Apple has now seeded the first public beta of iOS 16 bringing a wealth of new features and updates. iOS 16 brings what Apple calls “the biggest update ever” to the Lock Screen and new sharing, communication, and intelligence features and more.
iOS 16 introduces iCloud Shared Photo Library to seamlessly share a collection of photos with family, updates to Messages and Mail that help users stay in touch with ease, and powerful enhancements to Live Text and Visual Look Up.
Personalized Lock Screen Experience
The Lock Screen gets more personal, beautiful, and helpful with iOS 16. With a new multi-layered effect, the subjects of photos are artfully set in front of the time on the Lock Screen, creating a sense of depth. Users can also change the look of the date and time with expressive type styles and colour choices.
The Lock Screen features widgets that take inspiration from Apple Watch complications, making it easy to get information at a glance, such as upcoming calendar events, the weather, battery levels, alarms, time zones, Activity ring progress, and more.
A new Lock Screen gallery features a range of options for inspiration, such as Apple collections, which include Pride and Unity to celebrate special cultural moments; a Weather wallpaper to see live weather conditions as they change throughout the day; and an Astronomy wallpaper for views of the Earth, moon, and solar system.
Users can also create Lock Screens using their favourite emoji or colour combinations. With multiple Lock Screens, users can switch between their favourites with just a swipe.
Live Activities is a new feature that helps users stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game, workout, ride-share, or food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen.
Notifications have been redesigned to roll up from the bottom, ensuring that users have a clear view of their personalized Lock Screen.
Focus is more powerful, easier to set up, and now connects to the Lock Screen. Users will be able to tie a Lock Screen wallpaper and widgets to a particular Focus.
A Focus can be activated with a swipe to the corresponding Lock Screen.
Meanwhile. focus filters, allow Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Safari to display only the content that is relevant to a user’s Focus.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
iCloud Shared Photo Library gives families a new way to share photos seamlessly with a separate iCloud library that up to six users can collaborate on, contribute to, and enjoy.
Users can choose to share existing photos from their personal libraries, or share based on a start date or people in the photos. A user can also choose to send photos to the Shared Library automatically using a new toggle in the Camera app.
Additionally, users will receive intelligent suggestions to share a photo that includes participants in the Shared Photo Library.
Every user in the Shared Photo Library has access to add, delete, edit, or favourite the shared photos or videos, which will appear in each user’s Memories and Featured Photos so that everyone can relive more complete family moments.
Users can edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread so they can come back to them later.
In addition, SharePlay is coming to Messages, making it possible to enjoy synced content like movies or songs and shared playback controls all while chatting in Messages.
New Tools for Mail
Now users can schedule emails ahead of time and are even given a moment to cancel delivery of a message before it reaches a recipient’s inbox.
Mail detects if the user forgot to include an important part of their message, such as an attachment.
Users also have the option to resurface a message at any date and time with Remind Later, and Follow Up suggestions automatically remind users to follow up on an email if they have not received a response.
Mail also includes the biggest overhaul to search, and uses state-of-the-art techniques to deliver more relevant, accurate, and complete results. Users see recent emails, contacts, documents, and links the moment they begin to search for emails.
Live Text and Visual Look Up Enhancements
Live Text uses on-device intelligence to recognize text in images across iOS, and it is now expanding to include video. Users can pause a video on any frame and interact with text. Live Text also adds the ability for users to quickly convert currency, translate text, and more.
Visual Look Up takes photos further by introducing a new feature that allows users to tap and hold on the subject of an image to lift it from the background and place it in apps like Messages.
Visual Look Up also expands to recognize birds, insects, and statues.
Wallet Adds Apple Pay Later, Order Tracking, and Other Features
Apple Pay Later provides users in the US with a seamless and secure way to split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments spread over six weeks, with zero interest and no fees of any kind.
Built into Apple Wallet and designed with users’ financial health in mind, Apple Pay Later makes it easy to view, track, and repay Apple Pay Later payments within Wallet.
Users can apply for Apple Pay Later when they are checking out with Apple Pay, or in Wallet. Apple Pay Later is available everywhere Apple Pay is accepted online or in-app, using the Mastercard network.
Additionally, with Apple Pay Order Tracking, users can receive detailed receipts and order tracking information in Wallet for Apple Pay purchases with participating merchants.
Keys and IDs in Wallet get expanded support. Users can use their ID in Wallet for apps requiring identity and age verification.
To ensure a private and secure experience, only the necessary information required for the transaction will be provided to the app, and the user can review and consent to share it using Face ID or Touch ID.
Additionally, users can securely share their home, hotel, office, and car keys in Wallet through messaging apps, including Messages, Mail, and more.
The Next Generation of CarPlay
CarPlay has fundamentally changed the way people interact with their vehicles, and the next generation of CarPlay goes even further by deeply integrating with a car’s hardware.
CarPlay will be able to provide content for multiple screens within the vehicle, creating an experience that is unified and consistent. Deeper integration with the vehicle will allow users to do things like control the radio or change the climate directly through CarPlay, and using the vehicle data, CarPlay will seamlessly render the speed, fuel level, temperature, and more on the instrument cluster.
Users will be able to personalize their driving experience by choosing different gauge cluster designs, and with added support for widgets, users will have at-a-glance information from Weather and Music right on their car’s dashboard.
Safari adds shared Tab Groups to share a collection of websites with friends and family, making it seamless to add tabs and see what others are viewing.
Browsing in Safari is even safer with passkeys, unique digital keys that are easy to use, more secure, never stored on a web server, and stay on device so hackers can’t steal them in a data breach or trick users into sharing them.
Designed to replace passwords, passkeys use Touch ID or Face ID for biometric verification, and iCloud Keychain to sync across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV with end-to-end encryption.
They will also work across apps and the web, and users can sign in to websites or an app on non-Apple devices using just their iPhone.
Apple Maps is introducing multistop routing, so users can plan up to 15 stops in advance and automatically sync routes from Mac to iPhone when they’re ready to go.
Maps is also bringing transit updates to users, making it easy for riders to view how much their journey will cost, add transit cards to Wallet, see low balances, and replenish transit cards, all without leaving Maps.
Family Sharing offers an easier way to set up an account for a child with the right parental controls in place from the start.
It includes suggestions for age-appropriate restrictions for apps, movies, books, music, and more, and a simpler process for setting up a new device that applies existing parental controls automatically.
When a child asks for more screen time, guardians can approve or decline right in Messages.
Dictation offers a new on-device experience that allows users to fluidly move between voice and touch. Users can type with the keyboard, tap in the text field, move the cursor, and insert QuickType suggestions, all without needing to stop Dictation.
In addition, Dictation features automatic punctuation and emoji dictation.
Siri adds the ability to run shortcuts as soon as an app is downloaded without requiring upfront setup. Users can add emoji when sending a message, choose to send messages automatically — skipping the confirmation step — and hang up phone and FaceTime calls completely hands-free by simply saying “Hey Siri, hang up.”
The Home app makes it easier for users to navigate, organize, and view their accessories, and enhancements to the underlying architecture offer users more efficient and reliable control of their smart home.
A software update to iOS 16 will bring support for the Matter smart home connectivity standard once it becomes available later this fall, enabling a wide variety of accessories to work together seamlessly across platforms, helping fulfil the true vision of a smart home.
The Fitness app is available to all iPhone users to help track and meet fitness goals, even if they don’t have an Apple Watch.
iPhone users can set up a daily Move goal in the Fitness app and see how their active calories will help close their Move ring.
iPhone motion sensors can track steps, distance, flights climbed, and workouts from third-party apps, which can be converted into an estimation of active calories to contribute to users’ daily Move goal.
Users can also share their Move ring with friends for additional motivation.
The Health app adds Medications, allowing users to conveniently build and manage a medications list, create schedules and reminders, and track their medications, vitamins, or supplements.
In the US, users can simply point their iPhone camera at a label to add a medication, read about the medications they’re taking, and receive an alert if there are potential critical interactions for their medications.
In addition, users can share their Health data with loved ones, and easily create a PDF of available health records from connected health institutions, right from the Health app.
Apple News introduces a new My Sports section to easily follow favourite teams and leagues; receive stories from hundreds of top publishers; access scores, schedules, and standings for the top professional and college leagues; and watch highlights right in the News app.
Game Center features a redesigned dashboard that shows friends’ activity and accomplishments from games in one place, making it easy for players to jump in to play with or compete against their friends.
Personalised Spatial Audio
Personalised Spatial Audio enables an even more precise and immersive listening experience.
Listeners can use the TrueDepth camera on iPhone to create a personal profile for Spatial Audio that delivers a listening experience tuned just for them.
A new privacy tool called Safety Check can be helpful to users whose personal safety is at risk from domestic or intimate partner violence by quickly removing all access they’ve granted to others.
It includes an emergency reset that helps users easily sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, reset privacy permissions, and limit messaging to just the device in their hand.
It also helps users understand and manage which people and apps they’ve given access to.
Accessibility updates include Door Detection, which helps users who are blind or low vision to use their iPhone to navigate the last few feet to their destination, and Apple Watch Mirroring for users with physical and motor disabilities who may rely on assistive features like Voice Control and Switch Control to fully control Apple Watch from their iPhone.
Additionally, Live Captions make it easier for the Deaf and hard of hearing community to follow along while on a phone or FaceTime call, using a videoconference or social media app, streaming media content, or having a conversation with someone next to them.
How to enrol your iPhone in the iOS 16 public beta
Unlike regular iOS updates, where you just tap and start downloading, Apple is using configuration profiles to validate devices for the iOS 16 public beta. Installing it is easy.
Note: If you’ve been on a previous iOS public beta, you may need to remove the previous beta profile before installing the iOS 16 version.
You can do so by going to Settings > General > Profile, selecting the iOS Beta Software Profile, and pressing Delete Profile.