing default apps and the App Library.
  • You sound like an apple user here pretending to be an android user just to troll.
  • Let him be. Look at how excited he is to have dated features Android users been using.
  • Not even close...but it's a start I guess.
  • Apple has silenced all but the most diehard of Android fanboys with all of theses features, you may sneer and say well "Android has had these features for years" well this is Apple and most of the time Apple's implementation of an existing Android feature is better and Android OEMs fall over themselves to bring back the feature that they had give up on lol.
  • Yeah...no. It's not even close to the level of customization you can achieve with Android. That is empirical fact. You opinion that Apple's implementations are better is just that...an opinion. And I would wholeheartedly disagree with that opinion since apparently you think having a fraction of the customization ability is somehow better.
  • I could care less about having gazillion customisation options on my phone, I care about updates, security and privacy all which Apple does better than Android along with ease of use and while Android has improved on ease of use, Apple is still easier to use and as a Visaully impaired person, Apple's accessability options are far better and that a fact.
  • Just get a dumb phone bro so you can shut up about all things Android and iPhone.
  • Go screw yourself, I can use whatever phone I want that's suits my needs and that is an iPhone first and Android a distant second.
  • iOS Translate is on device, which will make it a lot faster, cheaper and private.
  • And likely even worse.
  • Let's see how the iOS translate app pans out first before jumping to conclusions. It surely can't be any worse than Apple Maps
  • The lowest of bars lol
  • Apple is playing "catch up" again. Just like Android had NFC years before Apple
  • So what? Picture in picture is actually going to be better on iOS because you can adjust the window of the app you're using that supports it.
  • You can already do that on Android. For both supported apps and unsupported apps. Had the feature for ages my Galaxy S8+ and now my Note 10+
  • I see you know nothing about android.
  • I've been using Android long enough to know it better but with pictures in picture on Android you can't adjust the window of the video you're only like on iOS that much I know but mostly you're right it still appears that I'm still more familiar with Apple than Android, right down to most of the Apple excecs with that's been there since I had my last iPhone. Well that's because the Apple excecs are more interesting than their Android counterparts, I only know the Google CEO that's it, the rest don't market themselves as well as Apple does. Even on iMore I knew who everyone was, o still don't on Android Central lol.
  • Man... They invented some nice stuff this year! I'd like to see Android OEMs copy the red dot when recording video or audio. Give a Corona around the notch or hole punch.
  • Do iPhones have an AOD display?
  • That is coming in 2025. Lol
  • AOD isn't important to me at least. But if it is to you that's fine.
  • They will just use the age old apple fraise "there's an app for that"
  • It’s not important because Apple don’t have it yet. I bet widgets were not important to you until yesterday. Now they are and you’re shouting from the rooftops about it. I’m an iPhone user before you label me a hater.
  • I use 1 widget on my Android phone and it's a weather widget but yes, overall I don't care for widgets but Apple will make widgets seem less and easier to use on iOS unlike Android.
  • How hard was it to use on Android?
  • Not very hard but widgets on Android are not that intuitive and I'm sure that widgets will be more intuitive on iOS.
  • It's important to most people. You're the minority
  • Only to a minority of nerdy Android users like yourself, the average Android users don't care about widgets and neither does the average iPhone user.
  • How would you even know that? If you got research proving the claims of your comment, I'd like to see them.
  • Typical iphone user.
    "That feature that other platforms have is not important"
    ***Feature Arrives Years Later***
    "This feature is revolutionary!"
  • You have to excuse bener, whatever phone he's rocking is the best ever. A year or two ago he was beating our heads in over Google phones.
  • That will change when I get my iPhone 11, I'm tired of switching between platforms, iOS and iPhone are a perfect fit for me and I intend to go full on in the Apple ecosystem, which is second to none, yes Android has its strengths but iOS, has what I want, optimised and better quality of apps, a superior app store with better exclusives, lfar superiority long term software support and better accessibility features for visually impaired people like me and iOS 14 (Apple's finally silenced a lot of the Android fanboys) only reinforces my belief that I'm making the right decision to return to iPhone. You never forget your first love and iPhone was my first smartphone and there for my first love. Plus Android is now becoming boring to me.
  • I'm pretty this is just Richard Yarrel's new avatar lol (only OGs will get his reference)
  • You could be right....ha ha!
  • You're not the litmus test for new features to add to iOS/iPhone. Just because it's not important to you or any small group of customers doesn't mean it shouldn't be added. Apple Podcast isn't important to me, should they remove it?
  • I'm not saying they should remove any features that aren't important to me but things like AOD and multitasking which I have on my 7T already, which I don't use and I personally loved podcasts on iPhone, more than the Google podcasts on Android but it's fine to have our preference in what's important to us and what isn't.
  • Still no split screen, pop up windows, chat bubbles, or OTG ability.
  • I don't really see what value your post is adding, or the general snidey way this is reported. The truth is both Android and iOS are really great operating systems these days, but it's true they both have their relative strengths and weaknesses. I'm mainly an iPhone user, and am delighted Apple are finally getting round to pinching some of these features from Google. I'd assume this also goes the other way - or has Android been so perfect there's nothing it's needed to copy from iOS?
  • Of course because you're a butthurt iFag
  • You must be the lgFag everyone is talking about.
  • Well said @Simon Lewis2 the thing is Android users on here are snobby elitsts who think they're better than iPhone users which is just sad in 2020, both platforms are great now but like you I lean more towards iOS.
  • @beno For someone who's bombing the comments with how much "better, faster, and easier" Apple is making these features, you're not exactly making your case.
  • Ok here's my case, these features for iOS 14 are implemented more cleanly than on Android and I like how that you only have swipe to right to get to the app library where as you have to swipe up for the app drawer on Android, the the widgets will be better on iOS because Apple will make sure that developers use widgets for their apps and o think that widgets on iOS will more useful. And being able to choose your default apps on iOS is a huge deal because it wasn't possible before along with calls no longer taking up the whole screen which will change the way iPhone users (I will soon be one again in August) use their iPhones forever and the fact that Apple is taking notice of what Android is doing and adding the it's best features should be a compliment because it shows the impact of those features.
  • That's like, your opinion, man.
  • You haven't even used these features yet, and they're better? Ok.
  • It's already a known fact that when Apple introduce a feature that's already existed on Android, they make it more accessible to the masses and is already perfected unlike Android OEMs and that includes Google.
  • No, that actually what we call an opinion.
  • Ok look at Android phones over the last 7 years, before the iPhone 5S, fingerprint sensors on Android phones were slow and buggy and weren't really a thing before touch ID and nobody cared for Android's insecure face unlock untill Face ID on the iPhone X and it'll be the same with widget on iOS even though widgets have existed on Android for a long time without widespread adoption. Time for you to accept reality, not only does Apple improve existing features available on Android first it makes them popular. In the case of face unlock on Android you still can't ever use it for contactless payments or your banking apps like you can on iPhone and still isn't as secure as face ID either.
  • None of what you said there changes the fact that you stated an opinion, and called it fact. Maybe your new iPhone will have a dictionary app that you will like.
  • The fact is that Apple makes existing features on Android popular and improve them by actually putting thought into bring said Android features and making them work for iOS which is something few Android OEMs do.
  • iOS "improving" features is an opinion. Not a fact. Are you ok?
  • I'm ok? I think it's you that isn't ok, yes I'm stating an opinion just as you are.
  • You literally started your sentence with "The fact is.."
  • This is a clear example of projection. Since when are Android users the snobs lol...that attitude is generally attributed to iphone people. I still hear the "Android