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Apple revamps the lock screen

The next version of iOS will offer more lockscreen personalisation options, after years of just showing the date and time.

Apple this week previewed iOS 16, delivering major improvements to the lock screen, and new sharing, communication, and intelligence features that together change the way users experience their iPhones. 

The lock screen gets more personal and helpful with iOS 16. With a new multilayered effect, the subjects of photos are set in front of the time on the lock screen, creating a sense of depth. Users can also change the look of the date and time with expressive type styles and colour choices.  

It features widgets that take inspiration from Apple Watch complications, making it easy to get information at a glance, such as upcoming calendar events, the weather, battery levels, alarms, time zones, and Activity ring progress.

A new lock screen gallery features a range of options for inspiration, such as Apple collections, which include Pride and Unity to celebrate special cultural moments; a Weather wallpaper to see live weather conditions as they change throughout the day; and an Astronomy wallpaper for views of the Earth, moon, and solar system. Users can also create lock screens using emoji or colour combinations. With multiple lock screens, users can switch between their presets with a swipe.

Live Activities is a new feature that helps users stay on top of things that are happening in real-time, such as a sports game, workout, ride-share, or food delivery order, right from the lock screen.

Notifications have been redesigned to roll up from the bottom, ensuring that users have a clear view of their personalised lock screen.

Focus is more powerful, easier to set up, and now connects to the lock screen, offering users a way to tie a lock screen wallpaper and widgets to a particular Focus. To activate a Focus, users can simply swipe to the corresponding lock screen. With Focus filters, apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Safari can display only the content that is relevant to a user’s Focus, helping them to find better digital balance.

Updates to Messages

Users can edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread so they can come back to them later. In addition, SharePlay is coming to Messages, making it possible to enjoy synced content like movies or songs and shared playback controls all while chatting in Messages.

New tools for Mail

Now users can schedule emails ahead of time and are even given a moment to cancel delivery of a message before it reaches a recipient’s inbox. Mail detects if the user forgot to include an important part of their message, such as an attachment. Users also have the option to resurface a message at any date and time with Remind Later, and Follow Up suggestions automatically remind users to follow up on an email if they have not received a response. Mail also includes the biggest overhaul to search, and uses state-of-the-art techniques to deliver more relevant, accurate, and complete results. Users see recent emails, contacts, documents, and links the moment they begin to search for emails.

Live Text and Visual Look Up enhancements

Live Text uses on-device intelligence to recognise text in images across iOS, and it is now expanding to include video. Users can pause a video on any frame and interact with text. Live Text also adds the ability for users to quickly convert currency, and translate text.

iOS 16 will launch later this year, likely in September alongside the next iPhone. Supported devices are iPhone 8 onwards, cutting the iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 from the update roster.

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