Ahead of Apple’s big developer conference on June 6, WWDC, new information has emerged about what’s in store for iOS 16. According to leaks reported by Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, iOS users may expect to see new features such as an upgraded lock screen as well as updated first-party apps, Including Messages and Health, notification updates, iPad multitasking features, and more.
The report described the software as a “fairly significant” upgrade – which is notable given that the last two updates have included major changes as well. With iOS 14, for example, iPhone users gained support for home screen widgets, leading to a home screen customization craze that still sees widgets and themes apps like Brass, Themify, ScreenKit, and others topping the graphics and design charts. Meanwhile, last year’s iOS 15 upgrade introduced focus modes — a new way to control what and who is allowed to interrupt you and when.
This time around, Bloomberg says Apple will pay special attention to its lock screen, a bit of currently untapped real estate that only offers date, time, and buttons to launch flashlight or camera apps.
In iOS 16, Apple aims to support wallpapers with widget-like capabilities, the report claims. This may indicate that Apple is considering integrating what’s today to the left of the Home screen – the Today View with its suite of tools – right into the lock screen itself. This may make sense because the day view is meant to provide easy access to information you may need throughout the day, such as upcoming calendar appointments, the weather, or widgets that can be clicked to open favorite apps. But Today View isn’t handy because you still have to swipe right to see it, and it doesn’t bother many users to do so.
This change may be beneficial for app developers who support widgets, as it gives them another opportunity to capture users’ attention in a high-profile area. Additionally, it will give home screen customization app developers a way to expand their offering. This means that users can now download complete theme sets with combinations of widgets designed for both the lock screen and home screen, along with matching wallpapers and icon themes.
In addition, the updated lock screen could prepare for a future where the lock screen will have an always-on display, similar to the Apple Watch, although this is likely related to the updated hardware, according to the report. This mode could be exclusive to high-end iPhones at launch, including the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max — if you’re given the go-ahead.
Other features expected in iOS 16 include an updated Messages app with more “social networking-like functionality,” which may include some sort of update around voice messages. (Please, Apple, let us play voice messages at faster speeds like WhatsApp!)
The Health app will also be updated, but the report does not contain more details about what will be changed. In addition, watchOS will gain changes to watch faces and Low Power Mode, while iPadOS will gain changes to windows and multitasking.
One feature that hasn’t been touched upon, but needs improvement, is the iPhone’s Focus Mode. Despite the well-established concept in theory, in practice, many who tried to set up focus modes ended up missing important calls and texts, as well as important notifications, received via numbers or apps that were not allowed to press. Do Not Disturb settings for the selected mode. Setting up focus modes takes a lot of work as well – what could be better, perhaps, is a Siri-powered focus mode which asks users to train the setting over a period of time, letting it know what you consider important versus the distraction of certain times of “focusing” , such as your work day or your personal time. Siri can also suggest focus modes based on how you actually use apps on your phone or how often and when you “mute” notifications from certain apps.
The Bloomberg report didn’t note any planned changes to Focus Mode, but it would be a huge oversight on Apple’s part not to roll out some tweaks to this system with a software update.
Apple’s WWDC 2022 keynote will air on June 6.