Whether you own a brand new iPhone or one from the iPhone 8 upward, an upgrade to iOS 16 is now available for download and install. This is the official and stable release rather than the beta version available for the past few months so it is a safe update. It’s also a big update, so make sure your device is connected to power and backed up and ready for the install.

The iOS 16 upgrade has rolled out to the entire user base globally at the same time, unlike Android, for which upgrades depend on type of device being used. Any users who have set their iPhones to automatically update or who have manually gone to Settings-General-Software Update will move to the new version of the operating system and be able to use the numerous features and customisation options that come with it. 

The most visible and most talked-about feature of iOS 16 has to do with being able to customise the lock screen. This is the recommended place to start for users acquainting themselves with what is new. 

Personalised Lock Screen

Press the power button to wake the iPhone up and long-press in the middle of the Lock Screen. Using the plus sign and the customise tab, users can set up their screen with new wallpapers and widgets. For wallpapers, the colours one can choose are limitless and include being able to set gradients or pick a colour off of an image. One can also use one’s own photos or select from emojis to create a wallpaper. 

Stay in Focus

The options for wallpapers truly come into their own when combined with the Focus feature with which a task, mood or activity or even time of day can be linked with a specific wallpaper and associated with a set of parameters. There are preset Focus options such as Work, Personal, Sleep or Do Not Disturb. One can also set custom Focus options such as Reading or Gaming. One can choose the level of notifications one wants, calls allowed, and more. A Focus can turn on and off automatically.

The choice of widgets available has now increased and one can access it by pressing the plus sign.  Calendar, Clock, Fitness, Reminders, Stock, and Weather can all be added along with some font and colour adjustments. 

One can actually have multiple Lock Screens, either linked with Focus or in general. Some of these may take up a bit of the battery life. Activities will also reflect on the Lock Screen, for example music (with album art and colour changes) or watching a match. 

More than 150 changes

Users will welcome the control they have over messages. In the iMessages app on a compatible iPhone, long-pressing a message will pop up a menu from which a user can choose to undo a send within 15 minutes of having pressed Send. One can also choose to edit a message. The iMessages app also now gets the ability to let users ‘SharePlay’ to enjoy movies or music or other content together. Everyone on the list will be added automatically and seamlessly with very little effort once the session is initiated. 

For those using Apple’s Mail app, there are increased productivity enhancements. Mail delivery can be scheduled in advance, or linked to a reminder to attend to the mail later. Automatic alerts such as when a recipient is missed out also make the app more intelligent and useful. Mail also has enhanced Search features. 

A near-magical feature that promises to be popular is Visual Look up with which one can press on an object in a photograph and just lift it out to share or edit elsewhere, even dragging it across if in split screen. One can also press down on text in a video or photo and with a Live Text feature interact with the text to look up, translate, share, convert etc. Writing on a board in a video or photo, for example, can be pressed and quickly seen in translated form. 

These and many other features are there to be explored on upgrade and exploring them is recommended as these features do bring freshness and newness to devices that don’t see very many dramatic hardware upgrades over immediate successive generations.

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