Apple unveils iOS 16 with reimagined Lock Screen and much more
It’s the first day of Apple’s developer conference, and in its big keynote, the company has revealed what’s coming in the next iteration of its mobile operating system.
If you’ve ever wished your iPhone’s Lock Screen was more customizable, Apple has you covered in iOS 16. There’s a new multilayered effect which lets you set the subject of photos in front of the time, and users can finally change the look of the date and time with different type choices and colors. That’s not all though.
You can add widgets to the Lock Screen (weather, battery levels, alarms, time zones, Activity ring progress and so on), while Live Activities helps you stay on top of live sports games, food order deliveries, and much more.
Notifications will now roll up from the bottom, so they don’t get in the way, which is a very welcome change for me and -- I'm sure -- many others.
The Focus feature has been updated, so you can now tie a Lock Screen's wallpaper and widgets to a particular Focus. Focus filters lets you choose which content apps should display, based on your current Focus option.
Messages, Apple’s chat app, has been updated and now lets you edit messages, and unsend any fired off in error. You can also mark conversations as unread allowing you to come back to them later.
Share Play is coming to Messages too, so you can enjoy synced content such as movies or songs.
iCloud Share Photo Library lets families (with up to six members) share photos between them, and there are new tools for Mail which will allow you to schedule emails or cancel messages before they reach the recipient -- handy if you change your mind or forget to include an attachment.
There are Live Text and Visual Look Up improvements too, plus the Wallet feature gains Apple Pay Later, Order Tracking, and more.
Other highlights of iOS 16 include:
- Safari adds shared Tab Groups to share a collection of websites with friends and family, making it seamless to add tabs and see what others are viewing. Browsing in Safari is even safer with passkeys, unique digital keys that are easy to use, more secure, never stored on a web server, and stay on device so hackers can’t steal them in a data breach or trick users into sharing them. Designed to replace passwords, passkeys use Touch ID or Face ID for biometric verification, and iCloud Keychain to sync across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV with end-to-end encryption. They will also work across apps and the web, and users can sign in to websites or an app on non-Apple devices using just their iPhone.
- Apple Maps is introducing multistop routing, so users can plan up to 15 stops in advance and automatically sync routes from Mac to iPhone when they’re ready to go. Maps is also bringing transit updates to users, making it easy for riders to view how much their journey will cost, add transit cards to Wallet, see low balances, and replenish transit cards, all without leaving Maps.
- Family Sharing offers an easier way to set up an account for a child with the right parental controls in place from the start. It includes suggestions for age-appropriate restrictions for apps, movies, books, music, and more, and a simpler process for setting up a new device that applies existing parental controls automatically. When a child asks for more screen time, guardians can approve or decline right in Messages.
- Dictation offers a new on-device experience that allows users to fluidly move between voice and touch. Users can type with the keyboard, tap in the text field, move the cursor, and insert QuickType suggestions, all without needing to stop Dictation. In addition, Dictation features automatic punctuation and emoji dictation.
- Siri adds the ability to run shortcuts as soon as an app is downloaded without requiring upfront setup. Users can add emoji when sending a message, choose to send messages automatically -- skipping the confirmation step -- and hang up phone and FaceTime calls completely hands-free by simply saying "Hey Siri, hang up."
- The Home app makes it easier for users to navigate, organize, and view their accessories, and enhancements to the underlying architecture offer users more efficient and reliable control of their smart home. A software update to iOS 16 will bring support for the Matter smart home connectivity standard once it becomes available later this fall, enabling a wide variety of accessories to work together seamlessly across platforms, helping fulfill the true vision of a smart home.
- The Fitness app is available to all iPhone users to help track and meet fitness goals, even if they don’t have an Apple Watch. iPhone users can set up a daily Move goal in the Fitness app and see how their active calories will help close their Move ring. iPhone motion sensors can track steps, distance, flights climbed, and workouts from third-party apps, which can be converted into an estimation of active calories to contribute to users’ daily Move goal. Users can also share their Move ring with friends for additional motivation.
- The Health app adds Medications, allowing users to conveniently build and manage a medications list, create schedules and reminders, and track their medications, vitamins, or supplements. In the US, users can simply point their iPhone camera at a label to add a medication, read about the medications they’re taking, and receive an alert if there are potential critical interactions for their medications. In addition, users can share their Health data with loved ones, and easily create a PDF of available health records from connected health institutions, right from the Health app.
- Apple News introduces a new My Sports section to easily follow favorite teams and leagues; receive stories from hundreds of top publishers; access scores, schedules, and standings for the top professional and college leagues; and watch highlights right in the News app.
- Game Center features a redesigned dashboard that shows friends’ activity and accomplishments from games in one place, making it easy for players to jump in to play with or compete against their friends.
- Personalized Spatial Audio enables an even more precise and immersive listening experience. Listeners can use the TrueDepth camera on iPhone to create a personal profile for Spatial Audio that delivers a listening experience tuned just for them.
- A new privacy tool called Safety Check can be helpful to users whose personal safety is at risk from domestic or intimate partner violence by quickly removing all access they’ve granted to others. It includes an emergency reset that helps users easily sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, reset privacy permissions, and limit messaging to just the device in their hand. It also helps users understand and manage which people and apps they’ve given access to.
- Accessibility updates include Door Detection, which helps users who are blind or low vision to use their iPhone to navigate the last few feet to their destination, and Apple Watch Mirroring for users with physical and motor disabilities who may rely on assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control to fully control Apple Watch from their iPhone. Additionally, Live Captions make it easier for the Deaf and hard of hearing community to follow along while on a phone or FaceTime call, using a videoconference or social media app, streaming media content, or having a conversation with someone next to them.
"iOS 16 is a big release with updates that will change the way you experience iPhone," said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. "We have reimagined how the Lock Screen looks and works with exciting new features that make it more personal and helpful, introduced iCloud Shared Photo Library for families, streamlined communication through new capabilities in Messages and Mail, and harnessed enhanced intelligence with updates to Live Text and Visual Look Up."
The developer preview of iOS 16 is already available to Apple Developer Program members and a public beta will be released to iOS users next month at beta.apple.com.
The OS will be released this fall as a free software update for iPhone 8 and later.