Apple just released iOS 16 – here’s what’s new and which devices get it

The latest update for your iPhone includes a redesigned Lock Screen, new features in Messages, updates to Wallet and Mail, and more.

Today’s the big day for those anxious to update their iPhones to iOS 16. Following a pretty standard beta process all summer long, Apple’s latest version of iOS is finally rolling out to users all around the globe, with marquee new features like a redesigned Lock Screen, message editing, upgraded Focus modes, iCloud Photo Family Library, and more.

If you plan on updating your iPhone to iOS 16, first off, congratulations on making the right decision. Secondly, here are the features you need to know about and the devices that support the new OS.

iOS 16 features

iOS 16 astrology wallpaper picker

Redesigned Lock Screen with new fonts, widgets, and Live Activities

The biggest change in iOS 16 is the new Lock Screen, which can be customized like never before with new fonts, wallpapers, and widgets. There are a lot of different ways to shake up your lock screen’s style, so after you upgrade to iOS 16, you’ll wanna dive into these settings first by long-pressing on the Lock Screen itself.

Also on the Lock Screen are new Live Activities, which can show you real-time information from third-party applications. That way, you could track things like sports scores or how long until your Uber arrives without having to jump into those apps. This feature will get off the ground once developers have had time to optimize their apps, so if you can’t use it on day one, just be patient.

Focus modes get an upgrade

In iOS 16, Apple is beefing up Focus modes with support for apps like Safari, Calendar, Mail, and Messages so that each app shows you contextual information based on the mode you’re in. The coolest new addition are custom Lock Screens which can create and assign to the different Focus modes on your iPhone, just like you can do with home screens.

Three new features in Messages

In Messages, Apple is adding three new features: the ability to edit and recall sent messages, recover deleted messages, and mark conversation threads as unread. Apple is also bringing SharePlay to Messages so you can stream content like movies and music with friends while messaging in real time.

iCloud Shared Photo Library

Perfect for Apple device-based households, iOS 16 includes iCloud Shared Photo Library which lets you and family members or friends sync pictures and videos of specific people and places with each other in a dedicated album. You can add up to six members, and each member can edit photos and videos at their discretion.

Mail, Wallet, Maps, Fitness, Family Sharing, and more all get updates

Apple is updating the Mail app with some new features like email scheduling, reminders, and Follow Up suggestions. There’s also a complete overhaul of the search experience.

In Wallet, there’s a new Apple Pay Later feature which will let users pay for things via four installments over six weeks with zero interest or fees, and it works wherever Apple Pay is accepted. Keys and IDs in the Wallet app will also get expanded support, and apps will be able to check your ID if its features require it.

The Maps app now lets you set up multi-stop routes, as well as sync those routes across your devices, get transit updates, and view a wider range of three-dimensional immersive maps such as Las Vegas.

Apple is also making it easier to set up Family Sharing in iOS 16, which is very welcome since the current setup process is pretty tedious and confusion. The software update is also adding the ability to use both the keyboard and Dictation when typing, a redesigned Home app with support for Matter, an expansion of the Fitness app to all users (even those without Apple Watches), and support for running shortcuts in Siri right after downloading an app (no setup needed).

Live Text and Visual Lookup

Live Text in iOS 16 is getting upgraded with video support, currency conversions, and text translations. Meanwhile, Visual Look Up can now separate a subject from its background and allow you to place said subject in apps like Messages to send to friends. You’ve probably seen examples of that on Twitter and Instagram – it’s actually pretty wild how well it works, so it’s worth checking out once your iPhone is done updating.

Safety Check

An important new feature in iOS 16 is Safety Check, which can aid people in domestic or intimate partner violence situations get the help they need. The feature lets users review and reset access they’ve granted others to their personal information, reset system privacy permissions for apps, and restrict Messages and FaceTime to the device on hand.

New Accessibility features

In addition, Apple is also adding a few new features in Accessibility such as Door Detection (the ability to identify a door, how far away it is, the number associated with it, and more using the camera), Live Captions for transcribing any audio playing on your phone, and the ability to control your Apple Watch via your iPhone.

iOS 16 supported devices

Apple is supporting the following devices with today’s release of iOS 16.

  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)

How to update to iOS 16

If you have one of the supported iPhones listed above, go to Settings > About > Software updates. From there, you should see iOS 16 ready to be installed. Be sure you have enough juice in the tank (I recommend at least 50 percent) and a stable Wi-Fi connection before hitting “Download and install” so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.