Apple on Monday took the wraps off iOS 16, its next major smartphone operating system release, detailing a slew of new features and enhancements.
The upcoming iOS 16 — which will be generally released this fall for iPhone 8 models and later — includes a new privacy tool: Safety Check, which Apple said is designed for users “whose personal safety is at risk from domestic or intimate partner violence” and can instantly disable information-sharing access to specific users.
Safety Check includes an “emergency reset” command that lets users immediately sign out of iCloud on all their other devices, as well as reset privacy permissions and limit messaging to just the device in their physical possession. In addition to providing new tools to people in imminent danger, Safety Check also is designed to let users manage which people and apps they’ve given access to.
Another major feature in iOS 16 is the ability to make new customizations to the Lock Screen, letting users change the look of the date and time with different type styles and color choices; create multiple Lock Screen iterations; and add widgets to provide at-a-glance access to things like upcoming calendar events, weather, battery levels and alarms. And with iOS 16, Apple redesigned notifications so they roll up from the bottom of the screen, so that users “have a clear view of their personalized Lock Screen.”
“iOS 16 is a big release with updates that will change the way you experience iPhone,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering.
In addition, iOS 16 introduces iCloud Shared Photo Library to allow sharing of photo collections with up to five friends and family members; enhances Live Text to be able to recognize text in video; updates Apple Maps with multistop routing to let you schedule up to 15 stops in advance.
On the texting front, iOS 16 will let users edit or recall recently sent messages (up to 15 minutes after sending them), recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread so they can come back to them later. Apple’s SharePlay is coming to Messages, to let users synchronize content like TV shows, movies or songs with shared playback controls while chatting with others.
The company also announced Apple Pay Later, a feature that will let U.S. users split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments spread over six weeks (without any interest charges or fees). The tech giant previewed the next generation of CarPlay, which will be able to provide content on multiple screens and provide tighter integration with vehicle hardware to do things like control the radio or change climate settings directly via CarPlay as well as display speed, fuel level, temperature and other info on the instrument cluster. Auto partners will start to announce support for the new CarPlay capabilities in late 2023, according to Apple.
The company unveiled the iOS 16 features at its Worldwide Developers Conference virtual streaming event Monday. WWDC22 runs from June 6-10. It also showed off a next-generation MacBook Air, powered by its power-efficient M2 silicon, as well as updates for watchOS and macOS.
According to Apple, the developer preview of iOS 16 is available starting today and a public beta will be available to iOS users next month at beta.apple.com.
Apple’s WWDC22 conference programming is free to access for all of the company’s estimated 34 million-plus developers globally. The event is a forum for the tech giant to announce and promote new technologies, tools and frameworks coming to iOS, iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS.