Apple unveils iOS 16 — New lock screen, notifications, and Messages features

Apple officially revealed its next major smartphone software update for the iPhone — iOS 16 — during the opening keynote of the Worldwide Developers Conference 2022.

Apple vice president for software engineering Craig Federighi and his team announced a raft of updates for the operating system.

That includes a revamped lock screen with greater customisation, support for widgets, a new feature called Live Activities, and integration with Focus Mode.

Users will be able to personalise the iPhone lock screen using a wide range of colours and fonts.

They will also be able to add and move widgets for various apps to where they want on the lock screen.

Notifications on the lock screen on iOS 16 will be less intrusive, Federighi explained.

Instead of showing them all over the display, notifications will roll in from the bottom of the screen and users can choose to hide them for the day.

That will allow for a less-obscured view of the user’s lock screen wallpaper.

A new feature called Live Activities will make it easier to see things happening in real-time on the lock screen, such as a live sports score or your workout status.

Aside from these changes, there are also minor improvements, such as the playback controls for the music player that can be expanded into a full-screen window.

Focus Mode will also be integrated with the Lock Screen, allowing users to tie a wallpaper or certain widgets to a specific Focus.

The iOS Messages app is also getting three significant new features, bringing it closer to how social networking apps function.

These include the ability to edit and recall sent messages on both sides of a conversation.

There will also be a new option to mark a read message as unread.

Messages will also get SharePlay support, enabling users to share links to watch movies or listen to music on streaming services together.

A new on-device dictation feature will allow users to fluidly move between using voice and touch while creating text messages.

This feature will also be supported while using Apple’s voice assistant Siri.

Apple has also improved its Live Text and Visual Lookup recognition software.

The former will now let users see a direct translation of text into the language of their choice by pausing a frame in a video.

On iOS 16, Visual Lookup will allow users to select and lift particular objects from an image and paste it into another app.

New Family Sharing features will make it easier for parents to control what younger children can watch or access, and manage screen time.

iCloud Shared Photo Library allows users to share photos within a collection with synced deletion and editing.

The feature will be supported directly within the Camera app, letting users instantly add images after taking them.

As previously rumoured, Apple will be adding Tap to Pay support for merchants to accept payments on iPhones in the US.

Apple Pay Later will allow users to split payments for purchases into four interest-free payments, anywhere where Apple Pay is available.

Apple also provided a brief sneak peek of an updated version of its CarPlay platform, which will feature much deeper integration with vehicles’ instrument clusters.

This will allow users to see their speedometer reading, rev gauge, fuel gauge, and any information normally presented by the car’s onboard computer within CarPlay.

CarPlay will support multi-display setups to create a unified and consistent experience across the vehicle’s infotainment system.

Users will be able to control settings like the air conditioning or radio via CarPlay while also customising the appearance of icons and settings.

Apple said multiple manufacturers have already shown interest in adding the updated platform to their cars, with the first ones to feature the new integration to be announced in late 2023.

Release date and other features

The first developer version of iOS 16 will be available immediately at, with a public beta launching for general iOS users in July 2022 at

Apple also announced several other features for iOS and iOS-related applications, including:

  • The ability to share digital keys in your Apple Wallet with friends via Messages.
  • Users in the US will be able to use their digital ID in the Wallet for apps requiring identity and age verification.
  • Apple’s new, more detailed maps in the Maps app are coming to 11 more counties. South Africa was not included in this list.
  • Apple News will offer a My Sports section for top professional and college sports in four countries, excluding South Africa.
  • New transit features for Apple Maps in the US and where updated maps are available.
  • New Matter standard for connecting smart home devices easily and securely.
  • New Home app for controlling smart home devices and viewing up to four cameras at a time.
  • New WatchOS features and workout modes.
  • A Safety Check section in Settings gives users an easier way to revoke access to sensitive information such as their location, app settings, or account details with other users, such as a former partner.

iOS 16 will launch as a free software update for iPhone 8 and later “this Fall”. The North American Fall season is traditionally between the first Monday in September and the winter solstice, this year from 5 September to 21 December.

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Apple unveils iOS 16 — New lock screen, notifications, and Messages features