Apple announced its major annual operating system updates in its WWDC keynote on June 6. No platform is bigger or more important to Apple and its users than the iPhone, and therefore no operating system update is more important than iOS. After a successful reception on iOS 15 in 2021, iOS 16 was expected to add many new features and did not disappoint.
In this article, we reveal everything you need to know about iOS 16 and how it will affect your iPhone experience. We reveal iOS 16’s new features, design changes and release schedule, and how to get your hands on an early beta of the new software
iOS 16: version
We expect iOS 16 to be released in September 2022 after the annual iPhone event. But that’s just speculation; So far, Apple has only said it will launch in the fall.
Last year, iOS 15 arrived on Monday, September 20, 2021. So a reasonable guess would be iOS 16 arriving on Monday, September 19, 2022, or some other time this week. The big release to the public always takes place in the fall, usually in September to accompany the new version of the iPhone. Additional point releases (iOS 16.1, iOS 16.2, etc.) follow in the weeks and months that follow with bug fixes and additional features.
iOS 16: beta version
The first developer beta of iOS 16 was released immediately; here’s how to install an iOS developer beta. The first public beta should follow in a few weeks. Then we’ll have a series of rolling development and public betas that move closer and closer to the final public release of iOS 16.0.
June 6, 2022: iOS 16 is unveiled
June 6, 2022: iOS 16 is available for developer beta testers
Based on previous release dates, we anticipate the following developments over the next few months:
July 2022: iOS 16 is available for public beta testers. (Indeed, Apple confirmed this by stating on June 6: “A public beta will be available for iOS users next month.”)
September 2022: The final version of iOS 16 is released to the general public.
Various betas will be released between June 6 and September, and we expect a lot of them. During the development of iOS 15, Apple released eight versions of the developer beta before the GM (gold master).
iOS 16: Compatibility
You will need an iPhone 8 or later to be able to run iOS 16.
That’s the title, but older devices may not get the full iOS 16 experience. Apple warns, for example, that the new accessibility feature Live Captions is available on iPhone 11 and later, while the door detection and person detection require the LiDAR scanner on iPhone 12 Pro and later.
This is a big change from last year. At WWDC 2021, Apple announced that iOS 15 would work on very old models, such as the iPhone 6s (2015) and first-generation SE (2016). They both dropped the supported list, and the iPhone 7 also disappeared. If you own one of these iPhones, it might be time to upgrade.
iOS 16: New Features
iOS 16 isn’t a massive update, but it’s packed with fun new features that will make your iPhone look fresh this fall:
This can now be heavily customized (change colors and fonts, for example) and upgraded with widgets to keep tabs on the weather, your activity rings or any other information you need easy access . And, much like the Apple Watch faces, you can create multiple lock screens, each with its own wallpaper and widgets, and easily switch between them.
The way these appear has been changed: they now roll from the bottom of the screen, which seems like a more logical way to present them. Apple also announced live activities, a new way to track sports games, Uber trip progress, workouts, and more. from the lock screen.
Your choice of lock screen, widgets, and notification settings can now be tied to focus modes. Apple suggests “a data-rich lock screen when using work focus or a photo lock screen when using personal focus.” By swiping to a particular lock screen, you can trigger the associated focus mode.
There are also now focus filters: if you’re in work Focus mode, for example, you can choose to only see Safari tabs related to a project you’re working on, or filter irrelevant messages in Messages and Mail.
Apple announced three big changes to Messages. You can 1) edit and 2) unsend messages after they’ve been sent, and 3) mark any thread as unread. Less importantly, there are plenty of new visuals to customize your Memoji, including new hairstyles and headgear, nose shapes, and poses.
New tools here include scheduled sends and, very briefly, the ability to recall sent messages. Mail should detect and notify users of forgotten attachments, and there are new reminder later and follow-up features to prompt the user when they or a recipient has not responded to an email.
Live text and visual search
Live text now applies to video as well as still images. Pause a video and the text will become “live” to be copied or translated. Apple says Live Text will also provide faster access to translation and currency conversion tools.
The related Visual Look Up feature, which was introduced in iOS 15 and uses AI to identify plants, animals and landmarks in your photos, is also getting an update. For starters, it can now also recognize birds, insects, and statues. But separately, it can use that same AI to detect the edges of pictured objects and let you tap and hold them out of a photo and in other apps like Messages. Spot a cute dog in a photo? Cut it out and insert it into an iMessage so others can enjoy it too.
Gets in-app identity verification: A handy option if you don’t want to share personal data with someone, but need to prove to them that you’re over 21, for example. Wallet also has the ability to share digital keys via Messages, Mail or WhatsApp.
Apple announced two new companies here: Apple Pay Later (a six-week, four-equal payment method, initially available in the US only) and Apple Pay Order Tracking (which provides receipts and order tracking information in Wallet for purchases made with Apple Pay).
iCloud Shared Photo Library
Apple calls it “The best way to share photos with your family,” and it’s certainly promising.
Once you set up the shared library, everyone can see the same images, along with edits, captions, and tags. But the most interesting element might be the smart automations you can use to share photos based on when they were taken, who’s in them, or who’s nearby now.
This important privacy feature, designed to help people experiencing domestic violence or similar issues, allows you to monitor who you have granted access to your permissions and easily revoke them. It can be used to reset the privacy permissions of system apps and to restrict Messages and FaceTime to the device you are currently using.
For a more in-depth exploration of what’s new to your iPhone this year, read our guide to the top new features in iOS 16. And we’ve also rounded up the little features and changes that will make a big difference to the way you use your iPhone.
Expected updates in the future
Some expected updates and new features were not announced today, but may still appear later in the year. For instance:
Before the launch of the iPhone 13, rumors swirled that Apple would finally implement an always-on display with the time, date, notifications and other quick data at a glance. It obviously didn’t arrive with those phones, but maybe those rumors of an always-on display feature being tested were actually an iOS 16 feature.
There seems to be evidence that an always-on display could be coming to iPhones in 2022, at least the new iPhone 14 models. Display Supply Chain Consultants CEO Ross Young tweeted that he “expects to Apple adopting an LPTO display that drops the refresh rate down to 1Hz when not in use (iPhone 13’s OLED display drops to 10Hz). A lower refresh rate is key to preserving battery life, and battery life is no doubt why Apple hasn’t implemented this feature yet.
Note that this feature was not mentioned in the WWDC 2022 presentation, but it was never very likely that it was: that would be giving away a key feature of the iPhone 14 Pro months before its launch. So we’re still keeping our fingers crossed for an always-on display later this year. Is this technically an iOS 16 feature or an iPhone 14 Pro feature? It may be more the latter since other devices will apparently be excluded.