WWDC

Apple introduces iOS 16 with a revamped widget-covered lock screen, Wallet and Map changes, and more

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Apple has shown off iOS 16 at the WWDC 2022 keynote, with a new Lock Screen, Messages changes, Wallet additions, Map upgrades, and more.

As usual for Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, the iPhone maker has shown off the upgrades of its next milestone operating system versions, which includes iOS 16. Arriving in the fall to coincide with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro range, iOS 16 brings with it the usual array of performance improvements, major changes, and new features.

Rather than taking iOS in a new design direction, the interface of iOS 16 is quite similar to that of iOS 15. While the general look and feel is similar, features included in the mobile operating system have certainly changed.

Lock Screen

The lock screen has been given a makeover, to make it a more useful element of iOS. This includes the introduction of widgets, which bring more data to the lock screen than the existing notifications, time, and torch and camera buttons.

The intention is that there will be more data for the user to see, without needing to fully unlock the iPhone to see it.

The lock screen is personalizable, including the ability to add Portrait mode photos and filters. The clock can have different fonts and colors, while the new wallpaper gallery can suggest photos for you to use.

Widgets for the new iOS 16 lock screen.
Widgets for the new iOS 16 lock screen.

Multiple lock screens can be made, with a Lock Screen Editor able to make screens like you would configure Apple Watch faces. Other elements include a Weather lock screen with animation, emoji wallpaper, and an astronomy collection.

Notifications have been updated to show new elements at the bottom of the screen. The new Live Activities and API can show glanceable notifications, and for Music Live Activities, they can show album art as well.

Focus modes have also been extended to the Lock Screen, so you can show a specific Lock Screen based on which Focus is active. Speaking of Focus, Focus Filters now takes Focus into apps, such as showing only specific tabs in Safari, certain Mail accounts, or other specified information types in other third-party apps.

Messages and Mail

Messages benefits from the ability to edit messages after they have been sent. You can also delete messages forever from a conversation, and mark a thread as unread.

Shared With You is updated with a new API, which will allow developers to access the system within their apps.

Changes in Messages
Changes in Messages

SharePlay is being improved with a dedicated button in FaceTime. It is also coming to Messages, so multiple conversation participants can watch a video in sync and chat via text.

Improved dictation should also help users compose their messages with more ease. There is also easy switching between touch and voice using on-device dictation. There's also automatic punctuation and emoji.

In Mail, users can schedule emails ahead of time, and can cancel delivery before it hits the recipient's inbox. Mail also informs users if they may have forgotten something, like mentioning an attachment or document but not attaching it to the message.

There are options to resurface messages at a later time with Remind Later. Follow Up will automatically remind users that they should follow up with an email if there hasn't been a response.

Mail also overhauls search with new techniques employed to generate results.

Siri and processing

Developers will be able to take advantage of Apple's digital assistant in apps via a new API called App Intents.

Live Text has been updated with video support, so you can pause a video and interact with text visible within the frame. After selecting text, you can select from a number of quick actions.

Users can add emoji to a message via Siri, with an additional option to speed up sending messages by skipping the confirmation step and to send messages automatically.

Live Text also gains an API, with it able to be used in Translate too.

Visual Lookup has been updated with subject selection. For users, this means you could lift and hold subjects of images, then place them into an app like Messages as a sticker, for example.

If you're in a call or a FaceTime conversation, you can disconnect hands-free by saying "Hey Siri, hang up."

Wallet

The Wallet gains an in-app ID verification system with Driver's License for apps such as Uber, providing age verification and confirmation for other bits fo data.

Keys kept in the Wallet can be shared with others using messaging apps, including Messages, Mail, and WhatsApp.

A new Apple Pay Later will allow you to split the cost of an item into four equal payments. The service is offered with zero interest and no fees, and works wherever Apple Pay is accepted.

Order tracking is also added to Apple Pay, to show when deliveries are coming within Wallet. Millions of merchants will offer the service, with it all starting with Shopify.

Maps

Apple's redesigned Maps experience will be available in six more cities, which will enable views of those locations with 3D objects. The new display is also being rolled out to 11 more countries.

Multistop routing is also coming to Maps, with users able to plan up to 15 stops on a route in advance. You could also plan on a Mac and send the route to iPhone, and even add more stops using Siri.

Updates to Maps
Updates to Maps

Transit is gaining cost features, so when you're asking for directions, you can see how much you will pay for public transport if you follow the navigation instructions.

MapKit has been updated for developers, with third-party apps able to implement detailed Apple Maps. MapKit also gains Look Around.

Lastly for Maps, there will be server-side APIs that will be introduced later in 2022.

Apple News

Apple's News app has been updated with a My Sports section, which lets users follow their favorite teams. This includes highlights, scores, and standings for teams.

There's also Apple News+ integration, enabling paid publications to use the same My Sports feature.

Families and Safety

As part of Apple's attempts to make iOS safer for families, it is now possible for accounts within a family group to have parental controls applied based on age. There's a quick setup feature for kids accounts that adds settings with no further configuration.

Family Checklist will make it easier for parents to change settings as their children get older.

Safety Check in iOS 16
Safety Check in iOS 16

Photos for Family is an iCloud shared Photo library, which lets all within a family group share images together. Users can share just what they want, share based on who is in the photo or what's taken, and to manually share items as well.

Safety Check is a system to limit the amount of data being shared, when required. Users can review and reset access to data and locations that have been granted for others, turn off location for all devices, limit iMessage sync to just the device in their hand, and even limit who can contact them.

HomeKit

As part of Apple's HomeKit announcements, it's promoting the cross-platform smart home standard called Matter. This should allow more smart home devices to work together, despite not having a common shared platform.

The Home app is being updated with a new interface. The main tab of the app contains Rooms and Favorites, while new categories are offered for climate, security, lights, and other elements.

Naturally, there are new lock screen widgets that work with the Home app.

CarPlay

Apple's automotive interface CarPlay is being given a massive upgrade to more deeply integrate with a car's hardware. Under this, multi-screen support will allow widgets and apps to appear on more parts of the dashboard.

CarPlay: The Next Generation
CarPlay: The Next Generation

The deeper integration will allow CarPlay to access other elements, such as being able to directly control a radio or change the climate. Accessing vehicle data, this can also allow CarPlay to render information like speed, fuel level, temperature, and other items on the instrument cluster.

This also means drivers can personalize their experience a lot more, such as showing only gauges and widgets they are interested in, rather than everything. This can even include at-a-glance information about the weather and currently-played music.

Apple says it will share more information about CarPlay's next generation in the future, with vehicles that will use it expected to be announced late in 2023.

Safari

New shared Tab Groups lets you share website collections with friends and family, so the group can add more tabs and see what others are using.

Passkeys, unique digital keys that aren't stored on a web server, are intended to replace passwords. Syncable using iCloud Keychain across devices with end-to-end encryption, they use Touch ID and Face ID for verification, and works across apps and websites.

Fitness

Available to iPhone users without needing an Apple Watch, the updated Fitness app lets users have a similar experience, but just using the iPhone. This includes daily Move goals and the Move ring for calories burned through activity.

The Fitness app gets its own Move ring
The Fitness app gets its own Move ring

On-device sensors are used for tracking steps, distances, flights climbed, and workouts from third-party apps. Move rings can also be shared with others for motivation.

Health

The Health app adds Medications, so users can compile and manage their list of medications, create schedules and reminders, and track their intake.

US users will be able to add medications, read information about the medication, and receive alerts about potential critical interactions, all by pointing the camera at the label.

Health data can also be shared with family members, with health records able to be compiled into a PDF from within the app.

Personalized Spatial Audio

The Spatial Audio experience is being updated, with the use of the TrueDepth camera on an iPhone. By creating a personal profile for Spatial Audio, the iPhone can provide a listening experience that's tuned "just for them."

Accessibility

In the weeks ahead of WWDC, Apple did reveal a number of accessibility features coming to iOS early. The list includes the LiDAR-based Door Detection, assistive physical and motor accessibility features, and Live Captions.

Apple usually releases the initial developer beta for iOS shortly after the WWDC keynote completes. Public betas typically start a few weeks later, generally by or after the second developer build.

Apple says iOS 16 is supported by:

  • iPhone SE Gen 2
  • iPhone SE Gen 3
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max

The final release of iOS 16 to the public will occur in the fall, accompanying the introduction of Apple's iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro lineup.

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