iOS 16, the next version of Apple’s iPhone software, is available for download today (September 12). And if you’ve been following since Apple first showed off the update at its developer conference in June through the public beta that followed, you’ll know exactly what to expect.
But what if you don’t? No worries — we’ve got a look at the top iOS 16 features and how to use them, plus profiles of the biggest changes coming to your iPhone. Our iOS 16 public beta also gives you a taste of how iOS 16 will perform on your iPhone.
If you want to brush up on iOS 16 before today’s launch, read on for links to all of our coverage. And stay tuned for updates throughout the day on how to download iOS 16 on your mobile device.
iOS 16 release: when is it coming?
All Apple has said is to expect iOS 16 to be released sometime today, an announcement that came in the middle of last week’s September event, where the iPhone 14 has debuted. Three iPhone 14 models, which ship with iOS 16, hit stores on Friday, September 16. Apple is therefore eager to release iOS 16 to existing iPhones before this release.
There’s no set time for an iOS release, but if the past is any indication, we expect the iOS 16 update to be available around 1pm ET / 10am PT / 6pm BST, more or less an hour. This is when we’ve seen major software updates from Apple in the past, although the company can always surprise us with a different time.
When the iOS 16 version is available, just tap on the Settings app and go to General. Select Software Update and iOS 16 should be waiting there for the download.
iOS 16 compatibility: which iPhone do you need?
If you’re familiar with the iOS 16 public beta, nothing changes with the full iOS 16 release. But as a reminder, you’ll need an iPhone 8 or later, so that’s no matter. which handset released since fall 2017. means not all iPhone 6s or iPhone 7 models capable of running iOS 15 can be updated to the new version; the original iPhone SE is also left out of the mix, although the 2020 and 2022 versions can be updated without issue.
Note that some iOS 16 features require an iPhone with an A11 Bionic chip or later to support certain features such as Live Text and Visual Look Up. (That’s unchanged from iOS 15.) If you have an iPhone XR or later, you’ll be fine.
iOS 16: main features
So you have iOS 16 installed. Which features should you try first? Here’s a rundown from our profiles of all the major software update changes based on our time with the iOS 16 public beta.
iOS 16 Lock Screen: The iOS 16 lock screen changes are probably the biggest with this software update, as you can now customize your iPhone lock screen with different fonts and colors. An even bigger change is the ability to place widgets on the lock screen, which will come in especially handy if you have an iPhone 14 Pro, thanks to that device’s new always-on display.
Here’s how to customize your iPhone lock screen in iOS 16.
iOS 16 Messages: Messages adds the ability to mark texts as unread, which can be useful if you want to revisit them later when you have more time. You can also launch SharePlay through Messages, which lets you collaborate with other users in apps like Files, Keynote, and Notes.
But the biggest change in iOS 16 Messages involves new editing tools. Specifically, you will be able to edit text messages after sending them and unsend text messages if you replied to the wrong text message. The edit and unsend features are only available for a limited window after your text has been sent.
iOS 16 Mail: Messages aren’t the only apps with the ability to take back what you’ve sent by mistake; iOS 16 Mail now also has this feature. In addition to the ability to unsend emails in iOS 16 Mail, you can also schedule an email to be sent later, depending on Gmail’s capabilities.
iOS 16 Safari: Building on the Tab Groups feature introduced with iOS 15 last year, iOS 16 Safari adds collaboration tools by letting you share tab groups with others.
The other big change in iOS 16 is Access Keys, a replacement for passwords that will require adopting third-party apps and websites. But we talked to Apple about how passkeys improve the password experience.
iOS 16 Maps: More detailed city maps are coming to more places in iOS 16 Maps, and you’ll also be able to find the cost of rides when plotting routes using the navigation software’s transit option. Even better, the new cards allow you to top up the balance of any transit cards you have stored in the Wallet app.
But the biggest addition to Maps is the ability to draw hop-on hop-off routes as you drive. In fact, you can add up to 15 stops on a trip.
iOS 16 News: The big addition to the News app is a feature called My Sports, which lets you select favorite teams across a variety of sports. This creates a special section in News that features these teams, featuring scores, articles and video clips.
iOS 16 form: You no longer need an Apple Watch to monitor your movements. iOS 16 adds a standalone Fitness app that tracks your steps, distance traveled, and calories burned. It may be a simplified version of a similar app available to Apple Watch owners, but Fitness on iPhone can get you up and moving every day.
iOS 16 tune-up: Another feature introduced in iOS 15 is slightly changed in iOS 16 as Apple streamlines the Focus setup process. New filters let you fine-tune what’s allowed and what’s blocked when you’ve set a Focus mode, and while these filters are limited to Apple’s built-in apps at launch, Apple has released a tool to allow developers add filters to their applications.
Pictures iOS 16: Editing and organization tools grab attention in iOS 16 Photos as Apple adds the ability to copy and paste edits to photos and videos, saving you time when you want to make identical edits to a batch of photos at a time. Undo and Redo controls let you reverse and redo image edits, while Hidden and Recently Deleted Folders now use Face ID unlock for an extra level of security. A new Duplicates folder makes it easier to extract identical folders from your library.
iOS 16 Live Text and Visual Search: Apple added Live Text and Visual Look Up to iOS 15, tapping into the neural engine of its recent processors to let you copy text from photos and find information about things you’ve photographed. iOS 16 expands on these capabilities by letting you copy text into videos just as you can into photos — action buttons linked to that identified text let you jump straight to phone calls and web pages or search for sites Web in Safari.
Visual Look Up adds a much neater tool – tap on the subject of a photo and you can copy that subject, paste it into other apps like Notes, Messages and more. Visual Look Up can now also identify birds, insects and statues.
These are just the major changes in iOS 16, which also introduces new Memoji options as well as the ability to track medications in the Health app. iOS 16 Siri also adds several new features. Discover the best hidden features of iOS 16 that you may have overlooked.
What features will not be available in iOS 16 when it launches?
In June, Apple previewed a new iCloud Shared Photo Library, designed to make it easier to share photos with family members. With iCloud Shared Photo Libraries, you can include five other people, all of whom can add their own photos and make changes to photos in the album.
Throughout the iOS 16 beta process, we expected iCloud Shared Photo Library to debut alongside the rest of the new iOS 16 features. But last week, The Verge (opens in a new tab) reported that iCloud Shared Photo Library will not appear with the rest of iOS 16 today. Indeed, a check of Apple’s iOS 16 features (opens in a new tab) The page now lists iCloud Shared Photo Library as coming “later this year.”
We already knew that Live Activities were not going to be ready with the rest of iOS 16. This is a new type of notification that alerts you to current information – the score of a ballgame , for example, or the status of a ride- leaves to pick you up. Live Activities is largely dependent on third parties using Apple’s developer tools to create new widgets, and these won’t appear until after the debut of iOS 16. Apple offers a preview of how Live Activities works live with its Timer widget, which offers a live countdown on the lock screen.
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