Apple has official unveiled iOS 16, the next-generation version of its operating system for compatible iPhone models. As previous leaks and rumours suggested, Apple has introduced changes and improvements across the system at its annual WWDC keynote event. The software update to iOS 16 will arrive later this year on iPhone 8 and later devices — likely in September — and will feature improvements to the operating system, including an overhauled lock screen and notification system, along with improved and redesigned system apps. Developer previews will be available this week followed by a public beta next month, ahead of the public rollout later this year.
Improved Lock Screen support
The iOS 16 update will bring one of the biggest updates to the iOS Lock Screen in years with multi-layered cutomisation options. Users will have access to wallpapers with widget-like capabilities and the OS will allow users to pick from different typefaces and colour filters while customising their setup. They can also add widgets for upcoming calendar events, workout status and choose multiple widgets, while picking wallpapers and presets from a curated selection provided by Apple.
iOS 16 will also offer a Photo Shuffle mode that will allow users to automatically switch up their lockscreens. The update will also bring support for a Weather wallpaper that will show live weather conditions on the lockscreen, or an Astronomy wallpaper, to see views of the Earth, Moon, and solar system. Developers can also use WidgetKit to make it easier to bring their content to the lockscreen, according to Apple.
Apple has revamped notifications on iOS 16, so they don’t get in the way of personalised wallpapers and Lock Screen layouts. The lockscreen notifications on iOS will now scroll in from the bottom of the screen, making them easier to tap and access with one hand. Users can also pick from apps that make use of the Live Activities API to bring live game scores, check their Uber ride, or control music, from the lock screen, according to Apple.
Focus modes were introduced with iOS 15, and Apple is bringing them to the lockscreen with iOS 16. Users can now activate Focus modes from the lock screen with a swipe from the lock screen. Users will be able to tie a Lock Screen Wallpaper and widget set up to a particular Focus mode, allowing them to switch between Focus modes by simply swiping to the corresponding Lock Screen.
With the arrival of iOS 16, Apple will also bring deeper integration for Focus modes to its own apps, allowing users to filter out tabs, accounts, email, and features from apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages and Safari. Apple will alert users with a message that says Filtered by Focus, for example, in the Messages app. This functionality will also be extended to third party apps, according to the company.
Messages is getting a massive update, with the ability to edit messages. This is a feature that is offered on specific messaging apps, such as Telegram. Users can also undo sending of messages, allowing users to recall messages – this is a feature also offered on apps like Signal, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Users can also mark messages as unread, allowing them to come back to a conversation at a later time, according to Apple. SharePlay is also coming to Messages with iOS 16, allowing users to watch synced content like movies and songs, while sharing playback controls in a Messages chat, according to Apple.
Scheduling for emails is coming to the Mail app on iOS 16, according to Apple. Users will also be able to cancel the sending of an email, before it is delivered to a recipient’s inbox. Users will also be reminded if they forgot to add an attachment to their email and resurface older messages with Remind Later and Follow Up suggestions. It is worth noting that these features are offered on competing services and apps, such as Gmail. Apple is also updating the search feature in the Mail app, and will surface recent emails, contacts, documents, and links as they search for emails.
Improvements to Dictation, Live Text, Visual Look Up
Apple has introduced a new on device dictation experience with iOS 16. The upcoming update will let users dictate text while leaving they keyboard open allowing them to add specific words or punctuation in. The dictation, which will be processed entirely on device, will also automatically add punctuation and emoji.
Live Text, which allows users to quickly interact with text from their phone’s camera app and Camera Roll has been expanded to videos with iOS 16. Users can now pause videos and copy text. Meanwhile, Apple will also bring Live Text with translation support. This means users can now translate text using their camera. iOS 16 will also allow users to quickly convert currency from an image captured with their camera or in their Camera Roll, according to Apple.
Visual Look Up has also been updated with a handy new feature. Users can now tap and hold on a subject to lift it from the image and place it into another app like Messages. Meanwhile, Apple has also updated the feature, which could originally identify plants and pets — it will be able to identify birds, insects, and statues with iOS 16.
Sharing keys and IDs is getting expanded support in Apple Wallet, allowing users to share ID for identity and age verification. Menahwile, home, office, hotel, and car keys can be shared with other users securely via the Messages and Mail apps, allowing them to access the same keys directly in their Wallet App. The company says it is also working with the IETF industry standard for support to share keys with non-Apple users.
Apple also announced support for Apple Pay Later, a system to allow users to make four equal payments with zero interest and no fees, spread over six weeks. It can be used everywhere Apple Pay is supported online or in-app and uses the MasterCard network, according to the company. Apple will also let users check orders and track delivery with a new Apple Pay Order Tracking feature. The company says it has partnered with Shopify for the feature.
The Cupertino company’s upcoming update will bring Apple Maps support to eleven more countries later this year — Belgium, France, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, and Switzerland. Apple has also announced the ability to multiple stops on Apple Maps — up to 15 stops can now be added in advance.
Meanwhile, users who rely on public transport will also be able to see transit updates, including the cost of travelling and transit card support in Apple Wallet. users will be able to check transit card balance and receive alerts if it is running low and replenish — all inside the app. Users can also take advantage of support for Look Around on other apps, to see Street View-like views of specific areas on third-party apps.
The Apple News app is being updated with support for a My Sports section. US, UK Canada, and Australia users will be able to follow their favourite teams and leagues, whole accessing scores, schedules, and standings for major professsional and college leagues, according to Apple. Meanwhile, the Apple news app will also offer the ability to view highlights of matches. Apple News+ subscribers will also gain access to premium sports coverage, according to the company.
Apple has announced updates for parental controls, allowing parents to manage kids accounts as soon as they set up the device. Parents will get suggestions for age-appropriate restrictions for apps, movies, books, and music. Kids can also request more screen time on Messages with parents, and parents can approve or decline these requests without leaving the chat.
Fitness and Health
With iOS 16, iPhone users will be able to set up a daily Move goal in the Fitness app and track active calories to close their ring — the company says it will use motion sensors from the smartphone to estimate burned calories for the Move goal, by tracking steps, distance, flights climbed, and workouts from third-party apps. These can also be shared with friends, according to Apple.
Meanwhile, the Health app will be updated with support for a new Medications feature that will allow users to add and manage their ongoing medications, creating schedules and reminders for medications, vitamins, and supplements. Users in the US will also be able to point their camera at a label to quickly see details about the medication and learn of potential interactions. Health details can also be shared with other users, and records from connected health institutions can also be used to create a PDF document from the Health app.
iCloud Shared Photo Library is coming to iOS 16, allowing users to share photos with up to five other users. Users can select specific photos from their Photo library or a specific date range. Users can even choose to automatically choose who to share specific pictures as they are being clicked in the camera, thanks to a new toggle that will be added with the iOS 16 update.
All six members that are part of an iCloud Shared Photos Library will have equal permissions to add, edit, delete or favourite images in the group. iCloud Shared Photos Library on iOS 16 will also surface suggestions for users to share a particular photo that includes particiapants in the shared library, according to the company.
At WWDC 2022, Apple announced a new privacy tool called Safety Check, which is designed to help users whose personal safety is at risk from domestic or intimate partner violence. Safety Check is a feature that will allow users to quickly remove access to others. By pressing a button called Start Emergency Reset, users will be able to easily sign out of iCloud on their other devices, reset privacy permissions for all apps, stop sharing their location, and shut down messaging on all other devices except the one they have in their hand.
iOS 16 release date
Apple has begun rolling out a developer preview of iOS 16 to members of the Apple Developer Program. Meanwhile, a public beta will be available to iOS users starting in July and users can sign up at the company’s website. The iOS 16 update and the software features shown off at WWDC will be available later this year — likely in September — for iPhone 8 and later models, according to Apple.