iOS 14 tidbits: Long-press back button, Sound Recognition in Accessibility, custom widget stacks


As we dig deeper into iOS 14, we’re learning more about what exactly is included in this year’s update for iPhone and iPod touch users. In addition to things like a redesigned home screen and picture-in-picture, there are a variety of other changes as well.

Sound Recognition in Accessibility

iOS 14 is full of new Accessibility features, such as the Back Tap feature we told you about yesterday. Another new Accessibility feature is also included in iOS 14 for helping hearing-impaired users listen for certain sounds such as sirens and alarms. If the feature is enabled, your iPhone will listen for these sounds and send you an alert if one is detected.

To find this feature, open Settings, scroll down to Accessibility, then look for the “Sound Recognition” option. Here, you can customize which sounds you want to be notified about, including fire alarms, sirens, smoke alarms, animals, car horns, doorbells, and much more.

Apple explains:

Your iPhone will continuously listen for certain sounds, and using on-device intelligence, will notify you when sounds may be recognized. Sound Recognition should not be relied upon in circumstances where you may be harmed or injured, in high-risk or emergency situations, or for navigation.

Note Apple’s emphasis that all of this recognition is done on-device, thereby preventing any data from being sent to Apple’s servers or leaving your device at all.

Long-press back button

If you find yourself deep into multiple layers of menus, such as in the Settings app, you can now long-press on the back button to jump back to previous layers. For example, going into the Settings > General > Software Update, you can long-press on the back button in the upper-left corner to jump back to a previous layer of settings.

This is a small feature but one that might be useful, and it means you won’t have to repeatedly swipe back to get back to where you started.

Custom widget stacks

Finally, one of the biggest new features in iOS 14 is support for adding widgets to the home screen. As we explained yesterday, you can add a variety of different widgets such as Weather, Apple News, Fitness, and more. There’s also “Smart Stack,” which intelligently stacks multiple widgets together based on factors like time of day and Siri intelligence.

What you can also do is create custom stacks of widgets. This means you can pick different widgets and stack them on top of one another, then swipe between them.

To do this, simply add one widget to your home screen, then go back to the Widget Gallery and choose another and drag it on top of the first widget. You can stack many different widgets together, then swipe through them directly from the home screen.

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