Sometimes I look at my two young children on my iPhone lock screen and think, “Wow, that’s nice…that I can match the color of the clock to the exact color of their eyebrows.”
When I say there are a million ways to customize the lock screen in iOS 16 – released Monday for models going back to iPhone 8 – I’m not exaggerating. There are eight different fonts for the time, hundreds of widgets and a rainbow of text color options.
In the 15-year history of the iPhone, there has never been a bigger design change on the screen that greets us all day, every day. And yet, if you don’t like the change, everything can stay exactly the same.
That’s really the theme of this year’s update. Whether it’s unsending a text message or setting medication reminders, Apple’s helpful new features could go unnoticed unless someone points them out.
That’s where I come in. But before we start, my annual advice for iOS hasn’t changed: walk, don’t run, to update. There is nothing wrong with waiting a few days to let the company fix any unexpected issues or bugs. When you’re ready, go to Settings > General > Software Update.
Done, now we are going to help you find those new tricks.
Long press on the lock screen and then tap on the “+” button at the bottom right. This allows you to change your existing lock screen to a new one. Yes, you can have a display that matches every outfit, but don’t.
There are three elements of the lock screen that you now have more control over:
-Wallpaper: Of course you can choose your favorite family photo, but you may not want to. Among the Astronomy options, “Earth” displays the globe based on your location, while “Moon” displays the phases of the Moon. Emoji options display characters in the patterns you choose. And then there’s my favorite: the weather background automatically changes based on conditions in your area, so you never have to look out a real window again.
-Time: you can change the font and color of the time. Hit the rainbow ball option and you’ll find more shades than in a Sherwin-Williams store. Tap the little eyedropper icon to match a color on your lock screen wallpaper.
–widgets: add different widgets to quickly see, for example, the outside temperature, the latest headlines or your next appointment. No need to swipe your finger across your phone.
For those who don’t aspire to be the Marc Jacobs of lock screens, Apple offers templates that you can easily tweak. In fact, modify your lock screen at any time by long pressing the screen and selecting “Customize”.
Well, I lied. There is a big change and there is no turning back. Notifications now appear at the bottom of your lock screen.
By default, notifications now appear in a “Stack” view that resembles a loose deck of cards. Swipe up on that stack and you’ll get the usual “List” view, so you can see all your alerts. If you swipe down, you’ll get the “Count” view, which shows you only the number of notifications you have, not their content. It’s a good way to quickly avoid pop-up distractions.
You may have heard a wise columnist declare that texting is the new email.
A new setting in the Messages app helps you remember the most important ones: In the inbox, touch and hold a thread and select Mark Unread, or swipe right and tap the bubble.
Sometimes you send something you didn’t want. You can withdraw a message, but only within two minutes of sending it. In Messages, long press a message you want to retrieve and tap “Undo Send”, this will remove the message from the thread, as long as the others are running iOS 16 and later. Recipients will see a note in chat that the message has been undone (emails can finally be undone in Apple’s Mail app).
Now, if you prefer to edit that message, long press and select “Edit”, and then make your changes. You have 15 minutes to edit the message. The recipient will be able to see that it has been edited and see what you have previously written.
Throughout different applications and the settings menu there are other hidden but useful tricks. Some of my favorites:
-Medication Reminders: In the Health app, go to Browse > Medications > Add Medications. Now you can take a picture of your pill bottle or enter the name of your prescriptions, then set reminders to take them. Apple says that if you’ve turned on two-factor authentication on your Apple ID, your Health app data is end-to-end encrypted in iCloud backups and can’t be read by the company.
-Battery percentage: In 2017, Apple did the unthinkable and removed the persistent battery percentage from the top right corner. You had to swipe down to see how much you had left. To show it again, go to Settings > Battery, then turn on Battery percentage.
-Photo Silhouettes: In the Photos app, tap and hold the main subject of a photo, until you see a glowing outline around it. Tap copy, and then go to any app that you can paste a photo into, like Messages. When you do this, you will get the subject of the photo minus its background.
There are also other things. In Contacts, it’s even easier to merge duplicate entries. In Maps, you can add multiple stops to your route. For those with hearing loss, the new Live Captions feature lets you transcribe conversations or FaceTime calls from speech to text. It works quite well, although it can have problems in louder environments.
As usual, some of the features Apple announced in June aren’t ready yet and will appear in a future update, or will be added as app developers adopt them.
The shared photo library, which will arrive later this year according to Apple, will allow you to automatically share certain photos with friends or family, without having to send them messages or create new albums.
The Passkey tool, which could change the rules of the game, replaces passwords. The problem? Although the support is built into the operating systems, few apps or websites have added it so far.
And then there are the things that Apple hasn’t fixed. The wallet interface is still a bottomless pit of digital cards, texting with Android friends is still a pain (green bubbles!), collaborating on a Notes document is still a pain, and Siri still can’t set multiple timers. .