It’s the start of June, which means it’s time for largely meaningless international football matches (unless you’re Welsh), endless FOMO-generating festival photos and the Apple’s annual WWDC event. While rarely as captivating as the new iPhone reveal that traditionally arrives in September, this colloquially named “dub-dub” gives you an idea of what new software tricks will be on offer to owners of the world-conquering smartphone later on. This year.
To our surprise, iOS 16 promises to be one of the biggest iPhone updates in years with a suite of nifty and delightfully inventive new features. From the long-awaited arrival of a fully customizable lock screen to the ability to use your iPhone as a MacBook webcam and a reprieve from error-strewn iMessages, there’s a lot of clever stuff going on for users. Even better? Anyone with an iPhone made after 2017 – that was the year of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X – will be able to get their hands on this genius. Here’s what to expect when the software launches as a free download in just a few months.
1. A totally redesigned lock screen
The lock screen is the first thing you see when your iPhone turns on, but it’s amazing how little Apple has touched it in recent years. That changes with iOS 16, which lets you customize the thing like never before. You can tap and hold any screen element to edit it, change font sizes and styles, add rotating live wallpapers, and load it with widgets. And in an even more Apple Watch-like move, you can also set up multiple lock screens for different use cases.
2. Better notifications
Owning a smartphone in 2022 means getting notifications relentlessly throughout the day, but Apple is at least improving iPhone support. Notifications will now come from the bottom of the screen and be hidden when you don’t want to see them. Also new is what Apple calls Live Activities, which are basically live widget notifications that you can pin to the lock screen. Think football scores, training tracking, and most importantly, the status of the Chinese takeout you just ordered.
3. Message editing is finally coming
We have all been there. You just sent what you thought was a stone cold zinger of a bashing to a friend, only to find you misspelled “moron”, robbing the message of any impact. Well, not anymore, because iOS 16 finally lets you edit messages, and even totally recall drunken messages you immediately regret sending. Apple’s SharePlay feature is also coming to Messages, allowing you to listen to or watch songs and movies synced with the person you’re chatting with.
4. Better dictation
Apple’s dictation software is already pretty handy, but with iOS 16 it’s even better. When using dictation for email or iMessage, the keyboard remains open, allowing you to switch between typing and chatting on the fly. Amazing for impatient communicators and new sore throat owners.
5. Improved Live Text
Apple’s Live Text feature is a bit like the magic of technology, intelligently recognizing text in images on iOS and letting you extract it to drop it elsewhere. In iOS 16, this feature is extended to video, allowing you to pause on any image and interact with text. Equally nifty visual search lets you tap on the subject of an image (now including birds, statues and babies) and lift it from the background to place it in apps like Messages for almost instantaneous memorization.
6. CarPlay lights up
The Apple car may still be a long way off, but Apple has expanded its CarPlay software to give you a taste of what’s (highly rumored) to come. CarPlay now integrates deeply with your vehicle, allowing you to change the internal temperature and tune your radio, for example, without leaving the app. Elsewhere, iPhone-like interfaces can be used across all screens in the car, with added support for widgets on the dashboard.