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iPhone won’t force you to use radical iOS 14 home screen changes: What you need to know – CNET

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A look at Apple’s redesigned home screens for iOS 14.

Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET

Change is never easy, especially for longtime iPhone ($699 at Apple) owners who’ve perfected their screen layout. Now, Apple has gone and changed all that. “Major redesign” is a phrase that’s being tossed around. It’s true that iOS 14 brings customization tools that present a new way to reorganize your apps for easy viewing, and the ability to place widgets of multiple sizes all over the screen. You can even hide entire pages of your app icons that you don’t use, but don’t feel like deleting. But what you’ll get, in fact, isn’t a home screen redesign at all, just a little flexibility.

The new home screen tools are completely voluntary to use. Here’s what happens if you skip them altogether: nothing at all.

When iOS 14 comes to public beta in July and for everyone else in the fall (developers can download iOS 14 now), you’ll actually see the same home screen layout you do now in iOS 13 or 13.5, with a grid of icons that stretches out over multiple screens. 

In iOS 14, however, you’ll have several new options. You’ll be able to add widgets to the home screen if you’d like, including choosing their sizes, position and whether you want a new feature called Smart Stack to cycle a main widget depending on the time of day. (For example, you might want the weather in the morning and a wind down routine at night.)

Now playing: Watch this: First take: iOS 14 and all its new features

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You can view and hide multiple pages of apps you don’t often use or remember. That’ll cut the clutter without you having to delete apps. (Press and hold until the apps jiggle. Tap the row of circles at the bottom of the screen. Select the pages you want to hide, then press Done.)

The apps are still there, but now — and this is where that folder view comes in — there’s a new way to find them. App Library is Apple’s name for a new feature that keeps tabs on all your apps by organizing them into those big boxy folders you see above. You reach it by swiping to the right until you get to the end of your remaining home screens. Then swipe again until you reach the App Library — it’s like a bonus page.

And this is a page that’s curated through Apple’s AI. You have suggestions and most recently added apps at the top, as well as folders that have organized the apps you have by type. You can vertically scroll to find the icon you recognize, or you can type the app into the search field or scroll alphabetically by app name.

If you don’t want to use it, you can keep your screen layout exactly how it is.

The same goes for widgets. iOS 14 will give you the same layout you have today by default, but soon you have the option to add widgets to the Home Screen yourself and rearrange them by dragging and dropping. 

For some other cool new iPhone tricks you’ll be able to see on your screen, read up on the Picture in Picture video tool. And here’s every important detail in iOS 14.

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