The iOS 16 Experience

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is always a joy, mostly because it gives us lots of stuff to play with on our devices. This year, they announced an iOS update that will forever change the world and how we use phones. The ‘Lock Screen Update’. Yes, that’s right, they announced the Lock Screen update. It gives the lock screen customisation options including font and colour customisation, as well as the ability to add widgets and use custom backgrounds. There are a bunch of other things as well, including editing and deleting messages in iMessage (finally!), focus mode integration with apps and passkey things. Also, AI stuff, dictation but useful, new Apple Pay features, home app redesign, and new health and fitness features like medication tracking. I am fortunate enough to have access to the developer beta, so I’ll be showing you some new features and how they work.

Lock Screen Customisation

The feature that got everyone excited was the ability to customise the lock screen; similar to some Android distros. I have to tell you, once you try the new customisation, you’ll start questioning why we didn’t get this sooner.

Creating New Lock Screens

Creating a new lock screen is pretty easy, with a good-looking menu and many options. On your lock screen, you can hold down the screen, just as you would do with an Apple Watch to change the face. It greets you with a menu with many recommendations as well as the different types of wallpapers you can make. You can choose to make a lock screen with certain people, photos (shuffled or just one), emojis, weather, astronomy or just colours.

The ones I like the most are the emoji, astronomy and the weather wallpapers because they are animated, and can look great if you customise them right.

Widgets

I think the main part of the customisation is the widgets. Currently, you can only use Apple widgets like weather but just like home screen widgets in iOS 14, developers will adapt with the API and make their own ones. When pressing the customisation button, you can click on the third box from the top and add widgets. There are two sizes. The box fits 4 small widgets, less if you have an object using the depth effect over the box. There might be options for more widgets in the future. The best widgets according to me are the weather, calendar, battery, and fitness (if you have an Apple Watch). You can also replace the date with something else above the time, but I don’t see the point in that.

Redesigned Notifications

Once again, Apple has decided to redo their notifications. I’m not certain how I feel about this type of design. It is really useful, being able to hide your notifications and having them on the bottom and then being able to expand them because it stops the clutter. Even with focus, all my notifications would pile up in iOS 15 (Not Discord. I promise. Not really. They were 100% Discord). That being said, the new style just feels weird. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s just me.

Live Activities and Focus Mode

One of the coolest features is live activities. Say you order some food on Uber Eats but don’t want to open your phone every time you want to see how close the driver is. Once you order, your lock screen will show a card at the bottom showing a progress bar with a car. The same works if you would like to see the score on a sports game without streaming it. The lock screen will show a scoreboard. This feature isn’t actually in beta because the devs haven’t actually coded it, but all developers can make live activities with the API, and they will be available with the final release of iOS 16. You can also set different lock screens to turn on with different focus modes, just like home screens.

More Focus Mode (Yay?)

One more thing about focus mode: you can now filter out content INSIDE apps like mail and messages. I assume other apps will implement this as well, especially apps like Microsoft Outlook, Snapchat, Twitter and maybe even Discord?

Messages

APPLE FINALLY ADDED THE ABILITY TO DELETE AND EDIT MESSAGES IN IMESSAGE! We’ve been waiting for this for so long, and now they have given it to us. It’s pretty straightforward: you hold down on a message and choose to edit it or delete it. If you edit it, you just delete or add what you want and press the tick. Of course, it only works on people with iOS 16 and above and only with iMessage (sorry Androiders). You can also SharePlay via messages, which is cool if you don’t like FaceTime. You can also do some collaboration stuff, but not sure about that.

Mail

Now we are getting into the minor stuff, so I won’t go into too much detail. Mail got an update that makes it a bit better. You can undo sending an email (see a trend?), schedule an email to send later, set a follow-up email and add rich links. I’m not sure about any of this because I don’t actually use the mail app. I use Spark.

Passkeys

I think Apple’s goal is to change how we do things normally. It started with eliminating wallets with Apple Pay and now replacing passwords with passkeys. I think this actually good because it makes things safer and more convenient. Passkeys are basically a replacement for passwords. It uses Touch ID or Face ID to securely sign in to websites. All the data is stored on the device securely, so your account can’t be compromised without you. I tried making a second account for Medium, but it didn’t activate the pop-up, so I’m uncertain if it actually is in the beta.

Extremely Minor Things

Ok, last few things. There are some cool features that use AI, like a Photoshop cutout feature and live text in videos. You can now use dictation and type at the same time, which is cool. It also does punctuation and emojis for you. You can add multiple stops in maps, track orders and share keys with wallet, the home app gets a redesign and now works with more items, you can track medications in the health app and the fitness app is available for everyone, even if you don’t have an Apple Watch. Also, a massive CarPlay update is coming soon, but that’s late next year. There are even more minor changes, but I refuse to spend another hour writing about that.

Conclusion

I think the main points of the update are the lock screen updates, messages features and passkeys. More things will be revealed soon and this is just my experience from the first 2 days. I probably missed stuff, but I’ll cover that in the future. Thanks for reading all the way!

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