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iOS 16 & watchOS 9 arriving on September 12

After a debut at WWDC and the traditionally long beta period, Apple's iOS 16 and watchOS 9 will be available on Monday, September 12.

The dates were announced in press materials for the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8. It's not yet clear when the final test versions will arrive, but an arrival later on Wednesday is likely.

Apple's macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16 are expected in October.

Beyond a split of release dates for iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, feature changes start with a new Lock Screen that's highly customizable, along with updates to Focus Modes, improvements to Photos, Messages editing, and SharePlay, improved device intelligence, enhanced controller support, Apple Pay Later, and other elements.

For the fifth beta, Apple brought back the battery percentage indicator, which got a lot of social traction. That beta also had a new Lock Screen music visualizer, an audio tone for locating the Apple Watch, screenshot changes, and alterations to Music for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio indicators.

The fourth beta of iOS 16 included changes ranging from reducing the unsend-message time to just two minutes, displaying a log of changes for edited Messages communications, Lock Screen refinements, to new wallpapers and an ActivityKit API.

The third beta added a Lockdown mode that disabled various commonly-exploited aspects, one intended for use by activists, journalists, and government officials who may become targets of hacking. Apple also included the first implementation of the shared Photos library, tweaks to the Lock Screen, and changes to Stage Manager.

WatchOS 9 introduces a number of fitness updates, including extra views within the Workout app when you turn the Digital Crown. Heart Rate Zones, a new metric, will show the intensity level of a workout.

Health adds a Medications tracker, which can remind users to take them regularly. The Sleep app is updated with new metrics for REM, Core, and Deep sleep.

Two new watch faces join the collection, Metropolitan and Playtime, with the former offering customizable numbers while the other is animated whimsy. The Astronomy face has been remastered to include cloud data from Weather, and Portraits has been enhanced with improved depth effects and tinting.