We are close to 13 weeks away from the launch of the iPhone 14, if Apple sticks to its usual plan. But every June, Apple announces an upgrade to the iOS software that powers the iPhone. While features will be announced later that are exclusive to this year’s new iPhone, there’s an awful lot that will be added as a free upgrade to current iPhones.

Here are the top new features announced so far, along with which iPhones they’ll work with (hint: if your iPhone is actually an iPhone SE, iPhone 7 or higher, you’re out of luck).

When will the new software come?

It is available to developers now, when they register their test devices. Next month, as usual, iOS 16 will go to public beta, so anyone with a compatible iPhone can try it. Apple has pointed out (and, oh boy, I really agree) that it’s stupid to put this public beta on a device that’s so important because it’s going to have a lot of bugs and some apps won’t work until then app developers update their creations. If you want to jump on the public beta (or, indeed, turn it off if you find it’s not for you) check out the expert guide from contributor Anthony Karcz that will explain when the public beta is running.

After that, the general release will follow in the fall, usually around the second week of September.

Which iPhones will use iOS 16?

The last three versions of iOS, iOS 13, iOS 14 and iOS 15, surprisingly, worked on all iPhones the same. Not a single phone was left behind for three years. So, it is perhaps not surprising that there is a change coming this year and some users will be disappointed this time. Three iPhones will lose support when iOS 16 rolls out: iPhone SE 1St generation, which was released in March 2016, and iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, which went on sale in September 2016. Of course, these phones will continue to work as they do today, only they will not have iOS 16 updates are not.

So, the products that will suddenly be better from this fall with the new additions, are the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X from the fall of 2017 and every single iPhone released since then. This means that when iOS 17 goes live in late 2023, some phones will have full support for six years, which is unprecedented in the world of Android phones.

Here are the main features.

1. All new lock screen

This is a mind-blowing, head-turning development. Of course, your lock screen may have your favorite picture right now. But the other things (time and date, flashlight and camera) are the only other things you can show. With iOS 16, you can customize the time font (although, dear Apple, I like the analog clock option here) and other information you can display, such as upcoming appointments, alarms, weather and battery level. This last one is a real bonus seeing as how the iPhone display only has a picture of the battery, not a single part.

You can also, and this is very good, choose a favorite photo and let the software cut around the subject to lift it from the background for a soft effect. Even better, and this isn’t really explained in the key, it doesn’t even need to be a photo for this effect.

You can have many lock screens to choose from, as many watch faces are possible for the Apple Watch.

2. Passport

This is very interesting. You know how you get to a website and can’t remember which password (or password variation) you used? I mean, it’s normal for me. Undoubtedly, if iCloud Keychain saves it then this is not a big deal, except that websites are hackable and therefore passwords may not be as private as they should be.

Passkeys are part of Safari and are special digital keys that reside on the device, not on the web server, so you can’t be tricked by a hacker or stolen in a data breach. You use Touch ID or Face ID instead of entering a password and yes, you can use the password keys even if you are accessing the website on a PC or Android phone. You use a QR code and your iPhone instead. I literally can’t wait for this.

3. Direct text development

It’s also very good, Live Text is already available on iPhones with a sufficiently recent device, and it can translate the text that it spots through the camera’s view. With iOS 16, I will allow you to pause the video and interact with the text there. It can also change currency rates and more.

There is also a series of updates to the Visual Effects so that, by clicking on a subject in the picture (it needs to be a very relevant one), he can lift it from the background to put it in Messages. And now she will recognize robots, birds and insects, which she could not before.

4. Apple Pay Later

This will be US-only when it arrives but it allows you to buy something through Apple Pay and split the cost over four equal payments over six weeks. There is a $50 minimum for these purchases and they will work through Apple Wallet. It will come with order tracking so you can get detailed receipts and order tracking information from participating vendors.

5. Apple Maps improved

Add more stops on your routes with Maps in iOS 16—up to 15 stops. Which should be enough, right, I mean, what are you a bus driver? The pass information will also show the cost of the trip.

6. Dictation

Big improvements to the dictionary are coming so you can easily switch from speaking to typing on the go. Automatic bookmarking is also promised. If Apple would add text to Voice Memos, that would be even better.

7. Other features

The truth is, I could have made this post the Best Updates 10, or the Best 15. But to make it easier, here are some of the cool new things, collected in one place.

Personal space audio it means that by using the next True Depth camera on the iPhones Face ID, you can create a secret profile for Spatial Audio so the music is better.

Update access it will help those with low vision to navigate by showing Door Detection and other aids.

Fitness app on iPhone rather than just on the Watch adds to the importance of compatibility with the health of the iPhone.


More to come, so please check back.



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