If you followed Apple’s iOS 16 preview earlier this summer — or took the next step and downloaded the iOS 16 public beta to your iPhone — you probably know all about the big changes. coming with this update.
While not a major overhaul like some previous iPhone software updates, iOS 16 certainly introduces a wide range of improvements and additions. .
A number of your iPhone’s built-in apps are getting new features, such as the ability to edit texts in Messages, share tab groups in Safari, or share photos with family and friends with a library of iCloud shared photos. There’s even a new Fitness app that tracks your steps without requiring you to wear an Apple Watch.
But these features are quite widely known. These are the hidden features of iOS 16 that we want to focus on here. While not as flashy as the ability to copy text from video using Live Text or playing around with the new Memojis iOS 16 additions, these hidden features should improve the overall experience of the Iphone.
And it’s definitely something you should look for when using iOS 16, whether in the currently available iOS 16 public beta or when the finalized version of the software update appears.
And it could be very soon. The Apple event is rumored to take place on September 7, and the iPhone 14 is expected to launch soon after with iOS 16 installed. This means that we could be weeks away from the release of iOS 16. Here are the hidden iOS 16 features you should watch out for.
Control timers from your iPhone’s lock screen
iOS 16 introduces a type of widget known as Live Activities, intended to keep you up to date with current events. Request a ride from a rideshare service, for example, and a Live Activities widget can keep you up to date with the driver’s location. Sports updates are also prime candidates for live activity widgets.
The problem is that this feature will only appear after the launch of iOS 16, as app makers need time to update their software and create widgets that take advantage of this feature. But the iOS 16 beta gives us an idea of how Live Activities works with a Timer widget that appears on the iPhone lock screen when a timer runs through the Clock app.
The widget does more than just show you how much time is left on your countdown. You also have controls to pause and completely stop the timer right from the lock screen. In previous versions of iOS, you had to unlock your phone to manage your timer. It also helps that the timer display is much larger than it was before.
My colleague Richard Priday says this timer widget is a game-changer for him. I certainly think it makes life much easier in iOS 16, which should be the point of most OS improvements.
Transit fares show up in Maps
The ability to plan hop-on hop-off routes is the big addition to iOS 16 Maps, but don’t sleep on the app’s transit improvements. If you add your transit card to the Wallet app, you’ll be able to see your remaining balance and even top up that balance directly from the Maps app.
And you’ll know how much money you’ll need to have on your transport card thanks to another iOS 16 addition – fares now show when you plan a route using public transport. You can even switch between fares for using a transit card and cash so you know the true cost of your trip.
Unsend emails in Mail
You probably know that you can unsend a text in IOS 16 Messages. (After you send an SMS, you have a 2 minute window in which you can delete that message.) Mail adds a similar feature in iOS 16, allowing you to recall any emails you may have sent too quickly.
The window for unsending mail is smaller than that for text messages, but there is more flexibility. In Mail’s settings, you can choose between 10, 20, and 30 second windows to unsend any mail. You can also completely disable the feature if you think you won’t need it.
Add rich links to your email
While we’re talking about email, iOS 16 Mail introduces a number of compose tools like alerting you if you forgot to include a recipient or attachment or setting reminders to come back and read emails again. late. My favorite addition, however, is the ability to insert rich links into the text of an email.
Rich links provide a preview of the URL you’re including, so instead of a string of text, your recipients get a thumbnail of the website and a short description. This way, the people you’re messaging will have a better idea of what to expect when they click on a link.
Photos gets folder for duplicates
The iCloud Shared Photo Library is making headlines, but there are actually a few changes in iOS 16 Photos, many of which relate to editing images and managing your photo library. It’s the latter that my favorite Photos enhancement tackles – a folder with duplicate images.
In the Duplicates folder, you can choose to merge the corresponding shots. Photos will combine all captions, keywords, and other data into a single photo. It’s a great way to clean up some of your library clutter and free up some extra space on your iPhone.
Securing Photo Folders
There’s another big photo management improvement with iOS 16, and it involves a layer of security for a few folders. The Hidden Photos folder, which protects private photos from prying eyes, can now require you to use Face ID or Touch ID to unlock the folder. This unlock feature is also available in the Recently Deleted folder.
You’ll know at a glance that the extra security measure is in place. Both folders now have a lock icon next to them, letting you know that an extra level of authentication is required to open things.
Quick Note is coming to iOS 16
MacOS and iPadOS both offer Quick Note functionality for quickly jotting down thoughts as they occur. iOS 16 brings the capability to the iPhone, and while we can argue about the smoothness of the implementation, it’s still a welcome way to collect your thoughts without having to launch the Notes app.
You can start a quick note via an icon on your iPhone’s Command Center screen. (You’ll need to go to settings and change the command center first to enable this icon.) Then just swipe down to access the command center, tap the Quick Note icon, and leave your thoughts flow freely.
Also, when you’re in another app like Safari or Photos, you can tap the Share icon. On the next share sheet, a new Add to Quick Note command appears, which lets you create a new note or edit an existing one.
Lock notes with your password
When you want to secure a note in the iOS 16 Notes app, you no longer have to worry about finding and remembering a separate password. The iOS 16 version of Notes lets you use the same passcode you use to unlock your phone. I wouldn’t store any state secrets this way, but at least it’s a quick and convenient way to add security to select notes.
Siri knows punctuation in iOS 16
I don’t care if the Pixel 6 could do this long before any of Apple’s phones, but iOS 16’s version of Siri is now smart enough to recognize when punctuation needs to be added when dictating text or an email. This allows you to compose a message without having to verbally specify punctuation marks.
In my experience, functionality can be a bit hit or miss, especially with question marks. However, you can always use the on-screen keyboard to go back and fix any misheard punctuation.
Siri can automatically send text messages
When I’m driving but need to text someone, I keep my eyes on the road and my hands on the wheel by dictating texts to Siri. When I’m done speaking, Siri asks me if I’m ready to send the message. Sometimes it’s welcome protection against sending a garbled message in case Siri hasn’t caught every last word. But for simple yes or no answers or other uncomplicated messages, this is an unnecessary step.
In iOS 16, you can ask Siri to simply send dictated text messages if you’re sure the assistant heard what you said. Just head to Settings and enable the Automatically send messages toggle in the Siri & Search section. There will be a slight delay, just in case you want to review the text before it comes out, but otherwise Siri will take care of your texting business without telling you first.
Adjust the time Siri waits for you to finish speaking
One iOS 16 addition that I like is the ability to change Siri’s pause time, which is how long Siri listens to you to make sure you’re done speaking. If you have a speech problem, like my slight stutter, it helps to give yourself a little extra time to issue voice commands so your phone assistant doesn’t always cut you off.
You’ll find the new feature in the Accessibility section of Settings. Just tap Siri and choose the right pause time – default, longer or longer. And then you can look forward to having a voice assistant that’s finally ready to listen to everything you have to say.