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Smartphones & gadgets

5 new ways to customize your iPhone with iOS 14

Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 14, brings with it plenty of changes that make it easier to use your phone. But you might not know that iOS 14 is also giving you something Apple is traditionally stingy with, more customization options!

Anyone who’s used iOS for years knows it’s a lot less customizable than Android. But iOS 14 breaks the mold by giving you new aesthetic choices that can make iPhones look and feel great. Tap or click here to see some other great features to try in iOS 14.

Have you ever wanted to customize your iPhone to fit your tastes? Now you can, thanks to new features like iOS 14’s app library, Dark Mode and animated wallpapers. We’ll show you our favorite customizations you can try for yourself.

1. Give your eyes a break with Dark Mode

After years of requests from Apple fans, the company finally gave the people what they wanted: Dark Mode. This visual format automatically gives a dark theme to menus and system apps, making the screen easier to use and read in low-light settings.

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And if you have a newer iPhone with an OLED screen, Dark Mode can save your battery life. This is because pixels on OLED screens only light up when they’re in use, and Dark Mode keeps a good portion of your screen dark grey or black.

To activate Dark Mode, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Display and Brightness.
  3. Under Appearance, choose Dark.

For even better battery life and appearance, you can activate True Tone on the same settings page. This adjusts the brightness and colors of your screen to the ambient lighting in your environment. Turn True Tone on by sliding the toggle to the right.

2. Try the new animated wallpapers

If Apple’s stock wallpapers aren’t exciting enough for you, it included a couple of cool new ones with iOS 14 that actually move in response to your touch. To find these, open Settings, scroll down to Wallpaper > tap Choose a New Wallpaper and pick one of the Live wallpaper options.

Pressing on the screen will cause the images to animate. It’s an easy way to make your phone more visually interesting. But if you want to go even further, you can also take your own live photos and set them as animated wallpapers.

When taking a photo, tap the circle icon in the upper-right corner to make sure Live Photos are on. Once you’ve taken the photo you want to use, find it in the Photos app and follow these steps:

  1. Tap the photo to make the menu appear. Then, tap the square icon with the arrow pointing up in the bottom-left corner.
  2. Scroll down and tap Use as Wallpaper.
  3. Tap Set to confirm. You can choose to set the Live Wallpaper as your lock screen, home screen or both.

3. App widgets make your home screen useful

App widgets are a new feature in iOS 14 that lets you put small versions of an app on your home screen to use whenever you’d like. This can include full calendars, multiple clocks for different time zones and phone activity metrics. Some App Store apps even include their own widget options.

To create a widget, unlock your phone and swipe right. You may see pre-set app widgets to start you off. Press Edit to set up your own.

Tap the + button in the upper-left corner to see all the system widgets to choose from. If you tap on one, you can choose from one of three different sizes. The larger widgets will give more information but take up more of your screen. To confirm a widget, tap Add Widget.

To see widgets for App Store apps, tap Customize. You’ll see a list of all the apps with available widgets to choose from.

Once you’re sure of a widget you want to use, tap it and hold to drag it onto your home screen. You can place the widget anywhere you want and your apps will arrange themselves around it.

4. Clean up your home screen with the App Library

Many of us are wishy-washy about which apps we want to keep on our phones. Fewer icons may look cleaner, but you’ll end up missing out on features you use every day.

But on iOS 14, you can have the best of both worlds thanks to the App Library. This handy feature lets you delete apps from your home screen without removing them from your phone.

To clean up your apps, tap and hold an icon until a menu appears. Choose Remove App and then tap Remove from Home Screen to send it to the App Library. Do not tap on Delete App unless you want to actually delete it from your phone.

Once your apps have been sent to the App Library, you can swipe to the left on your home screen until you come to a menu with all of your app icons. The search bar at the top will say App Library, and you can tap this box to scroll through an alphabetical list of every app on your phone. Clean and convenient.

5. Turn your favorite websites into apps with web clips

This feature has been popular on iOS for years, but it goes perfectly with all of the new customization features. Web Clips are special bookmarks that turn a website you visit into an “app” that stays on your home screen.

If you have websites you visit every single day, it’s one of the most convenient and safe ways to navigate the web on your phone.

To create a Web Clip, open Safari on your phone. Visit the website you want to add to your home screen. Once you’ve arrived, tap the square icon with the arrow pointing up at the bottom-center of your screen and scroll down until you see Add to Home Screen.

Tap this button and an icon will appear that instantly takes you to the website when you open it. Now you can give your fingers a break and save yourself the trouble of typing in URLs.

Ready to make the jump but not on iOS 14 yet? Not to worry, we have a guide that can walk you through the whole process.

Tap or click here to see how to back up your phone and update to iOS 14.

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