8 things you need to know about the iPhone 14

From car crash detection to a dynamic island – there’s plenty to explore

Apple took the covers off the iPhone 14 series during its ‘Far Out’ launch event on September 7, 2022, with four new handsets introduced.

Annual smartphone launches tend to see iterative upgrades over the previous generation from 12 months ago, and the quartet of iPhone 14 models are no different.

This isn’t a complete overhaul of Apple’s iconic iPhone line, rather it’s keeping with the same formula with the addition of a few new features.

So what has changed, and is it enough to make you consider an upgrade? Here’s everything you need to know about the new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus each held in a hand, with their screens illuminated.Credit: Apple
The iPhone 14 (L) and iPhone 14 Plus (R).

1. Four phones, two sizes

There’s a quartet for you to choose from

Another year, another four new iPhones to choose from. The four are divided into two groups.

First up there’s;

  • iPhone 14 – with a 6.1-inch display, two rear cameras, and the lowest price tag of the quartet
  • iPhone 14 Plus – with a 6.7-inch display and all the features as the 14

And for those who want more features, and have more to spend, there’s;

  • iPhone 14 Pro – with a 6.1-inch display, new chipset, three rear cameras, and the new ‘Display Island’ (more on that in a bit)
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max – with a 6.7-inch display and all the features as the 14 Pro

2. Crash Detection

The iPhone 14 can detect car crashes

One of the major new features Apple announced is Car Crash Detection.

All four new iPhone 14 models come with a high G-force accelerometer which can detect G-forces up to 256G, and along with the barometer (which can detect a sudden change in air pressure) the handsets can tell when you’ve been in a car crash.

Apple has spent years researching, gathering crash data and trialling the new system, with the features trained in the four main crash scenarios; front impact, side impact, rear-end collision and roll over.

In the event of a car crash, the new iPhone will automatically dial the emergency services – but it gives you a short while to respond before doing so. This allows you to cancel a false trigger, or decline emergency assistance if your collision is minor and doesn’t require specialist help.

3. Dynamic Island

The iPhone 14’s party trick is a useful one

If you have an iPhone from any of the more recent series of handsets (X, 11, 12, 13), you’ll be familiar with the ‘notch’ which cuts in at the top of the display, housing the front facing camera, plus sensors for the biometric Face ID unlock system.

This notch remains on the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, but if you opt for either of the pricier Pro models you’ll get the new ‘Dynamic Island’ instead.

In essence, it’s a smaller notch at the top of the screen, as Apple has been able to cram the selfie camera and various sensors into a smaller space. This means more screen real estate along the top of the display, which Apple is using to its advantage.

The island can expand to show pertinent information, including confirmation of switching to silent mode, connecting AirPods, charging status, new notifications and more.

If you’re listening to music and navigate to a different app, the Dynamic Island will show music playback is still going in the background, and tapping it will expand the area giving you quick controls such as play/pause and skip – without you having to leave the app you’re in.

There’s already plenty of integration with Dynamic Island, but it will likely become more powerful as app developers get to grips with the new feature.

4. Satellite SOS

No signal? No worries

Apple’s Emergency SOS feature has been available on iPhones for a while now, allowing you to dial emergency services quickly and easily – so long as you have mobile signal.

With iPhone 14, even if you find yourself in danger off grid, you’ll still be able to contact help thanks to Emergency SOS via satellite.

As the name suggests, instead of using traditional phone masts, the new iPhones can connect to satellites, allowing you to send and receive text messages.

Connecting to a satellite does require the help of an app, which will tell you which way to point your iPhone to make a connection.

Once connected, it can take anywhere between 15 seconds and a few minutes to send a message – depending on weather conditions.

It’s a service many of us will hardly ever use, if at all, but for those who enjoy adventuring off the beaten track it could be a vital feature.

There are a couple of caveats, however. The service is initially only rolling out for those in the US and Canada, and while you’ll get the first two years free, there will be a subscription cost (pricing currently unknown) after then.

5. Always-on display

Keep an eye on things important to you

This is another new feature reserved for the premium iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max models, allowing you to display key information on-screen even when your phone is locked and just sitting on the side.

It means you will be able to see things like the time, date, notifications and other options which you can customise, without having to tap to wake the screen.

The always-on display is a low-power mode, which means it shouldn’t drain too much power from the battery. If you place your iPhone face down, or into a pocket or bag, the always-on display will go dark to preserve battery life.


6. Improved cameras

Saying ‘cheese’ is getting even better

Close-up of the four rear cameras of the iPhone 14 ProCredit: Apple
The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max have a trio of upgraded cameras, including a 48MP main camera

As with every iPhone iteration, Apple has worked on improving its camera offering for its latest handsets, with claims of greatly enhanced low-light photography.

On the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, which pack a 12MP main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide camera, Apple says low-light photos are up to 2.5x better on the former and 2x better on the latter.

The main camera has a larger sensor and larger pixels than its predecessor in the iPhone 13, which leads to better motion freezing (i.e. less blur when snapping motion objects) and a faster focus thanks to a new hybrid system.

For those of you who like shooting video on your iPhone, the new Action Mode helps you capture smoother video, with support for Dolby Vision HDR.

There’s even more photography enhancements on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, with a 48MP main camera leading the trio of rear-mounted snappers. The sensor is 65% larger than the one found on the iPhone 13 Pro, and it allows you to crop photos and still have a high quality image.

There are a range of shooting modes too, including macro, ultra-wide, 2x telephoto and 3x telephoto, giving you plenty of options, plus low-light photography has been enhanced with a 2x improvement on the main and telephoto cameras, and a 3x improvement on the 12MP ultrawide camera.

Video-wise, the Pro duo also get Action Mode, plus the ability to shoot in 4K HDR at 24fps – the cinematic standard of video recording.

7. Price, Colours, Storage

The iPhone 14 is available now

You can purchase all four handsets on the Apple website, in-store and from all the major mobile networks.

iPhone 14

Price: £849 (128GB of storage), £959 (256GB), £1,179 (512GB)

Release date: September 16 2022

Colours: Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, (Product) Red

iPhone 14 Plus

Price: £949 (128GB), £1,059 (256GB), £1,279 (512GB)

Release date: October 7 2022

Colours: Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, (Product) Red

iPhone 14 Pro

Price: £1,099 (128GB), £1,209 (256GB), £1,429 (512GB), £1,649 (1TB)

Release date: September 16 2022

Colours: Deep Purple, Gold, Silver, Space Black

iPhone 14 Pro Max

Price: £1,199 (128GB), £1,309 (256GB), £1,529 (512GB), £1,749 (1TB)

Release date: September 16 2022

Colours: Deep Purple, Gold, Silver, Space Black

8. Should you upgrade?

Take a moment to consider your options

iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus in every colour, back to back and arranged in an arch.Credit: Apple
The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus (above) are the most affordable of the new iPhones.

It’s the million-dollar question, and we should note we’ve not yet had time to get our hands on the new iPhone 14 series to test out Apple’s various claims.

While there are some nice new features included in the handsets, it feels like there aren’t any major advancements for most users to warrant an upgrade from their iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 series device.

If you’re using an older iPhone, then you may want to consider an upgrade. Moving up will likely give you better performance, better battery life and some newer features your current handset doesn’t offer.

You don’t have to upgrade to the iPhone 14 series though. With the introduction of the new generation of handsets, the prices for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 have dropped. These handsets still have several years of major software and security updates ahead of them, and there’s enough power under the hood to keep things running smoothly for years to come.

It’s worth shopping around to see what deals retailers and mobile networks are offering on the new iPhone 14 series, but also on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series. Unless you’re going to be shooting a lot of 4K footage, frequently relying on the camera to take gallery-worthy photos or planning on going on a bunch of off-grid expeditions in tough environments, you probably don’t need Apple’s latest and greatest.

If you’re not wedded to Apple’s ecosystem, Samsung’s latest flagship Galaxy S23 series of handsets offers an alternative choice for you.

John McCann

Written by John McCann he/him


John McCann has been a technology journalist for more than a decade, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He’s interviewed CEOs from some of the world’s biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. During his time in journalism, John has written for TechRadar, T3, What Laptop, Windows 8 magazine and Gizmodo UK, and he’s appeared in the Evening Standard and Metro newspapers.

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