Our iOS 16 wish list: Every iPhone feature we want to see at WWDC

Our iOS 16 wish list: Every iPhone feature we want to see at WWDC

What happens

Apple is expected to unveil iOS 16 on Monday. We hope to see a screen that is always on, better widgets and an iPad-like split screen feature, among other updates.

Why it matters

Software updates introduce new features that make the iPhone feel fresh and relevant, even for older models.

What comes next

Apple usually introduces new iPhone updates during its WWDC conference, which begins on June 6, before launching in the fall.

Apples 2022 Worldwide developer conference starts on Monday and we expect to get our first look at iOS 16 – probably the name of Apple’s next major iPhone software update. There’s also a good chance we’ll see previews of software updates for Apple’s other major products: iPadOS 16, WatchOS 9 and MacOS. But iOS 16 will probably be the star of the program as it provides a glimpse of the new features coming to iPhones this fall.

The last three versions of iOS have been similar. iOS 15 feels like a riff on iOS 14, which felt like a sequel to iOS 13. All visual changes can be turned on and off instead of being forced into your iPhone. For example, if you do not like home screen widgets or focus mode, you do not need to use them. Even if you opt out of the more noticeable changes, iOS 15 provides a bunch of background enhancements to keep your iPhone running smoothly and securely. And that’s likely to be the case with iOS 16.

iOS 15 has been out for seven months and the operating system has been relatively stable with very few bugs. Some features, like Universal Control and SharePlay, took a while to roll out, but everything seems to be up and running now. iOS 16 is likely to continue where iOS 15 ends and add new features to the existing design.

But that does not mean that there are no things that Apple needs to add or improve. My colleagues and I came up with a list of improvements, additions, and fixes that we would like Apple to make for iOS 16. Some are great, like adding support for Apple Pencil, and others are small but significant, like giving home screen widgets more functionality. We’ll have to wait and see what Apple actually does.

iOS 16: The Photo app needs to copy and paste for editing

We use iPhones to take pictures and film all the time, and editing pictures is as satisfying as taking them. Most people’s place to edit is the iPhone Photo app: The interface is simple, and there are a plethora of tools to get exactly the look you want.

But the MacOS version of the Photos app has a useful feature that would improve editing on iPhone: the ability to copy and paste edits between photos. This is especially useful when taking several pictures in the same place, for example at a restaurant or party. Since all photos were taken under the same light and conditions, you can only edit one photo and then copy and paste these adjustments into the others.

Mac drop-down menu with

You can copy and paste photo edits from one photo to another using the Photos app on Mac.

Patrick Holland / CNET

Instead, in iOS 15, you can make these adjustments one at a time for each photo on the iPhone. It’s boring.

In iOS 16, it would be good to see a similar copy and paste feature on the iPhone. We would give iOS 16 bonus points if the edits you made in the Photos app on the Mac could be applied to the Photos app on the iPhone, and vice versa. But, one step at a time.

An Apple Watch Series 6 with a screen that is always on

The Apple Watch has an always-on screen that can display important information and save battery life.


An always on lock screen for iPhone

Imagine being able to watch your iPhone when the screen is off to see time, notifications and missed calls. Such a feature has been around on Android phones for several years, where only important information is lit and the screen is otherwise black. It’s called an always-on display. Apple offers an always-on display option for the Apple Watch Series 5 and later, but it’s still absent on the iPhone.

But Apple may change that soon with iOS 16, which is said to provide future support for always-on-display functionality, according to Bloomberg. The update would allow the iPhone to reduce the lock screen refresh rate to display bits of information, but Bloomberg’s report indicates that this feature may be exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.

Bring iPad’s split screen view to iPhone Pro Max models

iPhone Pro Max has been part of Apple’s range since 2019. The 11 Pro Max has a 6.5-inch screen, while 12 Pro Max and 13 Pro Max Both have a 6.7-inch screen that makes watching videos, playing games and reading articles an absolute delight.

But those big screens feel wasted when it comes to software. Some iOS apps like Mail and Messages can take advantage of the extra screen space in landscape mode to display a column of message previews next to the currently opened message. But otherwise there is not much else in iOS that takes advantage of the larger screens.

An iPad with Safari on the left of the screen and maps on the right

Split view debuted on iPad with iOS 9.


Apple could include some features from iPadOS to iOS 16 only for Pro Max models, especially its split-screen multitasking view. It would be wonderful to have Safari open on one side of the phone screen and then start messaging on the other.

Read more: iOS 15 can make iPhone 12 Pro more Pro

Apple Pencil support for iPhone Pro Max models

The large screen of iPhone Pro Max models requires Apple Pencil support. Samsung showed that there is a large audience for a handset pen through its Galaxy Note and S Ultra devices. Heck, there are even $ 300 phones like the Moto G Stylus that support one.

A person using an Apple Pencil to draw on an iPad

Apple Pencil is compatible with iPad Mini, Air and Pro. We want Apple to add support for iPhone Pro Max models.


The second generation Apple Pencil is an outstanding pen that currently works with iPad Mini, Air and Pro models. But imagine that you can use it on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and its 120Hz screen to sketch and take notes. Even better, how about an Apple Pencil Mini (think golf pen size) that can be attached to the side of the iPhone Pro Max? Technical journalists can dream, right?

iPhone widgets need more functionality

When home screen widgets came to the iPhone with iOS 14, many of us were happy. Apple’s widget implementation is clean and smooth Samsung has started imitating them. Widgets fit grid-like anywhere on your home screen. But there is a wrinkle: home screen widgets are passive. Apart from clear information or smart widget stacks, the most functionality they provide is the ability to open the corresponding app.

With iOS 14, Apple took widgets to the home screen. iOS 16 could add more functionality.

Jason Cipriani / CNET

For example, the Apple Music widget shows the currently playing song. By tapping the widget, I get to the Apple Music app. But what if you could tap the widget to skip to the next song? What if you could swipe in the weather widget to change places? Let’s hope iOS 16 gives home screen widgets more functionality.

We do not know for sure until Apple announces iOS 16. But Bloomberg says the company may introduce new lock screen options that have widget-like functionality in iOS 16. That may not be exactly what we’re asking for, but Bloomberg’s report suggests that Apple may have some kind of enhancement planned for widgets in iOS 16.

Let’s place apps wherever we want

In recent years, Apple has improved the home screen with new elements such as widgets and the app library. You can have multiple pages of apps and even include the same app on different home screen pages (which is important if you are a super user of focus mode).

iPhones app library

The app library is one of a handful of ways that Apple has improved the iPhone’s home screen. Hopefully in iOS 16 we can move apps wherever we want on the screen.

Patrick Holland / CNET

But when it comes to rearranging the app icons on your app page, nothing has changed. Apps are stuck on the invisible software magnet at the top left of the screen. So if you just want to keep a couple of apps on a specific home screen page, those apps start filling up the screen from the top left corner. You can not put them at the bottom of the screen without filling the top of the page first.

Apple, please give us the freedom to move apps wherever we want. This would be a great boon to make apps easier to reach with one hand without using Reachability. Also, if you have a home screen wallpaper that you love, you can organize apps so you can see your photo better.

More standard apps

You can currently set the default browser app and default email app on an iPhone to be something other than Safari and Mail. In iOS 16, Apple was able to open system standards for more apps, especially for maps and messaging apps. If you are a regular Google Maps user, it would be convenient to set it as the main map app instead of Apple Maps.

What do you want to see in iOS 16?

These were a handful of things we would like to see in the next version of iOS. What about you? Are there features or bugs that you want Apple to add and fix? To explore some of the leaks for iPhone’s next software, read our summary of rumors in iOS 16.

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