The much-anticipated release of iOS 16 has begun, first as a developer beta and now as a public beta that anybody can download. For our initial thoughts on all the new features shortly to be available for the iPhone, be sure to read our iOS 16 public beta hands-on. We mean immediately when we say "soon." Apple revealed the iPhone 14 during its event on September 7 and also said that iOS 16 would be released on September 12 – four days before the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro hit shelves. (The iPhone 14 Plus, Apple's second brand-new device, won't be available until October 7.)
Check out our article on short tips for using key iOS 16 features on your iPhone whether you decide to purchase one of those new phones or stick with your current iPhone. Because there are numerous new features, as we discovered during the WWDC 2022 iOS 16 previews in June. A shared photo library for families, a new lock screen with widgets, and other changes to Messages are among the highlights.
Additionally, as Apple has officially verified, the iPhone 14 Pro models' A16 Bionic processors and the lock screen capabilities in iOS 16 enable a new always-on display capability, the first time an iPhone would support it. According to the betas Apple has made available and the company's iOS 16 preview, here is what we know about the significant changes in iOS 16.
The biggest updated iPhone features in iOS 16
Finally, Apple Pay on iOS 16 may allow in-browser payments on third-party browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox. This has so far been observed in real-time with iOS 16 beta 4.
Your iPhone now has new Memoji customizations and functions thanks to iOS 16.
In iOS 16, the lock screen receives a significant upgrade. The typeface, color, and wallpaper for the clock are all customizable. Additionally, you can rotate pictures and add widgets.
The lock screen can now be focused on. You can design new lock screens with widgets that correspond to your Focus modes, such as work and play.
Editing and deleting messages are now possible in Messages. You can collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and more directly from the chat app thanks to SharePlay's integration with Messages.
Apple Pay now enables contactless payments at merchant locations with just an iPhone, no further hardware required. With Apple Pay Later, you may divide a purchase into four interest-free payments spread out over a period of six weeks.
People can easily share photos in a different iCloud library with the use of the Shared Photo Library.
A new version of family sharing makes it considerably quicker and simpler for parents to set up children's gadgets.
You should take a look at some of our favorite hidden iOS 16 features when you end up installing the new software on your phone in addition to the top iOS 16 features that we've listed above.
The release date for iOS 16
Both the iOS 16 developer beta and the iOS 16 public betas are already available, and Apple will continue releasing upgrades all summer long. You can learn more about why we recently switched to the iOS 16 beta in our article on how to download the iOS 16 beta.
On September 12, iPhone owners will get the opportunity to make that move for themselves. Apple says it's releasing iOS 16 that day, though not every announced feature will be live. (The Live Activities widget is coming later this year, as third-party developers update their apps.)
On what devices will iOS 16 be available?
The same devices have been supported by Apple's most recent two software updates, dating back to the fall 2015 release of the iPhone 6s. Apple is discontinuing support for some older smartphones, though, due to the number of iOS 15 features that called for more up-to-date hardware.
According to Apple, iOS 16 will be available for iPhone 8 models and newer. According to earlier rumors, this version will not support the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, or the original iPhone SE from 2016. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, however, are no longer supported by iOS 16.
Owners of those phones won't necessarily feel vindicated if Apple support ends with iOS 16. The first iPhone SE was released six years ago, and this September, the iPhone 6s models will turn seven years old. Even the iPhone 7 is getting close to its sixth birthday. Given the improvements in processing power since then, it stands to reason that some iOS 16 features are more advanced than those devices are capable of.
The lock screen of iOS 16
During its WWDC preview, Apple spent a lot of time promoting the iOS 16 lock screen. It is, in essence, a complete redesign of the dated lock screen. There are numerous changes, some of which resemble what Google did with Android.
You can change the clock's typeface and color, rearrange photos, play with other styles like filters, swap out one or more components, and create multiple lock screens. Additionally, you can employ whole subjects like astronomy or the weather. All of the customizable iOS 16 lock screen items are covered in-depth here.
Notifications in iOS 16 roll in from the bottom of the screen rather than covering the middle of your wallpaper, in addition to the configurable lock screen. To keep your lock screen uncluttered throughout the day, you can conceal them. Additionally, iOS 16 includes Live Activities for notifications that frequently update in real-time, like as those from sports applications, making it much simpler to stay up to speed.
The availability of a live screen with widgets appeared to pave the way for an always-on display, which is a popular feature on Android phones but is absent from Apple's products. Additionally, the adaptive refresh rates for the displays on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max may scale down to a battery-saving 1Hz, thus those devices will enable that capability. In always-on display mode, the iPhone's background will also darken, but you'll still be able to access lock screen widgets and check the clock.
Messaging in iOS 16
There will also be significant improvements to messages. Many people will welcome the long-overdue ability to edit and delete your messages. In case you wish to return to a thread later, you may also mark it as unread. SharePlay, which was initially made available in iOS 15, is also coming to Messages.
Additionally, messages will be significantly improved. The long-overdue ability to modify and delete your communications will be warmly received by many individuals. In case you wish to return to a thread later, you may also mark it as unread. SharePlay, which debuted in iOS 15, will also soon be available in Messages.
This feature's only drawback is that it only functions properly with other iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 devices. When changes are made, duplicate messages are instead sent to iPhones running older software.
A focus on iOS 16
One of our favorite new features in iOS 15 was the focus, which blocks off unnecessary distractions so you can focus on whatever you're doing, whether it's work or play. And it will get much better with iOS 16. First, it will now be possible to create unique displays linked to a certain focus mode for your iPhone's lock screen. For instance, you may configure one for work, complete with widgets, modifications, and business-related wallpaper, and another for when you're unwinding at home.
Additionally, the Focus customizations will extend to a few apps; for example, if you have Work Focus mode chosen, Safari, Messages, Mail, and Calendar will only display notifications relating to that. On the lock screen, switching between Focus modes would be as easy as swiping. Here are some examples of how a Tom's Guide editor has used Focus mode to his advantage and why he anticipates changes to this feature in iOS 16.
An iOS wallet for iOS 16
With iOS 16, the Apple Wallet app now has a new function called Apple Pay Later. Users will be able to split any Apple Pay purchase into four payments over the course of six weeks using the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service, all through the Apple Wallet app. If the user pays on time, there are no fees or interest charges, and the payments should be accepted everywhere in the United States that accepts Apple Pay. In case they need more time for some larger purchases, customers won't be without options thanks to PayPal's recent announcement of its own BNPL service Pay in 4.
Apple Pay Later is a new feature that has been added to the Apple Wallet app with iOS 16. Using the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service, users will be able to divide any Apple Pay purchase into four payments over a period of six weeks, all using the Apple Wallet app. There are no fees or interest charges if the user pays on time, and the payments should be accepted everywhere that takes Apple Pay in the United States. Due to PayPal's recent launch of its own BNPL service Pay in 4, clients won't be without options if they need longer time for some major purchases.
Maps in iOS 16
Apple's navigation app is currently offering service in 11 additional nations. Additionally, six other cities, including Chicago, Sydney, and the stunning Las Vegas, are being added to the network of 3D city maps. Practically speaking, you may now include up to 15 stops in an Apple Maps route, making it easier to navigate between several locations. Siri may be used to add more while you're out and about, or you can plan a route in advance on a Mac and send it to your iPhone when you're ready. (In iOS 16 Maps, follow these steps to design a route with several stops.)
If you take the bus or train, Apple Maps now allows you to check the cost of your trip. You can now add your transport cards to the Apple Wallet app to see if you have enough credit to go where you're going. In our examination of iOS 16 Maps and its new features, we summarize all these modifications.
Live Text and Visual Look Up in iOS 16
In iOS 16, improvements will also be made to Live Text and Visual Lookup. You will have the ability to extract text from videos starting with Live Text. Any frame can be stopped, allowing you to highlight specific text. You may highlight a significant amount of foreign text using Live Text, which also functions in Translate.
One of iOS 16's coolest additions is Visual Look Up. In order to make it simple to transfer an image into another app, like Messages, Notes, or Mail, you may now tap the subject of a photo in order to copy it. This separates the image from its background. In iOS 16, we have instructions on how to remove a subject from a picture.
Sharing and photos in iOS 16
Family Sharing has been improved with iOS 16, which already offers a ton of useful features for families. The major change is that the Quick Start option, which transfers existing settings to a new phone, will make it quicker and simpler to set up a child's smartphone. Kids aren't known for having much patience, so this is highly appreciated. The ability to approve (or decline) requests for increased screen time directly from Messages rather than having to go through Settings may be even more helpful.
Apple also debuted the brand-new iCloud Shared Photo Library. Similar to how you can do with Google Images, this is a different library from your other iCloud goods and enables you to collaborate with friends and family on sharing photos. Up to five persons may be added.
You have the option to share only some images, all of your photos, or groups of photos by date or person. In terms of sharing, you have two options: manually adding images or using the new sharing shortcut in the Camera app to upload images as you capture them. If that's the route you wish to go, you can turn this switch to make it automatically enabled.
Even photographs to share will be suggested by Photos on the For You tab. Everyone has the same permissions in the communal library. The greatest, though not the only, change to Photos is iCloud Shared Photo Library. New photo editing tools and duplicate image management options are included in iOS 16 Photos.
Sports and News on iOS 16
You may follow teams and leagues on Apple News to get the most recent news and updates by visiting the new Sports section. You may view the schedules, results, and highlights under My Sports. The Apple TV app syncs everything you own. In the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, this will be free. Customers of Apple News Plus will have access to exclusive coverage of their preferred sports teams.
Safety Check for iOS 16
Apple wants to take a stand on personal safety, so iOS 16 will have Safety Check. This lets victims of domestic abuse easily revoke access to their accounts such as removing location sharing or app permissions. Safety Check can reset all privacy permissions and it protects access to messages.
Health in iOS 16
A few changes to health are coming with the watchOS 9 upgrades, which will be released concurrently with iOS 16. For tracking movement and other activities, the iPhone is receiving its own version of the Apple Watch's Fitness app. Even if you don't have an Apple Watch, fitness will still function on your iPhone (though Apple would certainly appreciate it if this addition inspires you to buy one.)
An area that will enable you to manage and report your prescription medicine is another intriguing addition coming to Health. You can enter the medications you're taking with the iOS 16 Medications feature, but perhaps more importantly, you can set up reminders to take your medications at specific times.
Other features of iOS 16
We've already discussed some of the highlights from Apple's WWDC presentation and our beta testing of iOS 16. But other characteristics also merit consideration.
Updates that enable Face ID to unlock your iPhone in landscape mode are one functionality we are aware of. Additionally, iOS 16 now supports connecting Nintendo Switch controllers. Additionally, iOS 16 will allow you to copy and paste photo modifications. Additionally, iOS 16 addresses one of the most frustrating issues with web browsing. The iPhone 14 will only support eSIM and will not have a physical SIM tray for US versions, therefore iOS 16 will make transferring an eSIM ridiculously simple.