Today was an exciting day for Apple fans and users all over the world – WWDC22! For those that don’t know, WWDC is an annual event from Apple where developers spend a week getting to practice with and learn from Apple. But for the rest of us non-developers, it’s also when Apple unveils some new hardware and the next round of software updates for all of its devices. This means that today, we got our first glimpse of iOS 16.
After last year, I think a lot of us were expecting Apple to take things easy and just release a patch update. If that had happened, it would’ve meant that Apple would have focused on making iOS 15 more stable rather than adding new features. A good thing, albeit a bit boring.
That didn’t happen, though! iOS 16 looks to be packed with exciting features, and we’re going to be covering (nearly) all of them in this post.
The features we’re going to be overlooking are the features that are either more focused on other devices (e.g., a feature is available on iPhone but is geared towards the Mac) or the ones that just aren’t very interesting. For instance, Apple came out with some new live sports features that are great for sports fans but aren’t relevant to most other users.
With all of that out of the way, let’s jump into this recap!
- Which devices will iOS 16 support?
- Everything new in iOS 16
- Personalize your Lock Screen
- Focus Filters make Focus even better
- New ways to share photos with your family
- SharePlay, collaboration, and editing all come to iMessage
- It’s easier than ever to search in Mail
- Passkeys are the future of passwords (maybe)
- Share tab groups in Safari
- Live Text and Photos are even more intelligent
- Dictation now punctuates automatically
- Maps looks and works better than ever
- Apple Wallet is getting Pay Later, key sharing, and order tracking
- The Home app will be supporting Matter later this year
- Manage medications, sleep, and exercise with the new Fitness and Health app updates
- Exercise more control over child accounts
- CarPlay is getting a massive overhaul
- Safety Check is designed to aid abuse victims
- Accessibility brings new features for an inclusive experience
- What do you think about iOS 16?
Which devices will iOS 16 support?
Fortunately for iPhone users, iOS 16 is going to be supporting a wide array of iPhone devices. Here’s the full list:
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- The iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12
- The iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- The iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- The iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- The iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- The iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)
In short, as long as your device was released in 2017 or later, you should be good to go.
Now, this does mark the end of Apple’s support for the iPhone 6 and 7, which is a big blow to those devices. However, they both received ample support from Apple over the years.
Additionally, as you’ll see in the features below, it seems clear that this is less to do with compatibility and more to do with being realistic. Many of these new features rely on things like machine learning, more intensive processing, and so on.
These are things that are difficult for the older iPhones to keep up with. So it’s less about cutting support and more about the fact that these devices simply can’t support these new features.
Fortunately, it’s a better time than ever to be a budget iPhone customer! The iPhone SE was recently updated, and finding a used iPhone 8 or later online shouldn’t be an issue. Just get a $50 battery replacement from Apple and these older devices should run like new.
Everything new in iOS 16
Personalize your Lock Screen
And that brings us to the first of the new iOS 16 features, and it’s the one you’ll probably notice right when you start using iOS 16 this Fall. It’s a personalized Lock Screen.
In the past, Lock Screen personalization just meant changing your Lock Screen background. In this new update, however, you can get way more nuanced.
You can change the background, adjust the clock font, have photos overlap the clock text, and even add small widgets to your Lock Screen.
For those that have an Apple Watch, this feature is very similar to the way that Watch faces work. So similar, in fact, that it’s clear Apple copied many of the ideas on the Apple Watch to bring this feature to life.
And I don’t mind at all! This feature looks super great and is that extra oomph the Lock Screen has been lacking. It makes the Lock Screen more useful and lively.
And best of all, for those that are indecisive, you can create multiple Lock Screens and switch between them whenever you want.
Notifications are also moving to the bottom of the Lock Screen, which looks better, but might make it a bit more difficult to go through your notifications. We’ll have to test it to see for sure.
Additionally, Apple is adding a new Lock Screen feature called Live Events. This allows you to get real-time information on things like sporting events and order tracking at the bottom of your Lock Screen. Neat!
Focus Filters make Focus even better
Another personalization feature that’s getting even better in iOS 16 is Focus. For those that don’t know, Focus is an iOS feature that was introduced in 2021. It allows you to control which notifications, apps, and Home Screen windows you can see depending on which Focus mode you have selected.
In this new update, Focus is going to be even easier to set up. This is great news because it was a little complicated and time-consuming in the last update.
Another handy feature being added to Focus is Focus Filters. This feature allows users to establish which kind of content they’d like to see in apps like Mail, Messages, and Calendar. So when you’re in a Work Focus, you’ll only see work emails, and when you’re in Personal Focus, you’ll only see personal emails.
I’m very glad that Apple is continuing to iterate on this feature, as it’s one of my most used features from the last iOS update.
Those that use Family Sharing will know that it’s already a great way to share content with your family members. That has included sharing photos with your family through Shared Albums.
With this new update, however, photo sharing is getting several new features to make it that much better.
First, you’ll now be able to share photos with people whenever their face is detected in the photo.
Second, you can share photos with others by creating a start and end date in your Photos app. So if you go on vacation with family, you can choose to share all of your photos from that time.
Thirdly, iOS 16 is adding the ability to share photo edits with your family members. So whenever a photo is edited to look nicer, everyone will be able to see and adjust these edits. It’s more collaborative, which is awesome.
I will note that this is a feature to be used with caution, as many users have NSFW photos on their iPhones. Or at the very least, pictures, memes, and videos they’d rather not share with their family. Like all sharing features, be cautious about how and what you share!
Some of you may remember (and have already used) SharePlay, a feature that Apple announced at last year’s WWDC. The reason you may not remember this feature, however, is that it didn’t actually hit devices until several months of delays had taken place.
This year, we’re hoping for a speedier release as SharePlay is brought to iMessage! That’s right, iOS 16 is going to allow you to use SharePlay while texting. Just like with SharePlay and FaceTime, this feature will sync up music, movies, or shows with your friends. That way, you can enjoy this content together and chat at the same time.
With iMessage, this feature will work the same, except that you’ll be texting each other instead of FaceTiming.
Another great feature coming to iMessage is the ability to edit messages after they’re sent! You can also unsend messages, which will remove them. So as long as the other person hasn’t checked their phone yet, you should be good. And you’ll be able to mark messages as unread, just like you can with emails.
Lastly, Apple has added collaboration to the Messages app. This is great for using iMessage as a group chat for a project or assignment with friends and colleagues.
It’s important to note that most of these features are limited to iMessage, so both testers will need an Apple device to enjoy these benefits.
It’s easier than ever to search in Mail
A simple and great feature that’s been improved in iOS 16 is Mail searching. While this feature essentially works the same, it’ll now correct your typos and provide instant results as you type. Kind of similar to how a typical internet search works.
Other features that are coming to Mail include the ability to schedule when an email sends, unsending an email, and more. Mail will also let you know if you forgot to add an attachment to an email, which sounds pretty magical. Especially since I do this all of the time!
Passkeys are the future of passwords (maybe)
One of the most innovative features of iOS 16 that Apple presented during WWDC22 was Passkeys. Passkeys is a feature meant to eventually replace the need for passwords. It’s as interesting as it is precarious.
I’ve long believed that passwords are soon going to become a thing of the past. They’re not very secure, are difficult to remember, require you to randomize them to be truly secure, which is hugely inconvenient, and on and on.
With Passkeys, Apple is attempting to replace the common password. Rather than needing a password to log into a website or app, you’ll just use Touch ID or Face ID. Similar to Apple Pay, this Passkey will then send an encrypted code to the website, letting them know that you’re ok to log in.
It’s more secure than a password because it can’t be guessed, no one can steal it from you, and you can’t forget it. This feature is also going to work with non-Apple devices, though you will still need an iPhone to pull it off.
Overall, I think this is a solid idea, I’m just not sure how it’s going to be implemented. Will it immediately work on all websites or just those that choose to support it?
Additionally, while I do think a feature like this is the future, I believe it should be universal. Like GPS, it shouldn’t matter what device you have, it should work for everyone all of the time.
It’s not a bad start in the right direction, and I hope it leads to an earlier password-less future.
A minor feature that might be handy for a few of you is the ability to share tab groups in Safari. Tab groups were introduced last year, and this year they’re becoming shareable.
That means you and your friends or colleagues can all view the same group of tabs. You can also close and add new tabs together. This is great for something simple like deciding where to eat, planning your next road trip, or something more complex like working on a project at work.
Live Text and Photos are even more intelligent
A feature that got a pretty massive update is Live Text + Photos. For those that don’t know, Live Text is a feature introduced last year that allows you to select text in images. That includes the viewfinder of your iPhone camera, any photo in the Photos app, and images online.
In iOS 16, Apple is expanding this feature to work in videos. This is impressive, though it works about the same as it did before. Just pause a video and start selecting text in the video.
Another cool feature that’s coming to Photos (courtesy of machine learning and artificial intelligence) is the ability to “lift” the subject of a photo. It’s hard to describe because there isn’t a word for this yet. So let’s look at an example.
Say you take a picture of your cat. You can hold your finger on the picture of your cat, and an animation of your cat floating off of the picture will play. You can then drag the cut-out image of your cat to Messages, Notes, or wherever you like. Be sure to look up the demo online, words don’t do it justice.
These features are a continuation of Apple’s push for machine learning features, which I believe will be the future of technology for the next decade. I’ll cover this in more detail later this week, so stay tuned!
Dictation now punctuates automatically
A minor but neat feature being added in iOS 16 is automatic punctuation when you use dictation. For those that don’t know, dictation is a feature that allows you to write text by speaking rather than typing.
Before this update (including right now), you would have to say things like “period” or “question mark” to add punctuation to your messages. I believe you’ll still be able to do this if you want, but commas, periods, and question marks should be automatically added now, which is handy.
Maps looks and works better than ever
Just like with the last few iOS updates, the Maps app is getting an even better visual overhaul. Also like the last few updates, it will depend on which city and country you live in. Still, if you’re in one of the chosen areas, including Las Vegas this year, you’ll get some pretty cool updates to the Maps app.
Additionally, Maps is getting the ability to add multiple stops to your trips. That’s pretty helpful and a feature that a lot of people have been requesting for a long time.
Apple Wallet is getting Pay Later, key sharing, and order tracking
Apple Wallet is getting some fairly substantial updates in iOS 16. The first of these is Pay Later. It’s a simple feature that allows you to split up Apple Pay purchases over a few weeks.
It doesn’t look like this feature requires an Apple Card, which is pretty cool. It also doesn’t look like interest or fees are going to be attached. So if you’re on a budget or just in need of some financial help to make your next big purchase, your Apple Wallet might be able to help. Like all financial tools, however, use them with caution!
Another neat Apple Wallet feature to be on the lookout for is key sharing. Apple has been adding the ability to add car keys, hotel keys, work keys, and more to Apple Wallet. This new feature will allow you to share them with a few people, making it easier for your friends, family, and colleagues to get in and out of places.
Lastly, Apple Wallet is adding support for order tracking. So whenever you purchase with Apple Pay, you’ll be able to view routing and shipping information in the Wallet app. One of those cool features that no one was asking for, but everyone will be glad to have.
The Home app will be supporting Matter later this year
For those that don’t know (which is likely most of you), Apple, Google, Samsung, and a few other companies have gotten together to create a smart home standard. A standard is just a medium that a collective group agrees to use. For example, USBs are a standard. Each tech company could create its own unique cable, but that would be confusing for everyone. So instead they use USBs.
Matter is set to be a similar feature, but for smart home devices. Instead of needing a unique hub for each of your smart home brands, they should all use Matter. So you won’t be locked into Apple’s devices, Google’s devices, and so on.
That should be coming in late 2022, and your Apple Home devices will support it!
Manage medications, sleep, and exercise with the new Fitness and Health app updates
The Health app got its routine updates, all of which are pretty great. The big updates, though, were advancements in sleep detection. You’ll now get sleep cycle tracking, though it’s anyone’s guess as to how accurate this tracking is.
Apple also added a feature to Health that allows you to add and track your medication. As someone who has to use a separate app right now to accomplish this, it’ll be nice to have it built into the Health app.
On a similar note, Apple is now bringing the Fitness app to iOS 16. It used to be that you needed an Apple Watch, iPad, or Apple TV to access this feature. The idea is to push iPhone users to buy an Apple Watch.
Luckily, Apple has decided to let this battle go, so you no longer need one of these other devices to get a good workout from Apple.
Exercise more control over child accounts
For those that use child accounts to keep track of what their kids can and can’t access, there are now even more features available. You can be more precise with the content your kids are exposed to, which is great, especially for younger kids.
CarPlay is getting a massive overhaul
Another iOS 16 update coming this Fall is a CarPlay overhaul. CarPlay is a feature that allows compatible vehicles with screens to show an Apple-esque display whenever you connect it to your iPhone.
This display mirrors your iPhone’s screen and apps, so it’s somewhat personalized.
The new overhaul will make it even more personal, bringing features like temperature control, A/C controls, and gauge clusters to CarPlay. You can customize these to your liking, which is pretty cool.
What’s less cool is the fact that we won’t see this feature in cars until 2023. That’s right, it doesn’t work with existing CarPlay vehicles. So nobody is going to be able to enjoy this feature until they buy a new car. Oh well, I guess!
Safety Check is designed to aid abuse victims
Nearing the end of our list of new iOS 16 features is Safety Check. But though it’s at the bottom, it might be one of the most important features Apple has added in a long time.
Safety Check is a feature that allows victims of abuse to instantly revoke access to all of their online accounts. It’s a common tactic of abusers to learn all of the victim’s passwords, which can make leaving an abuser dangerous.
With this feature, victims can instantly remove access to all of their accounts, limit access to iMessage and FaceTime, and begin the process of permanently securing the victim’s accounts. It’s an excellent feature and one that will hopefully go a long way towards helping victims find safety.
Accessibility brings new features for an inclusive experience
Lastly, Apple has added new accessibility features that empower individuals and make iOS 16 the most inclusive version of iOS yet.
Specifically, these features include door detection, which allows the user to point their camera at a door. When they do, they’ll receive information like how far away they are from the door, how to open it, and whether or not there is any info written on the door (like an address).
Another great new accessibility feature is the ability to use your Apple Watch via your iPhone. The small screen of the Apple Watch can make it a challenge to use for some users. With this feature, users will be able to do everything on their Apple Watch from their iPhone.
What do you think about iOS 16?
And that’s it! That’s everything there is to know about iOS 16. At least, everything you need to know.
So what are your thoughts? Did this update come through for you? Is there anything you feel was overlooked? Or are you stoked for this Fall to finally come around? Let me know in the comments below.
For more insights, news, and guides on all things Apple, check out the rest of the AppleToolBox blog.
See you next time!