First, as a developer beta, iOS 16 is now available to the public. Read our iOS 16 public beta hands-on to learn about the latest iPhone features.
We mean shortly. Apple announced the iPhone 14 on September 7 and iOS 16 on September 12, four days before the phones’ release. The iPhone 14 Plus arrives on October 7.
Check out our instructions on how to use iOS 16 features on your iPhone, whether you’re receiving a new phone or not.
Here’s what we know about iOS 16 from Apple’s betas and preview.
iOS 16 Cheat Sheet: iPhone Updates
- Apple Pay on iOS 16 may support third-party browsers for in-browser payments. So far, iOS 16 beta 4 contains this feature.
- iOS 16 adds additional Memoji configurations.
iOS 16 revamps the lock screen. Change clock font, color, and backgrounds. Add widgets and move photographs.
- Lock screen focus is now possible. You can design new lock screens for your Focus modes, including work and play, with widgets.
- Messages adds edit/delete. You may collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, and more in Messages with SharePlay.
- Apple Pay lets iPhone users make contactless payments without extra hardware. Apple Pay Later lets you make four interest-free payments over six weeks.
- iCloud Shared Photo library allows users to exchange photos in a separate library.
- Family sharing has been updated to make setting up kids’ devices easier.
In addition to the top iOS 16 innovations, we’ve also highlighted some of our favorite hidden features.
iOS 16 launch
Apple has released iOS 16 development and public betas, with updates coming throughout the summer. You may learn about why we recently switched to iOS 16 beta and how to obtain it in our guide.
iPhone owners can upgrade on September 12. Apple said iOS 16 will be released that day, although not all features will be available. (Third-party developers will add the Live Activities widget later this year.)
iOS 16-Compatible Devices
Apple’s previous two software updates supported the iPhone 6s, which arrived in fall 2015. Apple is discontinuing support for some older phones due to iOS 15’s hardware requirements.
Apple claims iOS 16 will come to iPhone 8 and later. Previous speculations stated the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and 2016 iPhone SE would lose iOS support. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus isn’t supported by iOS 16.
iPhone owners shouldn’t be upset if iOS 16 marks the end of Apple support. The iPhone SE was released six years ago, and the iPhone 6s will be 7 this fall. Even the iPhone 7 is approaching its sixth birthday. Given increases in computing power, it’s logical to believe some iOS 16 features are beyond those devices’ capability.
Lock Screen iOS 16
Apple highlighted iOS 16’s lock screen at WWDC. The former lock screen has been completely redesigned. Some of the updates seem like Google’s Android.
You can customize the clock’s text, color, photo positioning, styles (filters), one or many elements, and lock screens. You can also use themes, like astronomy or weather. Here’s how to modify iOS 16’s lock screen.
In addition to a configurable lock screen, iOS 16 notifications appear at the bottom of the screen. Hide them to keep your lock screen clear. iOS 16 offers Live Activities for real-time notifications, such as sports apps, making it easier to keep up.
Live screens with widgets seemed to set the stage for an always-on display, a popular Android feature missing from Apple’s devices.
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max offer this feature because their displays can scale down to 1Hz. In always-on display mode, the iPhone’s wallpaper dims, but you can still access widgets and see the time.
Focus iOS 16
The focus was one of our favorite iOS 15 features, blocking out distractions so you could work or play. iOS 16 will improve it.
For starters, it will now extend to your iPhone’s lock screen, with the ability to build bespoke screens related to a single focus mode. Set one for work with work-related wallpaper, widgets, and customizations, and another for home.
Focus customizations extend to chosen apps; for example, Safari, Messages, Mail, and Calendar would only show Work Focus notifications. Swipe between Focus modes on the lock screen.
Here’s how a Tom’s Guide editor uses Focus mode and why he’s excited about iOS 16 updates.
iOS 16’s Apple Wallet app adds Apple Pay Later. Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) allows Apple Pay purchases to be split into four installments over six weeks.
The zero-interest, no-fee payments are accepted anyplace Apple Pay is accepted in the U.S. PayPal has unveiled Pay in 4, so users won’t be without options for larger transactions.
Apple Pay’s Order Tracking function gives you full receipts and order tracking information in Apple Wallet.
Wallet’s Keys and IDs have new functionality. You may use your Wallet ID to authenticate your identity and age in apps and transfer home, hotel, office, and automobile keys using Apple’s iMessage apps. All this information will be safe.
Apple’s navigation app adds 11 more nations. It’s adding Chicago, Sydney, and Las Vegas to its 3D city map network.
You may add up to 15 stops to an Apple Maps itinerary, making navigation easier. Siri can add more, or you may design a route on a Mac and email it to your iPhone. (Map a multi-stop route on iOS 16 Maps.)
Apple Maps now lets public transit users check fares, and you can link transit cards to Apple Wallet to see if you have enough credit. We review iOS 16 Maps’ new features.
iOS 16 Live Text, Visual Lookup
iOS 16 enhances Live Text and Visual Lookup. Live Text pulls text from videos. You can highlight text in any frame. Live Text works in Translate to highlight foreign text.
iOS 16 adds Visual Look Up. You may now tap a photo’s subject to copy it, detaching it from its backdrop so it can be pasted into Messages, Notes, or Mail. How to remove a subject from an iOS 16 photo.
iOS 16 and Family Sharing
Family Sharing in iOS 16 has been upgraded. Quick Start applies existing settings to a new phone, making it faster and easier to set up a child’s smartphone. Given kids’ lack of patience, this is great.
Approve (or decline) requests for increased screen time directly from Messages, rather than Settings.
Apple launched iCloud Shared Photo Library. This separate iCloud library lets you share photos with friends and family, like Google Photos. Five people max.
You can share specific or all photos, and groups by person or date. You can manually add photos or utilize the Camera app’s new sharing shortcut to automatically add them. If you want automatic access, turn on this switch.
Photos will offer for your photos. Everyone has equal library permissions.
The greatest change to Photos is the iCloud Shared Photo Library. iOS 16 Photos offers photo-editing and duplicate-image-management functions.
iOS 16 Sports News
Apple News will have a new Sports section so you can follow teams and leagues. Schedules, results, and highlights are in My Sports. The Apple TV app syncs everything.
Free in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Apple News Plus subscribers will get sports coverage.
iOS 16 Security
iOS 16 will include Safety Check to promote personal safety. Domestic violence victims can quickly remove location sharing and app permissions. Safety Check safeguards messages and resets privacy permissions.
iOS 16 Health
Health gets a couple of updates with WatchOS 9 and iOS 16. The iPhone’s Fitness app tracks movement and other activity, like the Apple Watch’s.
iPhone fitness works without an Apple Watch (though Apple would certainly appreciate it if this addition inspires you to buy one.)
Health will soon include a section for logging and managing drugs. iOS 16’s Medications feature lets you add your pills and schedule reminders to take them.
iOS 16: Extras
We’ve covered Apple’s WWDC keynote and iOS 16 beta. Other features are also important.
Face ID will be updated to work in landscape mode. iOS 16 adds Switch controller compatibility. iOS 16 allows photocopy/paste.
Plus, iOS 16 fixes a frustrating web feature. iOS 16 makes transferring an eSim ridiculously easy, which is nice given the iPhone 14 has no physical SIM slot for US versions.