iOS 16 has made its grand entrance. WWDC 2022 included a sneak peek at the next version of Apple’s iPhone software. We now have a better idea of all the new features coming to your iPhone, such as a redesigned lock screen with widgets, significant Messages improvements, a shared photo library for families, and more.
There’s another reason to be concerned about iOS 16. The final version will be released at the same time as the new iPhone 14 models, which are expected later this year.
Here’s what we know so far about iOS 16’s major changes.
iOS 16 cheat sheet: The most significant new iPhone features
- The lock screen in iOS 16 is being completely redesigned. The clock font, font color, and wallpapers can all be customized. You can also insert widgets and rearrange photos.
- The lock screen can now be focused on. You can make new lock screens that are linked to your Focus modes, such as work and play, each with their own customizations and widgets.
- Messages now includes the ability to edit and delete messages. SharePlay will also work in Messages.
- Apple Pay now supports contactless payments with merchants using only iPhones, with no additional hardware required. Apple Pay Later allows you to divide a purchase into four payments spread out over six weeks, with no interest or fees.
- The iCloud Shared Photo Library allows people to seamlessly share photos in a separate iCloud library.
- Family sharing has been improved, allowing parents to set up their children’s devices much more quickly and easily.
iOS 16’s potential release date
WWDC 2022 has arrived; the event began on June 6 with an opening day keynote. With WWDC came a preview of iOS 16, followed by the release of a developer beta. The public beta will be available in July.
The final version of iOS 16 is expected to be released in the fall, alongside the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro. We don’t know when the iPhone 14 will be released, but Apple usually launches in September. iOS 16 is expected to be released at the same time as the iPhone 14.
What devices will be able to run iOS 16?
Apple’s last two software updates have been compatible with the same devices, with support dating back to the iPhone 6s, which was released in the fall of 2015. However, because a number of iOS 15 features require more modern hardware, Apple is discontinuing support for some older phones.
Indeed, Apple has stated that iOS 16 will be available for iPhone 8 and later models. Previous rumors suggested that with this release, the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, and the original iPhone SE from 2016 would lose iOS support. However, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are no longer supported by iOS 16.
Owners of those phones have no reason to be upset if iOS 16 marks the end of Apple support. The original iPhone SE was released six years ago, and the iPhone 6s models will be seven years old this fall; the iPhone 7 is also approaching its sixth birthday. Given the advances in processing power since then, it’s only natural to assume that some iOS 16 capabilities are beyond the capabilities of those devices.
The lock screen on iOS 16
Apple spent a significant amount of time emphasizing the iOS 16 lock screen. In a nutshell, it’s a complete redesign of the old, tired lock screen. There are numerous changes, some of which resemble what Google has done with Android.
You can change the font and color of the clock, move pictures around, experiment with different styles like filters, change one or more elements, and create multiple lock screens. You can also use entire themes, such as astronomy or weather.
Notifications now appear at the bottom of the screen rather than in the center of your wallpaper. To keep your lock screen clear, you can hide them throughout the day. And, for notifications that are constantly updating in real time, such as sports apps, iOS 16 introduces Live Activities, which makes it much easier to stay on top of things.
The ability to have a live screen with widgets appears to set the stage for an always-on display, which is popular on Android phones but not on Apple’s devices. Apple has not officially stated that this will change with the iPhone 14. However, code in the iOS 16 developer beta suggests an always-on display, which we’d associate with the iPhone 14 Pro models, given that those devices are expected to have a refresh rate of 1Hz.
Messages in iOS 16
Messages will also see significant enhancements. Many people will appreciate the ability to edit and undo your messages, which has been long overdue. You can also mark threads as unread if you want to return to them later. SharePlay, which debuted in iOS 15, is now available in Messages as well.
You can now switch between voice and text in Dictation thanks to new updates. While speaking, the keyboard remains open, and you can select text with your finger and replace it with dictation. Dictation will also end punctuation and emojis automatically.
Focus on iOS 16
One of our favorite additions to iOS 15 was Focus, which blocked out unwanted distractions so you could focus on what you were doing, whether it was work or play. And it will be even better in iOS 16.
For starters, it will now include the ability to create custom screens tied to a specific focus mode on your iPhone’s lock screen. For example, you could configure one for work, complete with work-related wallpaper, widgets, and customizations, and another for relaxing at home.
Furthermore, the Focus customizations will be extended to selected apps — for example, if you’ve selected Work Focus mode, Safari, Messages, Mail, and Calendar will only show notifications related to that. On the lock screen, switching between Focus modes would be as simple as swiping between them.
Maps in iOS 16
Apple’s navigation app is expanding once more, now covering 11 new countries. It’s also adding six new cities to its 3D city map network, including Chicago, Sydney, and the stunningly beautiful Las Vegas.
More practically, you can now include up to fifteen stops in an Apple Maps route, allowing you to easily navigate between multiple points. You can add more on the fly by asking Siri, or you can plan ahead of time on a Mac and send it to your iPhone when you’re ready.
If you use public transportation, Apple Maps now lets you check the fares for your trip, and you can add your transit cards to the Apple Wallet app to see if you have enough credit to get to your destination.
Live Text and Visual Lookup in iOS 16
iOS 16 will also include improvements to Live Text and Visual Lookup. You’ll be able to extract text from videos starting with Live Text. You can pause at any time and highlight the text you want to see. Live Text is also supported in Translate, allowing you to highlight large amounts of foreign text.
Visual Lookup allows you to highlight the query’s subject. Simply tap and hold, lift, and place the subject in the app of your choice. Messages was Apple’s suggestion.
Photos and Family Sharing in iOS 16
Although iOS already has a plethora of useful features for families, Family Sharing has been updated for iOS 16. The main difference is that setting up a child’s device will now be much faster and easier thanks to the Quick Start option, which applies existing settings to a new phone. Given that children are not known for their patience, this is very much appreciated. However, the ability to approve (or deny) requests for more screen time directly from Messages, rather than having to navigate to Settings, may be even more useful.
In addition, Apple debuted the new iCloud Shared Photo Library. This is a separate library from your other iCloud items, and it allows you to collaboratively share photos with friends and family, just like Google Photos. You have the option of adding up to five people.
You can share just what you want or all of your photos, and you can organize them by person or date. In terms of sharing, you can either manually add images or use the new sharing shortcut in the Camera app to automatically add images as you take them. If you want to go that route, you can flip this switch to enable it automatically.
Photos will even recommend images to share on the For You tab. Everyone in the shared library has the same level of access.
Safety Check in iOS 16
Because Apple wants to take a stand for personal safety, iOS 16 will include Safety Check. This allows victims of domestic violence to easily revoke account access, such as removing location sharing or app permissions. Safety Check can reset all privacy permissions and protect message access.