Apple adds missing features to first iOS 16.1 beta, including Live Activities

The battery status indicator is also rolling out to more iPhones, and Matter support in the Home app is starting to emerge.

A couple of days after the official release of iOS 16, Apple has started rolling out the first beta of iOS 16.1 to developers. It’s the first incremental update for the latest version of the iPhone’s operating system, and it adds a handful of new features that were supposed to make it in the original iOS 16.0 release but didn’t.

Live Activities is at the top of the list. As spotted by numerous beta testers including MacRumors and 9to5Mac, iOS 16.1 adds support for Live Activities on the Lock Screen, which can show you things like sports scores and ETAs for Ubers in real time. As it exists now, Live Activities is nothing more than an API, but this will give developers a chance to finally start optimizing their apps for it, so expect to see it starting to pop up soon.

Another feature missing from iOS 16 is Matter device support in the Home app. In version 16.1, that support is there, although it’s in a very early stage. You have to install a custom profile and jump through a few hoops before you can pair a Matter-enabled device with the app, but at least it’s on its way. Notably, those who install the new iPadOS 16.1 beta will be notified that their iPad is no longer supported as a home hub.

The new iOS 16.1 beta also adds a feature that was present on some iPhones, but not all: a battery percentage indicator. Initially exclusive to 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch iPhones starting with the iPhone 12, Apple has brought the feature to the iPhone 13 mini and 12 mini, 11, and XR. In case you’re wondering, it still looks pretty bad, but at least the feature’s there for anyone who wants it.

Apple is also adding a few other changes and tweaks to iOS 16.1, such as a new UI for screenshots, more options for Stage Manager on iPadOS, the ability to customize your Home Screen’s wallpaper separately from the Lock Screen (a feature that was oddly removed in iOS 16), and an option to stick with clean energy charging to reduce your iPhone’s carbon footprint. You can also now delete the Wallet app from your iPhone, which is meant to appease antitrust concerns.

In typical software update fashion, iOS 16.1 isn’t expected to ship to the general public for at least four to six weeks, or once it’s had ample time to get rid of any bugs or rough patches. I’ll keep you updated on its development if anything interesting happens along the way, as well as when it finally starts rolling out to iPhones everywhere.