iOS 16: Release date, new features and everything we know from WWDC

iOS 16: Every major change comes to iMessage, Apple Pay and more

This story is part of WWDC 2022CNET’s full coverage from and around Apple’s annual developer conference.

Apple showed off iOS 16the iPhonenext operating system, on annual WWDC conference This week. The tech giant promised a host of new features for iOS 16, such as upgraded customization for your lock screen and the ability to edit messages that you have already sent in the Messages app. The new Olympics will be available for iPhone 8 and laterand it is likely to be released in September along with highly acclaimed iPhone 14. (It is possible to download the beta version now, but there are some caveats to know about.)

The introduction of iOS 16 followed on May 16 release of iOS 15.5, which included updates to Apple Cash, Photos Memories, and the Podcasts app. Apple also recently launched a developer beta for iOS 15.6, which at the moment lacks any major new features and seems to focus mainly on fixing bugs.


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Apple is previewing iOS 16 and a bunch of new iPhone features


6:22

iOS 16 lets you edit and “send” messages

“Embarrassing misspellings are a thing of the past,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, as he introduced three of the most sought-after features for the Messages app.

First in iOS 16 you will be able to edit sent messages. So if you notice a spelling mistake after a message, you will be able to edit the message afterwards. A small “edited” appears in the status below the message.

A screenshot of the iOS 16 Messages app showing one that has been edited

In Messaging, you can edit previously sent messages.

Apple

Next – and this may be my new favorite feature – you can immediately recall a sent message. If you accidentally sent an incomplete message, you can use the Undo Send tool to prevent it from being read and hopefully look less chaotic to your friends and family.

Finally, you can mark messages and threads as unread. This can be a great tool when you do not have time to reply to a message right now, but want to make sure you get back to it later.

Your iPhone gets a new customizable lock screen

One of the things you look at most on your iPhone is the lock screen, especially if you have an iPhone equipped with Face ID. iOS 16 ger the most significant update to the iPhone’s lock screen to date. Press and hold to edit your lock screen. You can swipe to try several different styles. Each style changes the color filter for the background photo and the font on the lock screen so that everything complements each other. This feels a bit like Apple’s view of Google’s Material You, which was launched with Android 12.

You can also customize the time and date fonts and add lock screen widgets such as temperature, activity rings, and a calendar. The widgets are similar to complications on the Apple Watch lock screen.

Your iPhone will be more customizable in iOS 16. You will be able to choose what your lock screen looks like, down to the font and color.

Apple

You can even set up several custom lock screens with different widgets and easily swipe to switch between them. There is even a photo-shuffle option that automatically changes the images on your lock screen.

A feature we were hoping to see Apple add was a constant display. This is something almost all Android phones have; so does the Apple Watch. There is hope that it will come out with iPhone 14.

A screenshot of the Live Activities tool at the bottom of the lock screen

iOS 16 adds a feature that developers can use called Live Activities. This is essentially a mini-view of the real-time process of a workout, sporting event or Uber trip from your iPhone’s lock screen.

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Notifications and live activities

Sometimes notifications can hide the photo on your lock screen, so iOS 16 moves notifications to the bottom of the screen. When you receive them, instead of being compiled into a list, they look like a vertical carousel. Not only does this look better but it should be a great help for one-handed use of your iPhone.

iOS 16 also aims to solve another messaging problem. Sometimes you get a bunch of notifications in a row from an app, like the score for a basketball game. A new developer tool called Live Activities makes it easier to keep track of things happening in real time from your lock screen, instead of having a series of interruptions.

Live activities should make it easier to follow sporting events, training sessions or even the development of an Uber trip.

Wallet and Apple Pay Later

ID cards from more states will be available in your Wallet app along with more security and privacy features. In iOS 16, you can also protect your identity and age. So instead of showing your exact date of birth, the Wallet app will show your ID and that you are over 21.

iOS 16 makes it easier to share keys with apps like Mail and Messages. When your friend gets the key, they can add it to the Wallet app on their iPhone. Apple said they are working to ensure that shared keys are an industry standard and free for others.

A screenshot of cards in the Wallet app for iOS 16

The Wallet app in iOS 16 gets a bunch of small but notable updates, including the Apple Pay Later payment plan.

Apple

Apple Pay will support new types of payments and add a new feature called Apple pay later, a Klarna-like service that lets you split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments spread over six weeks, with no interest and no fees. Upcoming payments are handled via the Wallet app, which makes it easy to keep track of dates and payments.

But Apple Pay does not end there. A new feature also helps you track Apple Pay orders and lets merchants deliver detailed receipts and tracking information. This should make it easier to stay up to date on the status of all your orders.

A screenshot of a thread in Messages where a clipping of a dog is added

You can tap and hold the subject of a photo and separate it from the background. Then you can drag it to another app like Messages to share it.

Apple

Visual Lookups tap and drag for photos

In iOS 15, Visual Look Up analyzes your photos and can identify objects such as plants, landmarks and pets. iOS 16 takes this to the next level. When you touch a photo subject like the dog in the image above, you can lift it off the background and add it to apps like Messages. Basically, it is a push-and-hold tool that removes the background of a photo.

Apple sometimes overuses the word “magic”, but this feature really seems like it.

Craig Federighi introduces SharePlay in messages in front of a giant screen

During the keynote for WWDC, Apple CEO Craig Federighi introduces SharePlay for the Messages app.

Apple

SharePlay comes to Messages

SharePlay, which debuted in iOS 15, lets you have a shared experience while connecting with someone over FaceTime. You can watch TV shows, listen to music in sync and more. iOS 16 adds the ability to discover more apps that support SharePlay from FaceTime.

But perhaps one of the coolest things Apple did for SharePlay was to make it work in the Messages app. Apple said this was one of the biggest requests from app developers. Now when you want to share a movie on Disney Plus, you can start SharePlay with a friend while chatting in Messages.

An Apple CEO presents the security check during the WWDC keynote

Security control allows you to quickly restore location sharing and password access. It is intended to help people in violent relationships.

Apple

Safety Check aims to help people in violent relationships

Security check is a new feature designed to help people in abusive relationships. It allows you to review and restore who has access to location information as well as passwords, messages and other apps on an iPhone.

Focus mode updates and focus filters

Focus mode receives several updates. The first applies focus behaviors to widgets and the appearance of the lock screen. So you can have one lock screen set for when your Work Focus is activated and another for training.

Apple has added specific focus filters that apply your iPhone’s focus mode to apps. In Safari, for example, you can restrict which tabs are displayed depending on which focus mode you have active.

Apple Maps adds public transit maps

Maps will receive several updates. You will be able to plan trips with up to 15 different stops along the way. If you start planning a trip with the Maps app on your Mac, you will be able to share it to your iPhone.

And in something similar to what Google announced for Google Wallet in Android 13, you will be able to see estimates of transit prices as well as add more money to a ticket card from Apple Maps.

Craig Federighi demonstrates the new Quick Start feature during WWDC keynote

In iOS 16, you will be able to customize Quick Launch with a specific child’s iCloud parental controls and settings.

Apple

iCloud Family Checklist

iCloud gets several new features. One of the more interesting is the ability to quickly configure a new device for your child. When quick start is displayed, you have the option to select a user for the new device and use all existing parental controls that you have previously selected and configured. However, this is not what many of us still want: the ability to configure separate users for the same device.

There’s a new family checklist with tips for updating settings for your kids as they get older, as a reminder to check location sharing settings or share your iCloud Plus subscriptions.

For more, check it out everything Apple announced at WWDC 2022.

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