- iOS 16 adds some amazing lock screen customization features.
- It also promises to do away with passwords forever.
- Not all the new iOS 16 features are available at launch.
iOS 16 is out for the iPhone, and if you haven't upgraded yet, you should do it right away.
Aside from important security fixes, iOS 16 brings a slew of great new features, some that will make your iPhone look nicer and others that will make it way easier to use. However, not everything is available just yet. Thanks to Apple’s staggered release schedule, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura won’t arrive until next month. This means one of this year’s best new features has been delayed at least until then. But as we’re about to see, there’s plenty more where that came from.
“The feature most will enjoy is customizable Lock screens and Lock screen widgets, especially if they upgrade to an iPhone 14 Pro, which features an Always-On display that takes the most advantage of these features,” Josh Centers, author of the book Take Control of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, told Lifewire via email. “However, the single best feature is passkeys, which obviate the need for passwords, and will make app and website logins much easier and more secure.”
Custom Lock Screens
This is the most obvious new feature in iOS 16 because it lets you customize the clock text on your lock screen and add widgets that can launch apps and/or give ambient information. And for those buying a new iPhone 14 Pro this year, these widgets work great with that model’s always-on display, letting you glance at the screen anytime.
The feature most will enjoy is customizable Lock screens and Lock screen widgets, especially if they upgrade to an iPhone 14 Pro…
Apple has built an entirely new app to customize the lock screen, and you access it by pressing and holding on the lock screen—just like on the Apple Watch. You can also set multiple lock screens with their own widgets and wallpaper, and either flip between them manually or automatically, based on time, location, and more.
Passkeys might not seem like the most exciting feature of iOS 16, but it’s definitely the most important. Essentially, it lets you forget about passwords. Instead, you authenticate yourself just by using your phone. The system relies on time-proven public-key cryptography, and if the website gets hacked, it doesn’t matter. The hacker can’t gain anything.
To log in, you just need to have one of your devices available. Simple.
Email and Messages
Both the iPhone's messaging apps get some great new features. Mail can now schedule emails to send later, at a time of your choice, and can also undo sent emails if you catch them quickly. You can also tell the Mail app to remind you about an email in the future, turning it into a lightweight task manager app.
Messages also gets an undo send, as well as the ability to edit messages after delivery. You can view the edit history, so people can't use the feature to gaslight you. Messages still isn't close to rivals like WhatsApp and Telegram in terms of features, especially for group chats, but it's slowly improving.
Dog Extraction Mode
This one is wild, and you will love it. Tap, hold, and drag on a photograph of a person, animal, flower, or object in the Photos app, and your iPhone will magically extract the subject, removing them from the background as you drag.
Then, just drag it to any waiting document or app to use it. The algorithms do an amazingly good job of clean extraction. And it doesn't just work in the Photos app, either. Tap and hold an image in Safari, for example, and one of the pop-up menu options is Copy Subject, which does the same thing and copies it to your clipboard, ready for pasting.
But Wait, There’s More
As mentioned above, we’ll still have to wait to get some of iOS 16’s best features. iCloud Shared Photo Library, for example, lets you create a new photo album to share with family and looks to be the real hit of iOS 16.
“Though some of the features are delayed (like the shared photo library), I am not disappointed too much because I would rather prefer stability to earlier availability,” Serhii Popov, Software Engineer at MacPaw’s Setapp, told Lifewire via email.
Another postponed feature is Live Activities, which are lock screen widgets that update in real-time to show delivery progress, sports scores, and more. The likely explanation for the delay is that the tools required to build Live Activities haven't yet been made available to developers.
But really, the only thing we probably care about is the new lock screen customization because it's awesome and fun. After that, anything else is just a bonus.