iOS 16: A Quick Tour (New Features)

September 22, 2022

Staying in sync with the latest software updates and OS features helps users and mobile app developers leverage the power behind their technology. Apple’s latest release, iOS 16, comes with various new features ripe for developers' and users' exploration. 

Understanding the iOS features users are most excited about can help app developers leverage these new capabilities for a smoother and easier user experience. But, of course, the new features that matter most for an app will depend on what the app aims to do. 

1. Messaging

iOS 16 has impressive new features that will change how users interact with their devices. One change that will be very popular is the ability to edit a message for up to 15 minutes after it has been sent. No more cursing autocorrect and having to send back-to-back messages correcting yourself – simply edit the text directly in the message. Change your mind about the message altogether? With iOS 16, users can undo the sending of a message for up to two minutes after sending it. 

2. Siri 

Users can now ask Siri questions like, “Hey Siri, what can I do with (insert an app name here),” or navigate to an app or page before asking, “Hey Siri, what can I do here?” Developers can leverage this new feature to enhance user understanding of their apps with appropriate Siri set-up. With strategic use of this new feature, developers can enhance app engagement. Users can now use Siri to insert emojis into texts, hang up a phone call, and run shortcuts from any app. 

3. Lock Screen

While previous OS updates have allowed for minor customizations and changes in user lock screens, iOS 16 allows a more personalized lock screen than ever before. From changing date and time fonts to photo shuffle capabilities, users can now create the aesthetic they truly want for their lock screen. Plus, with new lock screen switching capabilities, users can toggle between various lock screen options they’ve set up for themselves. 

4. Widgets

Lock screen preferences tie in directly with app use and display. Now, users can glance at app widgets to get quick information on aspects like goal progress or weather. These widgets will be handy for goal-oriented, wellness, and tracking app developers. The lock screen will also allow users to glance at Live Activities to follow updates on order progress, live sports game scores, and more. Apps can integrate custom animations to their widgets to give live updates, which may be particularly useful for healthcare and fitness apps. In addition, developers can leverage widgets and Apple Watch complications to help keep their apps top of mind for users, increasing overall engagement and improving visibility. 

5. Health and Wellness

Some of the most impactful iOS 16 updates pertain to health and wellness. For example, users can now keep track of health aspects like medications and supplements using their mobile devices. Capabilities include:

  • Creating medication reminders.
  • Looking up medication interactions.
  • Even tracking menstrual cycles and receiving notifications of irregularities. 

Fitness tracking has also received an upgrade even for users who don’t use an Apple Watch, with integrations from third-party workout apps that help estimate daily calories toward a Move goal. From a wellness standpoint, iOS 16 aims to check in on physical safety with the new Safety Check feature, designed to help those in abusive relationships by allowing for quick review, reset of location information, and more. Parents can also enjoy a smoother account setup process for children and discover helpful tips on the Family Checklist. 

Developers in the healthcare and fitness space will be able to leverage these new features and integrations to help further users stay proactive and informed about their health. 

6. Machine Learning

App design can now become more personalized and adaptive with the new machine learning capabilities on iOS 16 – all without compromising user privacy and data. From object detection to sound classification, on-device machine learning features enhance user experience and app performance. In addition, developers can integrate pre-built machine learning features into their apps or create and train custom Core ML models. 

7. App Intents

App developers can now use Swift to program new App Intents and App Shortcuts for users. These can allow your users to interact more easily with your app using Siri or tapping and quickly achieve your app's most common or high-leverage tasks. Not only do strategic App Intents increase app engagement, but they can also make your app easier for new users to find. 

8. Wallet

For apps that require users to confirm their identity or age, things are about to get smoother as Apple Wallet continues to push toward replacing physical wallets. In addition, users can upload government-issued ID information directly into Apple Wallet, so apps for purposes such as alcohol delivery services can verify swiftly. 

iOS 16 also includes Apple Pay Later, which will interest apps requiring larger payments at once. Apple Pay Later will allow users to break larger payments into a few smaller ones over the following weeks.

9. Focus and Notifications

With new capabilities such as grouping notifications and specifying preferences around when they’ll be notified about work-related app activity vs. personal apps, users can manage their notifications in various ways. For example, instead of simply defaulting to muting app notifications, users may opt-in to more reminders about an app now that they’ve got more control over when and how they’ll be notified. Developers can even use Focus filters to ensure users only see notifications from the app relevant to the Focus they’ve selected.

While these are some of the highlights of iOS 16 from both a user and developer standpoint, there are still more new features to explore, from AR experiences to car-specific technology. The limits to what an app can achieve continue to expand, and users and developers benefit from these shifts.

Are you interested in creating an app or updating your current app to take advantage of new iOS updates? Contact us to get started.

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