In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple added two new status indicators to the right side of the status bar at the top of the screen. They’re designed to give you feedback about what an app is doing. An orange dot indicates that an app is using the microphone, and a green dot means that an app is using the camera (and possibly the microphone as well). They’re subtle and shouldn’t be distracting, but if you ever notice them when you don’t think the camera or microphone should be in use, look for apps that might be using them in the background.
We’ve long recommended that everyone use a password manager like 1Password instead of attempting to memorize or write down passwords. Although there are other password managers, 1Password is the leading solution for Apple users, thanks to a focus on macOS and iOS from its earliest days.
1Password offers numerous benefits, including:
Automatic generation of strong passwords so you don’t have to invent them
Secure storage of passwords, even if your Mac or iPhone were stolen
Automatic entry of usernames and passwords that’s much easier than manual entry
Auditing of existing accounts to see how many use the same password
Easy access to all your passwords from all your devices (Mac, iOS, Windows, Android)
Sharing of passwords among a family or a workgroup
The hardest part of getting started with 1Password, like any password manager, is overcoming the inertia of trying something new. Here’s what you’ll need to do.
Once you’ve decided on a plan, click through to the associated page linked above and sign up. Of course, if your family or business already uses 1Password, the person who created the account should invite you first.
Make sure to create a master password that’s strong yet easily typed because you’ll need to enter it regularly (or use Touch ID, Face ID, or an Apple Watch) to unlock 1Password. Since you’re putting all sorts of valuable eggs in your 1Password basket, be sure to download and fill out your Emergency Kit in case something happens to you. It also contains the QR code that makes it easy to sign in on new devices.
Mac:Download and install the app, sign in to your 1Password account in your Web browser, click your name at the top right, and choose Get the Apps. Click “Add your account directly,” and let your browser open 1Password. Enter your master password and click Sign In.
iPhone/iPad:Download and open the app, and tap 1Password.com > Scan Setup Code. Then find the Setup Code ➊ and scan it using the camera. Enter your master password and tap Done. Next, go to Settings > Passwords > AutoFill Passwords, enable AutoFill Passwords ➋, select 1Password ➌, and deselect Keychain.
Web Browser: The 1Password X extension makes it easier to sign in to sites using Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Brave. The 1Password app installs the Safari extension for you; the rest you’ll need to get manually.
With any security solution, there’s a tradeoff between ease of use and security. 1Password provides options so you can adjust that tradeoff to your liking.
Mac: In 1Password > Preferences > Security, you can enable unlock using an Apple Watch if you have both an Apple Watch and a Mac with a Secure Enclave. Also, set the various Auto-Lock checkboxes as you desire—if your Mac is in a shared space, err on the side of more security; if only you and trusted people can access it, you can be less strict.
iPhone/iPad: Tap the Settings button, then Security, and enable Touch ID or Face ID. They let you avoid entering your master password to access 1Passsord while maintaining a high level of security.
3: Save and Fill Passwords
Now it’s time to start using 1Password. The first thing you’ll need to do is save your website logins as you go—you’ll need to do this only once per site. Again, 1Password provides instructions for both the Mac and the iPhone or iPad, but here’s a summary:
Mac: Whenever you enter your username and password in a Web login form, 1Password will ask you to save your credentials. Click the Save In 1Password button and edit the title of the login button if desired. If you don’t yet have an account at the site, enter your username, click the 1Password icon in the password field, and choose Use Selected Password to accept the strong password 1Password has generated for you. Finally, click Save.
iPhone/iPad: When you tap a username or password field, either in an app or in a website in Safari, the iOS keyboard will appear. Tap the key icon ➊, and then tap Create Login ➋. Enter your credentials. If you don’t yet have an account at the site, enter your desired username ➌ and tap the gear icon ➍ to generate a strong password. Finally, tap Save & Fill ➎.
With logins saved in 1Password, when you want to sign in to one of those sites in the future, it has just become extremely easy.
Mac #1: If you’re already looking at a website’s login fields, click the 1Password button in a username or password field and then choose the login you want to fill.
Mac #2: Alternatively, click the 1Password button in the browser’s toolbar. If 1Password’s suggestions aren’t right, type a few characters from the site name in the Search field. Click the AutoFill button for the desired result to load that site and auto-fill your credentials.
iPhone/iPad: Tap a username ➊ or password field in an app or Web page. Your username appears above the keyboard; tap it to fill in the username and password and tap Go if necessary. If you have multiple logins at that site, tap the key icon ➋ to choose a different one ➌.
We’ve just scratched the surface of what 1Password can do. If you explore the 1Password support site, you can learn how to enter two-factor authentication codes (1Password calls them one-time passwords) automatically, create and share vaults with others, add and auto-fill credit card information, and use the Watchtower feature to see which of your logins use weak or duplicate passwords.
(Featured image assembled from originals by 1Password)
For many years, Macs have relied on sets of keys held at startup to enable specific modes. Most notably, pressing Option displays the Startup Manager and lets you pick a boot drive, Command-R starts up from macOS Recovery, Command-Option-P-R resets the NVRAM, Shift starts up in Safe mode, D opens Apple Diagnostics to check the hardware, and T starts up in Target Disk Mode. Needless to say, obscure key combinations aren’t the friendliest way to help someone who may already be stressed out about their Mac not working, so Apple improved things for the new M1-based Macs.
The most important part is that you no longer have to press a key combination during startup. Instead, press and hold the power button until the screen shows “Loading startup options…” and displays the Startup Manager.
Unfortunately, Apple is still a little fast and loose with terms, so we’ve tried to list all of the ones you might see.
Startup Manager / Startup Disk
If you have multiple boot drives and wish to switch among them, you’ll want to use Startup Manager. Immediately after you see “Loading startup options…,” the Mac displays the new Startup Manager, which shows icons for all the bootable drives, along with buttons for Options, Shut Down, and Restart. To boot from a particular drive, select it and click Continue under it.
If you work your way into macOS Recovery but then want to back out in order to select a startup drive, look in the Apple menu for a Startup Disk command, which provides similar functionality with a slightly different look.
Startup Manager (but not Startup Disk) also lets you start up in Safe mode and set a drive as the default to use for booting. First, select a drive. Then, for Safe mode, press the Shift key and click the Continue in Safe Mode button below it. To set a selected drive as the default, press the Control or Option key and click the Always Use button underneath it.
Note that M1-based Macs can’t boot from just any external drive. We’re all still learning about the new platform, but it seems that you need a Thunderbolt 3 SSD that has been freshly formatted with APFS and set up with a new installation of macOS 11.1 Big Sur. See Howard Oakley’s writeup for details.
macOS Recovery / Recovery
When you need to reinstall macOS or restore from a Time Machine backup, head to macOS Recovery. From the Startup Manager screen, select Options and click Continue underneath it. After you choose a language, an initial macOS Recovery screen appears. Note that you have access to the Apple menu, which lets you choose Startup Disk, Restart, or Shut Down, and to the Recovery Assistant menu, which includes a potentially useful Erase Mac command.
macOS Recovery presents you with a list of users. Select one for which you know the login password, click Next, and enter the password when prompted. Now, in the Recovery app, you can restore from Time Machine, reinstall Big Sur, launch Safari to browse the Web and get online help from Apple, and open Disk Utility to manage drives.
The Recovery app has a full set of menus, and notice Utilities in particular. It lets you launch the Startup Security Utility, to reduce the macOS security level, or Terminal, if you want to run command-line tools before startup. (The old macOS single-user mode accessible by holding down S at startup has disappeared.) To return to the Recovery app from any other app, quit the current app. Finally, note that the Recovery app’s Window menu has an option for Recovery Log. As is often the case with logs, it may be inscrutable to all but high-level support experts.
Oddly, once you’re in macOS Recovery, there’s no way to return to the Startup Manager.
Target Disk Mode / Share Disk
If you ever want to access one Mac’s drives from another, you can connect the two Macs via a USB or Thunderbolt cable and use Target Disk Mode. On M1-based Macs, you initiate Target Disk Mode using a command in the Recovery app’s Utilities menu: Share Disk.
Choose Utilities > Share Disk to start sharing one of the M1-based Mac’s drives via Target Disk Mode. Select the drive and click Start Sharing. When you’re done using it, click Stop Sharing before disconnecting the cable.
Apple Diagnostics / Diagnostics Loader
If you’re worried that your M1-based Mac is suffering from a hardware failure, running Apple Diagnostics may shed some light on the problem. Oddly, getting to Apple Diagnostics still requires a hidden keystroke.
Once you’re in the Startup Manager screen, press and hold Command-D to reboot the Mac into the Diagnostics Loader app. You can choose to run the diagnostics offline or to share the information with Apple.
After you pick one, the diagnostics run right away and report back when they’re done. If you have an M1-based MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, make sure to plug it in first, or you’ll get an error telling you that the power adapter couldn’t be found.
The troubleshooting approaches that no longer seem to be available in any way are to reset the NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM) or the SMC (System Management Controller). Apparently, the NVRAM tests itself at startup and resets automatically if necessary. M1-based Macs reportedly don’t have an SMC in the same way as Intel-based Macs, so there’s no option to reset it.
It’s difficult for most of us to imagine that a camera—something that still feels like it’s a standalone object—could be improved significantly with a software update. But now that cameras are part of our phones, code is king. With iOS 14, the camera in your iPhone becomes all the more capable. You’d be excused for not discovering the new features, though, so here’s a rundown.
For professional and committed amateur photographers using an iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max, perhaps the most important new feature of iOS 14 is the Apple ProRAW image format. Standard RAW images provide raw information from the camera sensor, which can be tweaked in editing to achieve results that the camera’s standard processing can’t. Alas, RAW images can’t take advantage of the iPhone’s computational photography capabilities, such as stitching together many images to produce a single image with good exposure even in low light conditions.
The Apple ProRAW format gives you the best of both worlds: the iPhone’s computational photography plus the added flexibility of working with raw data to adjust exposure, color, and white balance. It’s far too complex to get into here, so if you’re interested, check out these articles by photographers Ben Sandofsky, Austin Mann, Nick Heer, and Om Malik, all of which feature copious visual examples.
We’ve all missed shots because we couldn’t get the Camera app open in time. That may still happen, but Apple is doing its best to help. The company says that the Camera app now opens faster and the time to the first shot is 25% faster. When taking a series of Portrait shots, the time between shots is 15% faster. Overall, Apple says, the Camera app is 90% faster, taking up to 4 frames per second.
Prioritize Faster Shooting
Want still more shooting speed? If you take a lot of action shots, iOS 14 offers a new Prioritize Faster Shooting option that reduces the amount of processing (probably reducing image quality slightly) when you press the shutter button rapidly. Turn that on in Settings > Camera.
Use Volume Buttons for Burst Photos or QuickTake
Burst mode is the best way to make sure you get the photo when shooting fast-moving subjects. Historically, you invoked burst mode by pressing and holding the shutter button. Unfortunately, in iOS 13 on the iPhone 11 models, Apple assigned that action to the QuickTake feature, which automatically starts taking a 1080p video regardless of the current mode. Burst mode required pressing the shutter button and dragging to the left, which is tricky to perform correctly under pressure.
Happily, iOS 14 gives us additional options. When in the Camera app, press and hold the physical Volume Up button to invoke burst mode—let up to stop taking photos. Pressing and holding the Volume Down button invokes QuickTake and records video as long as you press the button.
QuickTake Comes to iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max
QuickTake was initially available only on the iPhone 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max from 2019. When Apple released the second-generation iPhone SE in 2020, it too featured QuickTake. With iOS 14, the QuickTake feature also comes to 2018’s iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max. So if you have one of those models, try pressing and holding the shutter button to take a video, or use the Volume Down button.
Change Video Mode in the Camera App
Most people will probably want to set the resolution and frames-per-second for videos once and then forget it. That’s what you do in Settings > Camera > Record Video and Record Slo-mo. But if you do want to change the settings, getting back to that screen quickly is difficult. In iOS 14, Apple added a pair of tiny indicators to the upper-right corner of the Camera app when you’re in Video or Slo-mo. They tell you what resolution and frames-per-second you’re using, and tapping either one cycles you through the other options.
Preserve Exposure Adjustment
Sometimes, when you’re taking photos in challenging lighting conditions, you want to override the automatic exposure settings and keep those settings across multiple shots. In Settings > Camera > Preserve Settings, you can now enable Exposure Adjustment ➊, which maintains your settings across shots and shows the exposure adjustment indicator ➋ near the upper left at all times. Tap that indicator to display the exposure adjustment slider ➌ below.
Mirror Front Camera
By default, when you’re taking a selfie with the iPhone’s front-facing camera, the preview shows you what you’d see in a mirror, but the eventual photo instead displays what someone looking at you would see. This is most noticeable when there’s text in the shot. Some people want the photo to look exactly like the mirrored version without having to edit the photo and flip it. iOS 14 now makes that possible with a Mirror Front Camera switch in Settings > Camera. It affects only the photo you take, not the preview, so you won’t see any change while composing the shot. In the examples below, the left-hand image shows the Camera app’s default behavior, and the right-hand image shows what you get if you enable Mirror Front Camera.
If any of these new features sound compelling, take a few minutes to see if you can work them into your regular shooting.
Even as we get 5G cellular connectivity and high-speed Wi-Fi networks, there are plenty of times when you might want to reduce your data usage. Perhaps you’re trying to avoid running over a data cap while traveling, or maybe you’re sharing a Wi-Fi network with a very slow Internet connection. Either way, you can prevent your iPhone from using more data than necessary by enabling Low Data Mode. For cellular, find the switch in Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options. For Wi-Fi, in Settings > Wi-Fi, tap the i button next to the network you’re using. In either case, make sure to turn Low Data Mode off once you no longer need it to avoid getting confused about why background sync tasks don’t complete.
Many of us have been using iPhones for years, and apps we bought or downloaded long ago molder in corners of our Home screens. Even if you haven’t played Flappy Bird in years, its pixelated icon still stares glumly at you every time you peer at its Home screen, and it’s far from alone. To find out how many apps you have, go to Settings > General > About and look next to Applications. So where are they all?
Unless you’re one of those highly organized people who keeps every app in a folder (we’re jealous), you probably have quite a few Home screens holding all those apps. The first one or two may be nicely laid out, with your most frequently used apps close at hand. But after that? We can never find little-used apps on the fourth or sixth Home screen. Instead, we search for such apps—swipe down on a Home screen and type a few characters from its name. But wouldn’t it be nice to see an alphabetically sorted list of all your installed apps?
That’s what iOS 14’s App Library provides, though it may not be evident at first glance. (Sadly, the App Library isn’t available in iPadOS 14.) A new screen to the right of your last Home screen, the App Library collects all your apps into folders. At the top, Suggestions includes four suggested apps based on time, location, or activity, and Recently Added shows the apps you’ve downloaded lately. The rest of the folders organize apps by category. In a folder grid, tapping a large icon opens that app, while tapping the group of four small icons in the lower-right corner opens the folder. When in jiggle mode, you can also drag an app out of the App Library to a Home screen or tap the X badge on an app icon to delete it.
Since you can’t rename any of the App Library folders or move apps between them, most of them aren’t that useful for finding something quickly, though you may enjoy browsing in them. However, if you tap the App Library search field at the top, it displays a lovely alphabetical list of all the apps installed on your iPhone. Finally! You can tap a letter on the right to jump to that spot in the list (D in the left-hand screenshot below), or enter a couple of characters to filter the list by name and category (which is why a search for “Flight” also finds travel apps like Kayak and Expedia in the right-hand screenshot).
Perhaps most important, you need to understand that the App Library always contains all the apps installed on your iPhone. If you delete an app from the App Library, you’re deleting it from your iPhone.
Now that you know what the App Library is, what does it enable you to do?
Remove Apps from Your Home Screens
Because all apps are accessible from the App Library, they no longer need to be on a Home screen. That means you can take seldom-used apps off your Home screens and access them from the App Library. To do this, first touch and hold an empty spot on any Home screen to enter jiggle mode. Tap the minus sign – badge on any app ➊, and then tap Remove from Home Screen ➋. That’s effective but slow, since you have to remove apps one at a time.
Here’s a faster approach. In jiggle mode, start dragging an app with your thumb. Then, with another finger, tap other apps to add them to the stack. Once you’ve collected all the apps you want to remove from the Home screen, drag them to the right (or swipe left on the Home screen with another finger) until you get to the App Library. Then lift your thumb.
If you’d rather sweep your apps under a virtual rug, you can hide entire Home screens. They still exist; you just don’t see them until you reveal them again. (You could also create a Home screen that contains just travel-related apps and show it only when you’re on vacation.) When in jiggle mode, tap the lozenge that indicates the number of Home screens (➌ above) and then tap the circle ➍ under each Home screen thumbnail to show (checked) or hide (empty) it. Tap Done when you’re finished.
Organize Your Main Home Screens
Before the App Library, creating focused Home screens was a nightmare because you had no idea where the apps you wanted to bring together might be located. With the App Library, that’s no longer an issue. Try these steps to create a new Home screen that contains a particular subset of your apps.
In the App Library, tap the search field to display the alphabetic list of all apps.
Touch and hold the app you want to add to a Home screen.
Keep your finger down without moving; you should feel a tap of feedback and a menu will appear.
Continue holding down on the app without moving your finger; a second or two later, iOS will display the rightmost Home screen.
Lift your finger to drop the app; it will show up in a few seconds.
Swipe back to the App Library and repeat these steps.
That approach is effective but a bit slow. Here’s a faster way. Enter jiggle mode, go to the App Library, navigate into a folder, and start dragging an app with your thumb. iOS will immediately send you to the last Home screen, but use another finger to swipe left so you go back to the App Library. Then navigate into a folder and tap desired apps to add them to your stack. Once you’ve collected everything, swipe right with your other finger to return to the last Home screen and lift your thumb to drop all the apps.
Once you’ve populated the Home screen with your desired apps, rearrange them as desired while still in jiggle mode. Remember that you can also create folders by dragging one app onto another, and put apps in folders by dragging them in.
Focus on Newly Downloaded Apps
The App Library also addresses the problem of what to do with newly downloaded apps. Previously, they’d show up at the bottom-right of some Home screen, but you couldn’t always predict which one. In iOS 14, you can now control that behavior in Settings > Home Screen. If you select Add to Home Screen, iOS will continue to add apps that you download to a Home screen. But if you prefer a clean screen, select App Library Only instead.
In the latter case, newly downloaded apps appear in the Recently Added folder on the main App Library screen, with the three most recent apps represented with large icons. Remember that you can tap the large icons to open the associated app or tap the four small icons to open the folder. The folder shows only the eight most recently downloaded apps, sorted alphabetically. And, of course, all the new apps also appear in the App Library’s alphabetical list and in the appropriate category folders.
If you’ve been suffering under the cognitive load of numerous unorganized Home screens, think about how you can use the App Library in iOS 14 to streamline your iPhone experience. You might even find that you like having just a couple of Home screens and leaving everything else in the App Library.
You likely know that you can use Do Not Disturb to prevent random notifications on your iPhone from waking you at night—it’s easy to set a Do Not Disturb schedule for your usual sleeping hours. Another setting in there is important but often overlooked. If you ever use your iPhone during those Do Not Disturb hours—perhaps to read a book while a partner or roommate is asleep—you don’t want it to make any noise. To prevent that, in Settings > Do Not Disturb, make sure to set Silence to Always instead of While iPhone Is Locked.