Understanding the list of devices and operating systems to test is crucial when it comes to mobile app development and Quality Assurance testing. This year, Apple and Google are releasing two new OS versions: Android 11 and iOS 14.
We looked at both beta versions side by side to understand the new upcoming functionality for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Announced at this year’s virtual WWDC in June, iOS 14 will be officially released this fall (likely in September). Each device that currently supports iOS 13 will support iOS 14.
iOS 14 comes with a variety of new features, including a redesigned home screen. Widgets will be available on home screens, and iOS 14 adds new capabilities like stacking and “Smart Stacking” (which automatically brings widgets forward based on your usage habits).
Usability is improved with iOS 14, as universal search allows users to search within apps and the web for what they need. Incoming calls and Siri are also redesigned to take up less space of the screen, with compact pop-ups.
This version also incorporates an App Library, similar to Android’s App Drawer. This lets iOS users remove app icons from their home screens, allowing for greater customization of their device.
Camera quality will see improvement as well with iOS 14. The Camera app will allow users to change the resolution and frame rate within the app. The shot-to-shot performance will be much faster and an exposure compensation slider will be introduced. Newer iPhone models will see additional improvements.
Another sought after Android feature that is introduced in iOS 14 is Picture-in-picture mode. Picture-in-picture allows users to minimize and view videos or FaceTime calls while using other apps.
FaceTime will now have the ability to detect sign language use and focus on the person using it, to make communication easier. For some devices, FaceTime will also be upgraded to 1080p.
In addition to new app functions, iMessaging will have more customizable features (like pinning messages) and will incorporate message threads. Groups can be customized with images, including Memojis, which are seeing updates to customization options as well as a more expressive facial structure.
The App Clips feature in iOS 14 is aimed at improving Android’s Instant Apps functionality. App Clips allows users to access part of an app, with pay and sign-in integration, without downloading it.
An exciting feature of iOS 14 is the new translate app. It’s designed for translating conversations in real-time and even functions offline, with 11 languages included at the launch. The App Store is currently available in 175 countries and regions and 40 different languages. If you’d like to know more about Localizing your app for iOS, visit https://developer.apple.com/localization/
With a continuous effort to improve privacy, iOS 14 includes multiple security updates. Safari will now include password monitoring and privacy reporting. Privacy information will be more transparent within the App Store, and a new recording indicator will appear onscreen whenever an app is using the microphone or camera. Approximate locations can be shared with apps in lieu of exact locations, and users will now be able to share only a portion of their photos instead of their entire library.
Accessibility is being improved with iOS 14, in a variety of ways. VoiceOver will be able to understand more of what is on the screen. A new “headphone accommodations” feature adjusts headphone sound to better match users’ hearing. The Magnifier and voice control options have been updated, along with a new sound recognition system that has the device constantly listen for and alert you of 14 different sounds. The new Back Tap feature will also increase accessibility, as various actions can be performed by tapping the back of the phone. This is useful for people with cognitive or motor disabilities.
Apple’s Map App is also seeing changes to increase usability and enrich user experience. Bicycling directions will feature more robust information about the landscape, and a new electric vehicle routing option will ensure that charging stations are included along the route. A new Guides feature is being introduced to help users explore. Other apps, like the Music and Weather apps, will see improvements as well.
Wind Down mode, which will help users get ready for bed, will also be introduced with iOS 14. This mode will allow users to set their desired sleep cycle and will turn on Do Not Disturb mode. It will work with the Apple Watch and will have options for shortcuts to other relaxing apps.
Car keys are being introduced with iOS 14, allowing users to add a virtual car key to their wallet. They can unlock and start the car from their phone, and even share keys with family or friends. Along with car keys, Power Reserve is being expanded for car keys. Power Reserve allows users to use NFC functions (like transit passes and the new car keys) up to five hours after the device dies or is turned off.
Find more information about the new iOS 14 features here: https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-14-preview/
Android 11 beta was announced and launched in June. The full release will likely occur in September, with iOS 14. Android 11’s new features and functionalities are focused more on improving the experience for the user without making drastic changes.
Android 11’s focus on privacy can be seen with the updated app permissions. Users are now able to select ‘Just this once’ to allow permissions for apps, and permissions for apps that are used infrequently will reset by default.
Usability is increased with Android 11 in a variety of ways. Increased touch sensitivity, revamped power and overview menus, and context-aware dark mode are just a few examples. A built-in screen recorder app is being introduced, along with an improved screenshot markup interface. Allowing Bluetooth to work during Airplane mode will help users as well.
There’s an emphasis on making connections on Android 11. Messaging bubbles will be reintroduced, along with a dedicated message notification section above all other notifications.
Accessibility is an additional improvement for Android 11. Voice Access will receive a major update, as it will be able to understand screen context and content. This will make it much easier for users to control their devices through voice commands.
The new Device Control hub allows users to quickly access and control connected devices, media output, and payment options without accessing an app. The media controls are more robust, designed to function better with more information at your fingertips.
Notification history will be available to users for the first time, and notifications will be muted during videos.
For a more in-depth look at new Android 11 features, check out: https://android-developers.googleblog.com/2020/06/unwrapping-android-11-beta-plus-more.html
Year after year, iOS and Android OS improve and make user’s day-to-day lives even easier; but with new OS functionalities comes more functionality testing for developers and QA teams. With these newest features, it will be important to keep an eye on how users continuously change the way they interact with their devices, and more importantly your product.
Understanding OS user statistics is also an important part of QA testing. Make sure to check out our blog for posts about iOS and Android statistics. Since 2008, we’ve watched iOS and Android develop and improve and have used each iteration for the work we do.
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