The 8 Best New Features of iOS 16 for Your iPhone

With Apple’s fall keynote scheduled for September 7th, the launch of iOS 16 is just around the corner. The developer beta has been available since shortly after WWDC in June & the public beta has been available since about a month later in July, so I’ve had plenty of time to play around with iOS 16’s new features. This star of this update has to be the lock screen, but there are other exciting features peppered throughout.

1. Lock Screen Switching

For the first time ever you can create & save multiple lock screen options on your iPhone. You can then manually switch between them easily, similar to switching between Faces on an Apple Watch, or you can pair a lock screen with a Focus. With the ability to set a geofence trigger for your Focus, you can automatically have your iPhone & Apple Watch aesthetic automatically change when you arrive at work, home, or school in order to best fit that location. Want your iPhone wallpaper to be something professional during the week & wild party pics on the weekend? You can do that.

2. Photo Shuffle on the Lock Screen

Can’t choose which photo to set as your wallpaper? Now you don’t have to! Just choose the photo shuffle option when setting up your lock screen & you can select multiple photos which it will rotate between. You can set the shuffle frequency to daily, hourly, on wake, or on tap from the menu at the bottom right of the lock screen setup page.

photo credit: Apple

3. Lock Screen Widgets

You’re probably familiar with widgets from the home screen but iOS 16 brings widgets to the lock screen. No longer do you have to unlock your phone just to check the weather or find our what’s next on your calendar. I think this will have the largest impact on those without an Apple Watch, but even as an Apple Watch wearer I’ve really enjoyed the convenience of this feature.

4. Weather on the Lock Screen

You really have to experience this one to understand it, but you can now set the animated backgrounds from the weather app as the wallpaper on your lock screen. I especially love how the wallpaper changes with the lighting during sunset & sunrise. I can see this feature being especially useful for those who need to stay on top of weather for their work or their hobby (like lifeguards or gardeners) & would really enjoy it being in their face. I think this is a perfect wallpaper option to pair with an appropriate Focus.

photo credit: Apple

5. Live Activities on the Lock Screen

It’s such a close race but I really think this is the best feature of the whole update. It was previously such a pain to have to continuously open your phone just to check the status of your arriving Uber or mobile Starbucks order but not anymore! iOS 16 lets select live activities just chill on your lock screen so simply raise to wake & the information is at your fingertips. This feature will also show you the current score of live sports for your favorite teams. I can’t wait to see how this works during football season!

6. Edit & Undo Sent Messages

Every one of us has sent a Message only to immediately realize it contains a typo or, even worse, accidentally sent a Message to the wrong person. What could we do about it before? Absolutely nothing. What can you do about it once you update to iOS 16? You can hold down on the recently sent message to access the brand new edit & undo options. This one’s gonna be a life saver.

7. Mark Messages as Unread

Another long-awaited feature that’s finally come to Messages is the ability to mark them as unread. You can use this manually to remind you to come back & reply to that Message later, but honestly I think the automatic portion of the feature is even more handy. Now when you open your phone & Messages is already open or you accidentally tap a Message notification only to immediately close out of it the iOS is smart enough to know you didn’t actually read that text & it will automatically mark it as unread again.


photo credit: Apple

There are so many exciting updates & new features within iOS 16 that I couldn’t possibly cover them all here, but these are the features that I’d suggest trying out first. The lock screen features alone will have such a massive impact on your daily usage of iPhone.

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