The best hidden features in iOS and iPadOS 14

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Best hidden features in iOS 14
There's a lot more to discover in iOS 14.
Photo: Apple

WWDC 2020Apple showcased some major changes and improvements for iOS 14 during its big WWDC 2020 keynote on Monday — and it was just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more that we didn’t get to see.

We’re now discovering what some of those things are, thanks to the first beta release, which is already available to registered developers. Here are our picks for the best hidden features in iOS 14.

Today in Apple history: iOS 4 brings multitasking and FaceTime

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Next year's iPhone could resemble the classic iPhone 4.
iOS 4 brought important new features to iPhones and the recently released iPad.
Photo: Yutaka Tsutano/Ste Smith

June 21: Today in Apple history: Apple releases iOS 4, which brings multitasking and FaceTime June 21, 2010: Apple releases iOS 4, which introduces a range of productivity features as well as the FaceTime videotelephony service.

iOS 4 represents a big step forward for Apple’s flourishing mobile devices. Due to the arrival of the first-gen iPad earlier in the year, iOS 4 also brings a transition from the mobile operating system’s original name, “iPhone OS.”

Today in Apple history: iPhone 4 preorders set an impressive record

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The iPhone 4 wound up selling 1.7 million units in its first weekend.
Photo: Matthew Yohe/Wikipedia CC

June 16: Today in Apple history: Apple receives record preorders for iPhone 4 June 16, 2010: Apple reports a massive surge of interest in its upcoming iPhone 4, with 600,000 sales on the first day of preorders.

The company calls the number “far higher” than expected. At the time, it’s the largest number of iPhone preorders Apple has ever taken in a single day. AT&T suffers server problems thanks to the demand — with 10 times the usual traffic on its website. It’s proof positive that Apple is onto a winner!

Facebook Messenger Rooms can handle calls with up to 50 people in US

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Facebook Messenger Rooms allows users to host video calls of up to 50 people free of charge.
Photo: Facebook

Facebook took on Zoom and FaceTime Thursday by enabling its new video-calling service, Messenger Rooms, to make free calls between as many as 50 people.

The feature was announced last month, and is available now is the US and Canada. It’ll be rolled out globally next week, according to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Group FaceTime gets a lot less chaotic in latest iOS beta

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Sick of those taking on Group FaceTime growing in size? iOS 13.5 beta let's you disable it.
Photo: Apple

A Group FaceTime feature some people find irritating can be disabled in the upcoming iOS version. Currently, the tile showing the face of the person speaking gets larger, pushing everyone else aside. The iOS 13.5 beta introduced Wednesday gives users the option to turn this off.

Apple pays $18 million to settle lawsuit saying it broke FaceTime on older devices

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FaceTime
Lawsuit argued Apple broke FaceTime on older devices.
Photo: Apple

Apple agreed to pay $18 million to claimants in a California class-action lawsuit that argued Cupertino broke FaceTime on older iPhone devices to save money.

The court filing, made Monday, means that members of the class action each will receive a whopping $3 for their troubles. However, that amount could increase if some members fail to cash their checks. The remainder of the money will cover lawyer fees and other costs.

Mozilla rates the video-calling apps; praises FaceTime for ‘holy grail’ of encryption

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A Group FaceTime call on the Mac.
FaceTime isn't perfect, but it's pretty great for encryption.
Photo: Apple

Video-calling apps are booming right now, but which ones can you trust when it comes to security? A Mozilla report published Tuesday assesses all the major platforms, noting which apps do and do not pass the privacy-conscious foundation’s minimum security standards.

The big takeaway? Most of the top video conferencing apps, FaceTime included, are actually impressively secure. But there are a few outliers.

Sorry, FaceTime, no Zoom boom for you

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Group FaceTime is a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends during coronavirus quarantine.
Group FaceTime use apparently exists mainly in Apple publicity pictures.
Photo: Apple

Americans love Apple’s video chatting app FaceTime, according to the results of a survey released Wednesday. But they don’t use it for group chats. As a result, use of FaceTime hasn’t increased at all while millions of people around the world self quarantine.

Instead, rival Zoom has enormously increased in popularity in recent weeks.

Florida court throws out suit claiming Apple purposely broke FaceTime for some users

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FaceTime
Did Apple break FaceTime to push users to upgrade? This court doesn't think so.
Photo: Apple

A federal court has thrown out a Florida-based lawsuit claiming that Apple intentionally broke FaceTime for people with older Apple devices.

The lawsuit is very similar to a class action suit filed in California. Apple settled that lawsuit, related to the iPhone 4 and 4s, in February. Like that case, the Florida case concerned iPhones running iOS 6 and earlier. A Florida court wasn’t won over, however. It tossed out the suit Tuesday, claiming that it is “untimely and must be dismissed.”