Apple has released iOS 16 to the public, bringing a new range of customization options, core app changes, and other features to the iPhone.
The free software update is now available to download over the air on compatible iOS devices. It brings a suite of updates to Apple's flagship device, including options that allow users to further personalize their devices.
Lock Screen changes
The Lock Screen updates are likely among the biggest here. Apple has revamped the Lock Screen, allowing users to deeply customize how their iPhone appears while locked.
Users can add widgets to quickly convey information, customize font and text color, and intelligently add photos that appear to seamlessly blend into the user interface.
You can also set specific Lock Screens to appear when certain Focus Modes have been enabled.
For iPhone 14 Pro users, the Lock Screen will intelligently dim into an always-on mode when face up and not in use. This uses the variable refresh display to update information at a rate as slow as 1Hz. Wallpapers will darken while preserving skin tone, widgets and the clock stay visible, and Live Activities stay up to date.
Siri and machine learning
Siri and related productivity features are also getting more intelligent in iOS 16. For example, developers will be able to incorporate Siri with an App Intents API.
Additionally, users can now select text without paused videos through the company's Live Text feature. A separate API allows developers to incorporate Live Text in their owns apps, while Apple is also adding translation capabilities to the feature.
Users can also easily cut subjects out of images, allowing them to quickly remove the background from portraits or other pictures. Drag these images into iMessage to send a PNG with a transparent background.
Dictation has also been updated with automatic punctuation and emoji support. The dictation tool allows users to speak or type with the feature active for easier text input.
One of the more significant changes to Apple's core app is the ability to edit — and even unsend — messages in the company's iMessage app.
During the early beta process, users could edit messages up to 15 minutes after they've been sent. Following feedback from users, Apple tweaked the feature by cutting the time limit and adding a log detailing specific edits.
Editing a message can be done five times in a 15-minute window, and the edit history is preserved for all participants. Unsending or deleting a message can only be done in a three-minute window.
Users will also be able to schedule emails in Mail ahead of time, and cancel delivery before a message reaches the recipient's inbox. Mail will also intelligently let you know if you've mentioned an attachment or document but forgot to attach it.
SharePlay is also being incorporated into Messages, allowing users to watch content simultaneously while live chatting. This feature was previously restricted to FaceTime and required an active call.
Apple Pay & Wallet
Apple also unveiled Apple Pay Later, a new "buy now, pay later" service built into the payments platform. The feature allows users to split any Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments over six weeks with no additional interest or fees.
Apple has added a few additional Health-focused features that allow users to get a more personalized view of their own wellness on iPhone.
For example, the company has doubled down on sleep tracking in the Health app, letting users see exactly when they were in bed, how long it took for them to fall asleep, and the total amount of time spent sleeping. The Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra have a temperature sensor used for improved sleep tracking.
Medication tracking is also getting a boost with a feature that can track medication and vitamin usage. The company will also warn users of potentially harmful interactions and will alert them when it's time to take their medication.
Other changes to iOS in the latest update include the following:
- Apple's redesigned Maps experience is now available in six more cities, and the new display is rolling out to 11 more countries.
- Apple News is getting a new My Sports section that allows users to track their favorite sports teams.
- Safety Check is a new feature meant for security. It easily allows those under threat to review and reset access to data, locations, and other information granted to other users.
- The Home app is getting a new interface with additional UI changes.
- Apple will let users share Tab Groups in Safari with a new collection-sharing feature.
- Passkeys are now generally available, letting users log into websites without traditional passwords.
- The Fitness app now more accurately tracks activities and workouts without a connected Apple Watch.
- Spatial Audio will now be customized through the TrueDepth camera on an iPhone.
- There are a range of new Accessibility features, including LiDAR-based Door Detection, Live Captions, and assistive physical and motor accessibility features.
- CarPlay is getting a range of changes, including features that let users more deeply integrate their iPhones with a car's hardware.
- iCloud Shared Photo Library
- Live Activities for third-party apps
- Matter support is present, but Matter itself hasn't launched
- The Freeform collaboration app
Apple is expected to release iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura later in the fall. Once these are available to the public, Apple will likely roll out the cloud related features that necessitate every device being on the same platform version.
Where to get iOS 16
Apple's iOS 16 update is currently available to download as a free over-the-air update.
Devices compatible with the update include the iPhone 8 and second-generation iPhone SE and later.