Apple has made a number of software and hardware announcements at its annual developer conference this year – WWDC 2022. New launches at the event include iOS 16, the Cupertino-based tech giant’s major software update for iPhones. Apple’s iOS 16 comes with some handy features like improvements to the social aspects of the Messages application and new wallpaper-related customisations that will let users use widgets on their lock screens for the first time.
Here are all the new changes Apple announced for iOS 16 and how they will affect your user experience.
Lock screen widgets
Apple announced home screen widgets for iOS for the first time about two years ago with iOS 14. Now, a new feature allows users to set wallpapers with embedded widgets on iOS 16. These widgets can then be viewed straight from the lock screen for quick access to information like missed calls, text notifications and upcoming alerts.
Users can also long-press on a lock screen to enter the customisation options right away. They can then swipe sideways to choose between various templates and further tap on each element of a template to customise colours and other parameters.
New notification center and Live Activities
iOS 16 also brings a new notification center that is the biggest update to the area since iOS 12. App notifications now roll in from the bottom and can be hidden. A new Live Activities feature can also pin certain notifications that basically become interactive widgets. This works for notifications from apps like Apple TV. A Live Activities API will also let developers make their own interactive notifications that can be pinned.
Apple now lets you use Focus Filters in apps like Safari, Calendar and even some communication apps to help you focus on key elements and ignore the rest when you want to avoid the clutter.
To activate a Focus, users can simply swipe to the corresponding Lock Screen. With Focus filters, apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Safari can display only the content that is relevant to a user’s Focus, helping them to find better balance.
iCloud shared photo library
A separate iCloud library, the new feature allows up to five people to contribute to a common library so all users involved in, say a weekend trip, have access to all the best pictures. Users can also share intelligently with photos automatically being shared to the shared library when you take pictures with other contributors. Shared photos will also show up in each user’s Memories and Featured Photos.
Apple is adding three key features to Messages. The first is the ability to edit messages that you’ve already sent. The second also lets users undo a sent message. The final feature also lets users mark a read message as ‘unread’ similar to how you can do the same on emails.
New Tools for Mail
With iOS 16, users can now schedule emails ahead of time and even cancel the delivery of a message before it reaches a recipient’s inbox. The Mail app now automatically detects key missing elements in emails like an attachment and lets the user know of the same.
Live Text gets video support, Visual Look Up improvements
Improvements to Live text allow you to pause a video on any frame and interact with the text on screen, similar to how you previously could with photos. Apple also announced a Live Text API for developers that will allow their apps to do the same.
The new improved Visual Look Up feature now lets you grab subjects like animals and birds from images, turning them straight into stickers you can then drag and drop into apps like Messages.
Apple Wallet gets new features
The Wallet app on iOS 16 gets a new Pay Later feature that lets Apple Pay users in the US use a safe and seamless credit service to split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments that users can then make over the next six weeks. The feature charges no fees or interest and users can check remaining payments and other information straight from the Wallet app.
A new Order Tracking feature allows users to receive detailed receipts and order tracking information right in the Wallet app for Apple Pay purchases.
iOS 16 also expands support for keys and IDs in the Wallet app which can now store proof of identity and age verification. Additionally, users can securely share their home, hotel, office, and car keys in Wallet through messaging apps, including Messages, Mail, and more.
Apple introduced the next-generation CarPlay which now integrates even deeper with the hardware of a vehicle and provides content for multiple screens embedded within the vehicle, instead of just one.
Users will be able to use the new CarPlay to seamlessly render things like remaining fuel, car temperature and speed right on a CarPlay dashboard, which will also allow customisation for the various gauges.
With iOS 16, Apple users can jump straight into SharePlay from not just FaceTime, but also Messages. Users can now watch content in perfect sync with other users via SharePlay in Messages.
iOS 16 is also getting new improvements to the Dictation feature that lets users basically dictate their text in real-time as an alternative to typing. Users can now fluidly switch between typing and dictating. Other capabilities include replacing typed text with dictated text and more.
Apple has launched its redesigned Maps application in 11 more countries. The revamped app now includes better, 3D-like visuals and plenty of new features. With Multistop routing, Maps will store up to 15 stops on a route while Siri is able to add new stops on the go while driving. With Transit, users can now see how much the fare for public transport is. For developers, MapKit will allow better integration for apps with Maps, and a new look around feature brings a 360-degree POV picture that users can scroll around to get an in-depth sense of a location.
Apple News gets MySports
Apple News will now support deeper integration with multiple sports and users will get a personalised feed with updates from the teams and sports they follow. The service is currently available in only four countries though, and India is not on the list for now.
Improved Parental Controls
Apple is throwing in a lot of new parental control features that make setting up a new device with parental controls easily, and doing things like increasing a kid’s screen time can now be done much more seamlessly, without heading into the settings.
iOS 16 brings a new privacy feature called Safety Check that is aimed at helping victims of domestic abuse and violence. The feature lets victims cut ties (like location sharing, and access to messages) with an abusive member. The feature also lets users manage who has access to such critical information.
Apple iOS 16 will be available to all iPhones that were launched after the iPhone 8, including the iPhone 8. This includes the flagship number-series iPhones as well as the iPhone XR and the iPhone SE will be supported from the second generation onwards. So if you still have an older iPhone 7 or iPhone 6s or the original iPhone SE, Apple will no longer support it.
Apple will soon release the first beta for iOS 16 later today via the Apple Developer Program, while a stable update is expected to come to all supported devices later this year, usually around September after the iPhone 14 series launches. The public beta will be available to download by next month in July.