These are the best iOS 16 features, including a completely revamped lock screen
iOS 16, currently in the hands of developers and arriving as a public beta in July, is a massive update. The changes don’t necessarily reinvent how you’ll use your iPhone; rather, it’s more of a refinement. But there are a lot of changes in iOS 16 which include: customizable lock screens, editing messages, revamped notifications, and more.
To put it another way, last year’s iOS 15 update may have substantially changed the look of Apple’s iPhone software. But iOS 16 introduces so many changes and tweaks here and there, that it’s bound to take at least some aspects of your iPhone experience and make it better. Or at least, that seems to be the game plan.
It’ll be a few weeks before the iOS 16 public beta arrives, giving us a chance to explore iOS 16’s enhancements in great depth. Only then will we have a full summer of updates to get familiar with all the new features. The full version of iOS 16 ships in the fall, likely around the same time as the iPhone 14. Until we have more of a chance to examine the software update for ourselves, here’s our list of the best new iOS 16 features, both big and small.
1. Customize your lock screen
The lock screen has been completely revamped, now making it possible to customize the lock screen and how it looks. You can change the color and font of the clock and calendar, and add what are essentially watch complications for the iPhone. It’s still relatively scaled back, but makes it easier to get information at a glance. For example, you can see a widget for the calendar, your activity rings, and more.
Not only will you get more information on the lock screen, but you’ll be able to get better images, and more of them, too. iOS 16 will allow you to set up a photo gallery that can be cycled between during the day. The system offers developer support, meaning that developers can create their own widgets. And, your lock screen can change depending on the focus that you’re in.
2. Live Activities make your notifications less cluttered
Apple is once again tackling notifications. Apple has created a new notification system called “Live Activities,” which let you see things like the progress of your Uber, the score in a game, and more. It also offers developer support, meaning that developers can hook into Live Activities.
It’s not the major revamp to notifications that some were expecting, but it does help you keep things a little more under control.
3. Edit Messages you already sent
Messages is getting some amazing new features too. Messages now allows you to edit messages after they’ve been sent, which is perfect for those typos that you accidentally send. And, you can mark a thread as unread — a feature that has long been requested by customers.
Typing messages is going to get easier too. Dictation now doesn’t take over the keyboard, meaning that you can more easily edit your messages as you use dictation. It’s helpful for those who rely on dictation a lot.
4. Pay for things over time with “Apple Pay Later”
Next up is Apple Wallet, which is aimed at replacing your physical wallet. Now, you can share keys to things like your hotel room straight through Messages. Apple says that it’s working on making this feature an industry standard.
Wallet is also getting a new way to pay for things over time. “Apple Pay Later” allows you to pay for items in four equal payments, which lessens the blow on big purchases a little. The system works the same way that Apple Pay already does for stores, and you can see and manage your payments straight from the Wallet app.
5. Plan for trips in advance with Multi-Stop Routing
Maps is finally getting a feature that was previously available on Google Maps. Multi-stop routing allows you to plan trips in advance, both on the iPhone and on the Mac. Multi-stop routing is also supported by Siri, so you can add a stop using only your voice.
6. Get control over all your smart home devices
HomeKit is getting a much-needed boost too. Apple mentioned the fact that Matter is set to make smart home devices much more interoperable and accessible. But the Home app is getting a redesign too. Now, all your devices and accessories will be available in the Home tab, meaning you don’t have to scroll through lots of rooms to find a device.
Other refinements include the ability to see all your cameras in a grid, and more.
7. Control your car with an enhanced CarPlay
Apple wants to make the in-car experience much more consistent across all the screens that are now available in modern cars. To that end, CarPlay is getting a total redesign that lets you see information across all of your screens. That includes getting information about your car’s staus, charging, and more. And, you’ll be able to control your car’s climate controls with it. It’s easily the biggest change to CarPlay since its inception, but it will take some time to roll out. Apple says that cars with the new CarPlay will start rolling out late next year.
8. An iCloud Shared Photo Library
Sharing family photos will get a lot easier with iOS 16, thanks to the introduction of a separate iCloud photo library that you can share with up to five family members. You can either add pictures to this shared photo library manually or contribute with smart features, like a toggle in the Camera app, Bluetooth proximity, and sharing suggestions in the For You section.
9. Use Dictation while also having access to the keyboard
Dictation is an incredible way to “type” quickly on iPhone by saying the text you wish to type, but it has its limitations. With iOS 16, it’s getting a huge boost.
To start with, the new dictation mode keeps the keyboard open, so you can fluidly switch between typing and speaking. You can even use touch to select text and then speak to replace it. What’s more, automatic punctuation will help you with multiple sentences without making you say things like “period” and “exclamation point” all the time. And you can dictate emojis, too!
If you don’t use dictation regularly, this might be the update that changes your mind about it.
10. Safety Check
A new privacy tool called Safety Check has been introduced to help those at risk from violence or harassment by partners.
Users can quickly revoke all access to Messages and other accounts that they’ve granted to a partner, and an emergency reset feature helps users to easily sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, reset privacy permissions, and limit messaging to just the device in their hand. Users can also stop sharing their location with this tool.
It also lets you generally check and manage which people and apps you’ve given access to your information.
See also: How to install the iOS 16 beta on iPhone