Apple recently wrapped up its WWDC event and has announced the latest update coming to all iPhones (iPhone 8 & above) named iOS 16 with its tagline being “Personal is powerful”. These new updates bring with them new features and customization options.
Redesigned Lock Screen
The biggest change to come out of this update is the lock screen which has received a complete overhaul and making it extremely customizable with new layouts, fonts, color, and Apple Watch-inspired widgets. The lock screen can now be fully personalized as per the user's desire with the ability to apply custom fonts and colors to the clock and date (You can now view the date and weather together) and even change the look and feel of the entire lock screen using pre-existing presets created as per the wallpaper set by swiping right. Apple has also added a depth type effect on photos taken on the iPhone using the portrait photos by making the clock appear behind the subject, but this is not limited to portrait photos taken from the iPhone, I was able to replicate it using high-quality photos downloaded from the web.
The customization doesn’t end here, Apple now also allows the user to add Apple Watch-style widgets on the lock screen like battery, activity rings, calendar events, etc. which are colored as per the style chosen for the date and time. In the customization gallery, Apple has added new wallpapers with millions of combinations, some being interactive while others being static, but the best thing according to me is the “Photo Shuffle” option that changes the wallpaper from your wallpaper gallery each to you wake your phone.
The new lock screen also brings with it a new way to show notifications. Now, the notifications come from the bottom of the screen making them easily accessible and less cluttered. Alongside this, Apple has also announced Live Activities to tackle spam notifications like match scores, Uber rides, etc. and the developers can now create a glanceable notification experience.
For Example: If you have booked an Uber ride instead of getting multiple notifications, each after every few minutes. Now, Uber can create a glanceable notification experience that gets continuously updated without sending multiple notifications.
Ever since, Apple introduced Focus modes in iOS 15, concentrating on my work has become much easier than before. And they have added the same on iOS 16 and now since multiple lock screens can be created, specific lock screens can be assigned to specific focus modes, and swiping to the relevant lock screen will activate the specific focus mode. In addition to this, iOS 16 also provides Focus Filters in apps like Safari, Calendar, Mail, and Messages. To make it more simple to understand, basically, if you are in your work focus these filters will allow the user to only see their work calendar or work-related tabs on Safari.
Focus Filters are not limited to first-party applications, Apple is providing developers with an API that they can use to add support and take advantage of these filters.
Apple finally allows users to edit iMessages after they have been sent as well as undo messages that they call “Undo Send”, both the options are available for 15 minutes after the message has been sent (Note: that this feature is only available to users on iOS 16 or above, so any person who does not have this version will only be able to see the original message). iOS 16 also allows the user to mark any conversation as unread so that it can be checked back at a later time.
Apple is also adding SharePlay support to the messages app. Instead of using FaceTime now a person can simply watch a synced movie or listen to a song with a friend and have universal controls with chat functionality from the messages application.
Live Text & Visual Lookup
Live Text was a big feature to come to the iPhone with iOS 15, allowing the user to interact with the text from images either directly from the camera app or saved photos. The feature also allowed the user to directly make calls, get directions, copy and paste text, etc. Apple has added more functionality with the ability to convert currency and translate text. Moreover, Apple with iOS 16 has now brought in this same functionality to videos, allowing the user to pause the video at any point and copy any on-screen text, I can see this feature being useful to coders.
iOS 15 brought visual lookup that showed more information about a photo like details about a landmark or similar web results and now with iOS 16, it supports statues, birds, and insects, but that's not all. iOS 16 also gives the user the ability to easily grab the subject from a photo by long pressing on it and paste it anywhere.
Apple Pay Later/Apple Wallet
Apple Pay Later is a new feature coming with iOS 16 that allows the user to purchase products and pay for them later with no interest and no fees. Apple will provide a six-week window for the user to pay back the company in four equal payments. Apple says that this feature will work anywhere Apple Pay is accepted. Speaking of Apple Pay with iOS 16, Apple Pay now works directly from iPhone to iPhone without the need for any third-party accessory.
Last year, Apple added the ability to store driver’s licenses in the wallet app, but it was restricted to Arizona and Maryland. Apple has promised to add 11 more states. Furthermore, they also said that these can be used wherever identification is required and only the necessary details will be shared to ensure privacy; sharing of car, home, office, and hotel keys can also be done now using various messaging apps including iMessage, WhatsApp, etc.
Family Photo Sharing
Sharing family photos on an iPhone has always been a cumbersome task, but that all changes with iOS 16. Apple now allows the user to add up to five people to a shared library where everyone can add family photos and edit them. But that’s not all, the user can choose which photos they want to share based on faces, location, etc. the camera app will also show a toggle that will automatically save the photo in the shared library.
Safari and Passkeys
After getting a redesign last year, this time around Apple has added some quality updates to Safari; namely tab group collaboration where multiple people can work together on a research task and all the tabs that people are viewing will be updated in real-time.
Passwords are the most annoying thing in anyone’s life and Apple seems to have the solution in the form of Passkeys. They are unique digital keys that are created using biometric authentication (Touch ID or Face ID). Thus, eliminating the need to generate a password. Apple claims that Passkeys would be immune to phishing and data breaches while being synced across all Apple devices and will work across apps and the web. But each individual website needs to roll out this technology independently due to which the company is working with the FIDO Alliance to make this a cross-platform solution for non-Apple users.
Using iPhones as Webcam
With the announcement of the latest macOS Ventura, Apple again utilizes the power of its ecosystem and allows the user to use their iPhones as a webcam for their Macs without needing to plug anything (Apple is working with Belkin to create an accessory to easily mount an iPhone). MacOS will automatically detect the rear camera and use it for video calls and will also be able to use Center Stage (the camera follows the user around as they move around).
But that is not the coolest thing. The best feature about this feature is what Apple calls “Desk View Mode” which uses the ultrawide camera to show the user's desk without making any adjustments using machine learning. I just hope that it works as advertised.
Alongside all this, Apple also added various other features to iOS 16 like:
Haptic Feedback on Keyboard: Apple has finally added haptic feedback on the iPhone’s keyboard. Thus, enhancing the typing experience.
Seamless Switching of FaceTime calls: With iOS 16 and any Mac running macOS Ventura, when someone is on a FaceTime call and they bring their iPhone near their Mac or iPad/vice-versa, the call will automatically get transferred to that device.
CarPlay: During WWDC 2022, Apple gave us a sneak peek of the next generation of Apple CarPlay (set to launch in late 2023) with a complete redesign that controls all the displays on an iPhone including a custom odometer, buttons to control every aspect of the car, and a unified interface.
Quick Notes: Quick Notes can now be accessed on the iPhone via the control center.
Mail: Apple Mail can now schedule emails, unsend emails for a short period of time, get attachment reminders, snooze emails, and get follow-up suggestions. Even the search function has been improved, making it easier to find old emails.
Redesigned Video Player UI: A modern-looking video player has been added to iOS 16 with all the important controls put in the center of the screen.