Apple’s latest software update for the hugely successful range of iPhones, iOS 16, launched just a few weeks ago on the 12th of September, however the beta had been available since the middle of July. In this article, I aim to break down all the new features this update has to offer.

From the user perspective, this update was mainly focussed on the vast customisation of the lock screen. Since, the introduction of widgets in the iOS 14 update was ground-breaking for many existing iPhone users, iOS 16 takes it up a notch with many more options.

Lock screen:

Firstly, you can now add widgets to your lock screen! These are quite small compared to the ones you may be used to adding to your home screen, but it is still a nice feature. The widgets include calendar, clock, fitness, and weather. You can customise them from your device settings ,or by unlocking your iPhone and then holding down on the lock screen and tapping the button that says “customise”. Whilst you’re there, you can also change the font and colour of the text that displays the date and time.

Another new addition is the ability to have multiple lock screen wallpapers. You can choose your wallpaper from settings ,or again by tapping and holding on the lock screen ,and pressing the button with a blue + sign on it. While there are already countless lock screen designs available on the internet, Apple updated their basic roster with some new ideas for your wallpaper including emoji wallpaper ,which allows you to select a numerous amount of emojis and have them all appear as your wallpaper. There is also astronomy wallpaper, which allows you to have a view of the Earth, moon and solar system and tells you about the weather for your current location to indicate whether the viewing conditions are good. There is also some simple, yet pleasing, colour gradients for you to choose from and a photo slideshow allowing you to choose the frequency at which the photo changes from hourly, daily, on lock and on tap. You can also preselect the photos you want to appear on your lock screen. You can set your home screen and lock screen as a matching pair, or you can select the “customise home screen” to make a completely different design!

As a slightly controversial inclusion in this update, notifications now appear from the bottom of the lock screen rather than the top. Personally, I prefer this feature as it means I can properly view the lock screen but others may be more used to having notifications from the top.

Finally, the last addition to the lock screen design is the “live activities” tab. This could be used to track a food delivery, a football match or control your music/podcast. Like your notifications, this also appears at the bottom of your screen.


You can create multiple focus options and link them to your lock screen, and choose preferences on which apps you would like to be silenced and which ones you would still like to receive notifications from. This is really useful as you can have a focus mode for night-time, for example, so you get a good night’s sleep without the distraction of notifications and alerts and then have one for the daytime, where you will still receive these. You can also add focus filters which hide distracting content in certain apps such as mail and messages.


The photos app also received an update with a bonus feature coming later in the year called “iCloud Shared Photo Library”. This means you can share your photos and videos with five other people including your family members. You can share photos directly from when you take them in the camera app. Also, everyone can edit captions and delete photos which will update for everyone on the shared photo library.


You can edit or delete messages which you’ve already sent. This, in my opinion, was a much-needed feature for the iMessage app as so many other social networking apps such as WhatsApp already had the ability to delete messages. You can also mark messages as unread if you don’t have the time to respond immediately so that you know to come back to them later.

There is also now Share Play via the iMessage app so you can watch programmes or listen to music with a group of people. The apps compatible with this include Apple TV and Disney Plus.This will make remote movie nights are a lot easier.

You can share files through iMessage for other people to edit and collaborate on which is useful for your work colleagues.


There are more accurate results when you search through your inbox, and you can now unsend emails which you have already sent. You can schedule emails to be sent at a certain time and forgetting to attach a link or document will cause the mail app to remind you that you may have forgotten to send something.


Passkeys: You can sign in on the web with end-to-end encryption offering an extra layer of security to your internet usage. This is more advanced than the pre-existing two-factor authentication and is a feature available on other devices, not from Apple. You can now share tabs through messages.

So far, I have covered most of the new features of interest however I would like to add a few honourable mentions of some cool new additions that are more under the radar:

-          Adding multiple stops to a route in the Maps app.

-          Viewing receipts and orders within the Apple Wallet app.

-          The new fitness app, in addition to the pre-existing Health app, making it easier for non-Apple watch users to track fitness levels.

-          Screen time requests now popping up in the Messages app.

-          Finally, being able to erase the background or subject in the foreground from a photo or image.

That rounds up the newest software update with a whole range of new features for its users to enjoy. From widgets to multiple lock screens, the tech industry is becoming increasingly better at providing personalisation options to their consumers. No doubt, we’ll see even more fun additions in the next big update.