On the eve of the start of sales of the new iPhone 14, Apple managed to deliver to users a new version of the operating system — iOS 16. Users who do not test their fate with beta versions of systems on their main devices yesterday could see for themselves for the first time what changes the manufacturer made to the experience of using a smartphone.
We briefly highlighted several main points that firstly attracted attention. Some innovations have been on competing Android devices for a long time, and some features were available through third-party apps. But all this now affects the use of the device and makes the user experience better.
The first and most noticeable change occurred with the lock screen, which until then did not leave any customizations to the user. But now the smartphone owner can make some changes. This upgrade has a rather fundamental effect on working with the device because it is from the lock screen that most of the actions on it begin. And in general, every new day of many modern people begins with a smartphone, on which the user is first greeted by the lock screen.
And here Apple has prepared quite many options for the user. Now you can choose font options and change its color. And if there are only eight fonts, then the color range is simply limitless.
What was missing from the lock screen was widgets. Currently, there are not so many of them, but they are there. Third-party developers will probably add convenient options over time. And there are widgets not only under the clock, but also above it. Of course, there is less space, but it is really convenient to display the time of the set alarm clock or reminder of some events in a short line.
In addition, the lock screen allows you to create several options that can be used in different conditions. It can be useful for work and free time, weekdays or weekends, sports, other leisure and different situations. And although over time such a variety may become too much for someone, for other users such a habit may be very suitable for different life patterns.
And to make sure that was enough, Apple has prepared a selection of different wallpaper options. They can be interactive. What’s more, you can create options from your photos in which such screensavers will also be part of the entire space — the clock can hide a little behind parts of the image. Or, these wallpapers can automatically change from user-selected options.
That’s a lot of changes for one update. They also significantly add a feeling of “novelty” to the device. Pretty nice feature.
Notifications were another addition to the lock screen. First, they moved from the central position closer to the bottom of the screen. You have to adjust to this, but the change is not bad. When supporting the smartphone with the palm from below, the position of the thumb just hits the notification. I have a feeling that after “calibrating” the habit, users will find this option more convenient.
There are also options for these notifications in the settings. The above option is the default. But notifications can also be completely removed. Only a thin line near the flashlight and camera switches will show the number of new notifications from different applications. Tap on it to show them. This option will allow you to keep the minimalistic look of the lock screen and even once again save the user’s privacy from a watchful stranger’s eye.
And if new such changes do not suit you, you can return the usual option of displaying notifications under the clock and not cause unnecessary stress to your habits. Although it is still worth giving a chance to the new standard placement of notifications.
Since the release of the Apple Watch, this “smart” watch with its activity measurement “rings” has encouraged the user to move and stay fit. The iPhone started tracking the number of steps and counting the distance traveled and calories burned even earlier. “So why wouldn’t it motivate the user to “close” the same “rings”?” Apple asked themselves, after which they added the function to iOS 16.
However, the application currently shows less information, and only burned calories are set as goals. The widget will also show such a “ring”. But it seems that this is already a good extra motivator to add a little movement to your day. It will be cool if such an idea really promotes user activity.
And another function that will help users monitor their health is a reminder to take medicines and vitamins. The Health app now has a separate item for this. You can enter all the necessary variables there (name, form, dosage, etc.), and specify the desired term and time of taking the medicine. After that, the smartphone will remind about medications. There used to be solutions for this (you could even use a standard reminder application), but now a specialized solution is integrated into the system.
As for the function of tracking the compatibility of drugs and automatic introduction through the camera application, this requires regional support. My smartphone camera doesn’t add the medications I have to the Health app, and their names, of course, are different from their American counterparts. So for now we’ll just have to make do with the reminders and hope that regional support comes in the future.
A rather personal item for each person, but probably many will like it (especially those who have used an Android smartphone before). Until now, the iPhone keyboard was able to respond to touches only with sound. Android smartphones can add vibration to it. Now so can the iPhone.
In the vibration settings, you can find the item “Keyboard feedback”, after which the Haptic Engine will give a small jolt while typing. This is the keyboard response that I personally lacked in the iPhone.
Other little details
Of course, these are not all the possibilities of iOS 16. As always, among other things, there are a large number of small improvements, most of which were not even announced at the presentations, were not mentioned on the company’s page about the OS, and are written only in the full list of all innovations. But this time there is also such an update, which even requires the purchase of another gadget. Along with laptops running macOS Ventura (which should be out in about a month), the iPhone can now be used instead of a webcam. All you need to do is connect the MagSafe mount and fasten the smartphone near the webcam.
Face ID with iOS 16 can recognize the user from the horizontal position of the smartphone. Sometimes there are situations when the gadget was accidentally locked while, for example, watching a video. Now you don’t have to turn it again to unlock it. (We also checked that if you turn the smartphone upside down, Face ID does not work. Maybe with iOS 17…)
A small but useful tweak for users who want to monitor the exact remaining battery charge: the ability to see charge in percentage has been returned to the indicator. This is the first switch in the battery settings that will return the percentage indicator to the desktop (for the first time since the release of the iPhone X).
An interesting feature, which is unlikely to be needed often by most users, has appeared in the gallery application. The iPhone can “distinguish” the main object in the photo (person, animal, car, etc.), and cut it out for later, for example, sending to a friend. This happens very quickly, but, as always, not very accurately. The cat’s whiskers can remain part of the background, the hair can also be “cut” as if with a stationery knife from a physical photo card. Therefore, there is no need to place high hopes on this function, but sometimes it may be necessary and it is worth remembering about it. And it works very easily: you only need to hold your finger on the object of the photo and drag it further into the desired application.
A convenient feature is displaying the connected branded headphones as a separate item in “Settings”. It appears when the headphones are connected to the smartphone. Previously, access to changing the headset parameters was through the Bluetooth item, but now this path has been accelerated.
And music that was previously recognized through Control Center or by request from Siri is finally synchronized with the list in Shazam.
Also, iOS 16 now allows you to look at the list of all known Wi-Fi networks and delete old ones. The lack of such a possibility caused certain inconveniences because the same network names (for example, standardly named home routers) can be found somewhere in the city, which immediately provoked the appearance of a window for entering a password. And, by the way, the LAN password can now also be viewed in the settings.
Not a very relevant update for Ukraine, but quite important for users in the USA — iMessage now has the function of quick editing and canceling of sending messages. What almost all major messengers have been able to do for a long time, iMessage can now do. But for the function to work correctly, the interlocutor must also have an iPhone with iOS 16.
The standard mail client has finally added the ability to set the time of sending the letter or quickly (the delay can be set up to 30 seconds) cancel the sending if something needs to be added or corrected/changed.
CarPlay remains the same for now (with a couple of new wallpapers). But as soon as next year in some cars (which are also not yet named), it should significantly increase its capabilities, displaying information not only on the media display but also on the virtual instrument panel. This is a big update for this feature that will be interesting to see.
We were able to test iOS 16 on almost the weakest smartphone to receive iOS 16, the iPhone 8 Plus, as well as on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Of course, a day is not enough to draw conclusions, but at first glance, the system works a little faster than the previous one (probably, the animations have been sped up). There were no critical defects in the work, and the battery life was also not affected. On the other hand, the iPhone 8 Plus works noticeably slower than the “fresher” model. However, compared to iOS 15, the new version of the operating system still seems more proficient on it. There have been no high-profile cases with massive problems due to the update so far, so there is probably no point in delaying the update for a long time.
If you have also already installed iOS 16, share with us your impressions of the update in the comments.