Although iOS 16 is packed with exciting new features, not everything Apple announced at WWDC will be available on your iPhone when iOS 16.0 arrives on Monday. Some, of course, just don’t work on older iPhones. But others just aren’t meant to be part of the initial release coming Monday, September 12. Instead, you’ll see them later this year in iOS 16.1, 16.2, or maybe even a later update. Here are the iOS 16 features we know you’ll have to wait a little longer to get.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
One of the most anticipated features of iOS 16 is the ability to have a single shared photo library in iCloud. You were able to share scrapbook for a long time, but having a single shared library between family members that photos and videos go to automatically is something many have wanted for a long time.
We thought it was for some inclusion in the initial release of iOS 16, but it was cut at the last minute, disappearing from the release candidate after being included in previous betas. Apple hasn’t mentioned when the feature will return, but the iOS 16 website now says “Coming later this year”, so we’re guessing iOS 16.1 in October is a safe bet.
When iOS 16 was unveiled at WWDC in June, the live activities were a real highlight. You can think of them as persistent and dynamically updated notifications by their associated apps. After a sports game? Why get a whole stack of notifications every time the score changes, when you could have a single notification showing a live, continuously updated score? The same goes for food or package deliveries, ride-sharing apps, fitness activities, and more.
The Live Activities API was supposed to be in the initial release of iOS 16, but a post on the developer site announcing the API for developers confirmed that “Live Activities and ActivityKit will not be included in the initial public release of iOS 16.” Instead, the feature will be available “later this year,” which sounds like iOS 16.1 to us. Either way, it gives developers more time to submit their apps with live activities to the app store.
Matter is a long overdue new smart home cross-compatibility standard. Simply put, a Matter-certified device will work with Apple Home, Alexa, and Google Home (among others). iOS 16’s Home app gets a big update, including a welcome new interface, plenty of performance and reliability updates under the hood, and support for Matter.
The new app is still available, but Matter support won’t arrive until later this year. Still, Apple is an early adopter here: the first devices to ship with Matter support and the first software updates to make older devices Matter-compatible are also coming later this fall.
Satellite Emergency SOS
One of the coolest new features of the iPhone 14 (standard and Pro) is its ability to send short emergency texts via satellites if you’re out of range of Wi-Fi or cell towers. It’s slow (even short messages can take anywhere from 20 seconds to over a minute to send), but it can literally save your life in an extreme emergency outdoors.
However, it won’t be there when the iPhone 14 lineup goes on sale. Apple’s support document explains that the feature “will be available with an iOS 16 software update coming in November 2022.”
Game Center Features
Game Center has SharePlay support, which will let you start playing a game immediately during a FaceTime call, and it will integrate with contacts so you can see all of your contacts’ Game Center profiles ( if they allow it) quickly and easily in the Contacts application. It’s unclear how late these features are, but they will arrive in an iOS 16 update later this fall.
Apple announced a new whiteboard and collaboration app called Freeform as part of its iPadOS 16 demo at WWDC, but the app is truly cross-platform. You can download it for iPad, Mac or iPhone and collaborate freely with your colleagues via the cloud wherever you are. It’s basically a large flexible canvas that lets you drop almost anything on it – PDFs, notes, images, audio, web links, etc. – seeing them all in preview. Then you can add notes or draw anywhere with Apple Pencil support, and see where others are working with live cursors.
Freeform was a “coming later this year” thing from the very beginning, but when Apple decided to skip the iPadOS 16 release, making the first initial release of iPadOS 16.1, it really put it on hold. At this point, we can’t know exactly when Freeform will be released, but it will definitely be some time after iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura, and possibly even 2023.
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