iOS 16 getting redesigned lock screen with new wallpapers, Messages upgrades and more

The rumor: iOS 16 “is a fairly significant upgrade,” according to Mark Gurman (86.5% accurate, via Power On).

Here’s the latest on iOS 16…

  • There will be “updates to notifications, iPad multitasking, and the Messages and Health apps”
  • Lock Screen redesign with new wallpapers that support “widget-like capabilities”
  • Improvements to windowing and multitasking on all platforms…but especially on iPad
  • Messages is getting expanded social features, especially with audio messages (sounds cool!)
  • And everything else that we’ve heard already…

Sam’s take: I’m fascinated to see how big this Lock Screen redesign is going to be, considering there haven’t been any major updates to the Lock Screen, well, ever. I also think Apple has so much room to capitalize on iMessage as a broader social platform and starting with voice messages is brilliant (I’ve seen these grow in popularity tremendously in recent years). Overall, it’s really looking like iOS 16 is going to be the biggest update in years.

Apple previews iOS 16 with new accessibility features

The news: Ahead of WWDC in just a few weeks, Apple previewed new accessibility features launching with iOS 16 and in other software updates later this year.

Here are the rundown of the new accessibility features:

  • Door detection: This helps users locate doors and surrounding attributes, including any signs, whether it is open or closed and how far they are from one
  • Apple Watch Mirroring: AirPlay your Apple Watch display to your iPhone in order to use iOS accessibility features like Voice Control or Switch Control, and even use external Made for iPhone switches
  • Quick Actions on Apple Watch: “a double-pinch gesture can answer or end a phone call, dismiss a notification, take a photo, play or pause media in the Now Playing app, and start, pause, or resume a workout”
  • Live Captions on iPhone, iPad and Mac: Live transcription of spoken words comes to media apps, FaceTime calls and more
  • VoiceOver gains support for over 20 new locales and languages, like Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese
  • Buddy Controller: someone can help you play video games by linking 2 controllers to a single input (this is super cool)
  • Siri Pause time: “users with speech disabilities can adjust how long Siri waits before responding to a request”
  • Voice Control Spelling Mode: vocalize specific spellings with per-letter input
  • Sound Recognition expands to detect a “unique alarm, doorbell, or appliances”
  • Apple Books brings new themes and custom options such as word spacing for improved accessibility

Sam’s take: I do not see any other tech company in the world taking accessibility as seriously as Apple. These features seem to be incredible leaps forward for users who have accessibility needs…and it’s also consequently our first look at iOS 16. Why am I so certain of this? Apple did the same thing ahead of iOS 15 with a preview of new accessibility features last year.

iOS 16 is reportedly ‘a bit buggy’ in current builds

The rumor: The current internal versions of iOS 16 still need their fair share of work before releasing as a public beta, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate).

Sam’s take: This update suggests a couple things to me: 1) the presence of bugs this late in the game indicates that iOS 16 will be a larger update than last year and 2) that Apple probably hasn’t made stability a focus. The combination of these is ultimately exciting…but also concerning because of how bugs could impact the cool stuff that Apple is trying to do. Interesting that we’re hearing this news still weeks ahead of WWDC…

iOS 16 rumored to be largest update in years with new apps and more

The rumor: Apple is planning “major changes across the system” for iOS 16, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate, via Power On).

  • “While I don’t expect Apple to present a full redesign of the software, there should be major changes across the system, new ways of interacting and some fresh Apple apps. The news about watchOS 9 will be significant as well,” Gurman says
  • Up until this point, the lack of rumors and leaks for iOS 16 suggested it would be a minor update similar to last year’s iOS 15

Sam’s take: I won’t lie…this has me stoked to see what is coming software-wise at WWDC in just half a month now. “Major changes” and “new ways of interacting” and “fresh Apple apps” sounds like a big deal, and I can’t remember a time in recent history where we’ve gotten all 3 of these at once. Sure, it’s not the complete redesign that I’ve been asking for…but it sounds way closer than I thought.

iOS 16 may get trio of new health features including medicine reminders

The rumor: iOS 16 may get some nice upgrades in the Health app, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate, via Bloomberg).

  • “An updated version of the Health app on the iPhone this year is expected to add expanded sleep tracking functionality, medicine management and new women’s health features. Apple has been working on a medicine management tool that will let users scan their pill bottles into the app. The software will monitor adherence and remind users to take their medication. But the initial version of the feature for this year is unlikely to include all of the planned functionality,” Gurman says
  • Apple is expected to debut iOS 16 at WWDC 2022 which kick off on June 6

Sam’s take: As someone who takes medicine daily, integration in the Health app would be so much more useful than the daily notification I set in the Reminders app. Plus, I could see it alongside all of my other health data. Gurman also references new women’s health features here, which is referring to a new body-temperature sensor on Apple Watch Series 8 that will help with fertility planning. While limited in scope, I do think this feature could be really impactful for those trying to conceive (or avoid it).

iOS 16 is ‘full of references’ to upcoming AR/VR headset

The rumor: Apple is getting closer to the launch of their AR/VR headset, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate, via Power On).

  • As far as I know, a full-blown introduction of the mixed-reality headset is still probably out of the question in June, but I am told that beta versions of iOS 16—codenamed Sydney—are chock-full of references to the headset and its interactions with the iPhone,” Gurman says
  • The prevalence of these references suggests that Apple will launch the headset sooner rather than later (but no later than Fall 2023)
  • Gurman also suggests that this could be a sign that Apple is planning to preview parts of the headset early, such as rOS, the reality operating system that will run on it

Sam’s take: This is one of those “so close yet so far” situations where I feel like we can almost smell the AR/VR headset…even though it’s still nowhere to be seen. That being said, it feels like we’re just on the heels of an announcement sometime this year.

iOS 16: ‘significant enhancements’ coming…but no redesign

The rumor: Apple is preparing a moderately sized iOS 16 update, according to Mark Gurman (86.4% accurate, via Power On).

  • “I’m looking for some fairly significant enhancements across the board, including an update to notifications and new health-tracking features. I’m not expecting an end-to-end redesign of iOS’s interface, even though it hasn’t changed much since iOS 7 nearly a decade ago. But there might be a new iPadOS multitasking interface,” Gurman says
  • iOS 16 beta 1 is expected to release on June 6 at Apple’s just-announced 2022 worldwide developers conference

Sam’s take: While I understand that Apple is very set on the design language that was instituted with iOS 7: I think myself and many other enthusiasts are begging for something different. These details are pretty broad so far, but I’m getting the vibe that this could be another iOS 15-esque update with some core enhancements around the OS…but nothing major. Still, I’m holding out hope for something big this year. At least give me something like these dark icons created by Surenix (pictured above).

iOS 16 may automatically detect car crashes

The rumor: A future software update for iPhones could enable “crash detection,” according to the WSJ (80% accurate).

These are the details…

  • “Crash detection uses data from sensors built into Apple devices including the accelerometer to detect car accidents as they occur, for instance by measuring a sudden spike in gravity, or “g,” forces on impact” the report says
  • This data could then be utilized to automatically dial 911 if an accident is detected
  • Apple could roll this feature out to iPhones as early as 2022, either as an update to iOS 15 or as part of the larger iOS 16 release

Our take: This sounds really helpful, and reminds me of how Apple used the accelerometer on Apple Watch Series 4 and newer to make fall detection work. Automatic crash detection would be really helpful and potentially life-saving.

iOS 16 leak says only these devices will be supported

The rumor: Apple is planning to drop support for their oldest devices with iOS 16, according to iPhone Soft.

Here’s what devices are said to be supported…

  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 2020
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPad Pro 11/12.9-inch 2021
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2016+)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch (2016+)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2018+)
  • iPad Air 3
  • iPad Air 4
  • iPad 6
  • iPad 7
  • iPad 8
  • iPad Mini 5
  • iPad Mini 6

But many older devices didn’t make the cut…

  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE 2016
  • iPad Mini 4
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad 5
  • iPad Pro 9.7/12.9-inch 2015

Our take: Listen, the only reason I’m covering this is because I just don’t believe that Apple will extend support for another year. That being said, iPhone Soft predicted that these same devices wouldn’t be supported on iOS 15 last year, which ultimately turned out to be incorrect. So take this with a grain of salt. But also consider that those devices are from 2015: I think six years of updates for those devices is more than fair, especially considering that Apple will still release security updates for them moving forward.