iOS 16: Everything we know so far

Apple’s WWDC 2022 is set to showcase all the upgrades and features coming to iPhone with iOS 16, and rumor has it the software update will deliver health-tracking features, notification improvements, and a possible nod to Apple AR/VR.

The upcoming Apple event, taking place on June 6, will primarily focus on the latest and greatest software updates to Apple’s various platforms including iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9, and tvOS 16. However, many are most excited about all the iPhone updates arriving, especially as they go hand-in-hand with other Apple products. 

After rummaging through rumors and potential leaks all about iOS 16, along with iPadOS 16 and watchOS 9, take a look at everything we know so far. 

iOS 16

With iOS 15, Apple brought a number of quality-of-life updates such as FaceTime including spatial audio, SharePlay bringing music, videos or your screen into your calls, drag and drop between apps, and many more. This year, we’re expecting to see further enhancements, although don’t expect to see a major redesign of iOS. 

(Image credit: Apple)

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, there will be “fairly significant enhancements across the board.” iOS 16 is tipped to bring new health-tracking features and an update to notifications, but what these new features will be are still in question. One of the health features is expected to be a “medicine management tool that will let users scan their pill bottles into the app,” although all the planned features may not arrive when it launches.

Codenamed “Sydney,” the upcoming iPhone software update is expected to go hand-in-hand with the Apple Watch too, as Gurman also states that watchOS 9 will offer “major upgrades to activity and health tracking.”

As 9to5Mac reports, changes are coming to Apple’s Focus mode, which was introduced in iOS 15. It acts as a customizable Do Not Disturb mode, allowing users to set different profiles for various activities, such as work, play, gym, and more. In iOS 16, there will apparently be more customizations coming to Focus mode, they may not be compatible with iOS 15. A message spotted in iOS 15.5 beta suggests “A device with newer software has updated this Focus to use a new configuration this device doesn’t support.”

Speaking of unsupported devices, tipster LeaksApplePro on iDropNews predicts that the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus and first-generation iPhone SE won’t be able to receive the iOS 16 update. This is expected, as older Apple devices struggle to keep up with new software updates. This may be the case with another expected feature offering interactive widgets or “big widgets.”

🔴EXCLUSIVE: iOS 16.Be prepared for interactive widgets! Apple is now working on these “big widgets” internally named InfoShack.Will tell you more about them soon. pic.twitter.com/GZF9zYjOswJanuary 26, 2022

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The report also mentions more notification updates including a feature called “Quick Actions.” This is already available, but the updated feature will allow users to perform these actions via the lock screen as well. Files, Reminder and Mail app notifications are also rumored to be getting minor updates.

Another key feature rumored to be in the works is Apple Classical, a new app that will replace classical music service Primephonic. According to MacRumors, signs of the upcoming Apple Music app have been spotted in the iOS 15.5 beta. Primephonic was taken down after Apple purchased the service back in 2021, giving us reason to believe it will be incorporated into Apple Music and possibly revealed during WWDC 2022.

Apple News is expected to deliver new content (via 9to5Mac) that can only be done through iOS 16. We’re not sure what this new content will be, but it must be significant if only iOS 16 can handle it.

Gurman also believes the iOS 16 may include hints to Apple’s rumored AR/VR device. The iPhone is rumored to be linked to the headset, and iOS 16 is tipped to give us a “peek at the headset’s rOS,” otherwise known as realityOS. 

iPadOS 16

Many of the upgrades that may arrive on iOS 16 are likely to land on iPadOS 16, but Gurman weighed in stating that it might get a new multitasking interface. With the power of M1 now in the iPad Pro and iPad Air, we could see Apple take advantage of its power. 

Ended up making a full beautiful faux webpage for my iPadOS 16 concepts last night. File is too big to post alone so I had to cut it up… check out my ideas for multitasking, the Home Screen, dock, and more… pic.twitter.com/l68denoWcKApril 11, 2022

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Vox Media’s Parker Ortolani shared concept images of how the multitasking, Home Screen, Studio Mode and more may look with iPadOS 16 on Twitter. These are only concepts, however, but it gives us a good idea at what we might expect. 

watchOS 9

With watchOS 9, Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new low power mode that will allow users to save battery life while using other features and a number of apps. This is an important upgrade from the Power Reserve mode.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Sean Riley)

While the power reserve feature can prolong your Apple Watch’s battery life when it’s on its last legs, it turns off all features except for the most basic function of a watch — showing the time. The new low power mode is expected to offer more functionality without consuming much battery.

According to the Bloomberg report (via 9to5Mac), that’s not the only feature planned to arrive. The Apple Watch is tipped to get new workout types, along with new metrics to track during workouts. Gurman also hinted at this, along with an expansion to the smartwatch’s sleep tracking features. Apparently, Apple is also planning to offer new women’s health features, possibly an expansion of the postpartum fitness program added to Apple Fitness+ earlier this year.

For those looking for more Apple Watch faces, Gurman also states that the Cupertino tech giant will be refreshing many of its built-in faces. This suggests that a number of the watch faces will take advantage of the larger display found on the Apple Watch Series 7, but we may see new variations of them for other products such as the Apple Watch SE.

Outlook

While we may not be getting a significant overhaul in software, iOS 16 is looking to deliver even more handy updates that iPhone users are sure to utilize. We have yet to see all the changes coming to macOS 13 and tvOS 16, but we have a good idea of what might arrive on iPadOS 16 and watchOS 9 during WWDC 2022 on June 6.

Plus, whatever iOS updates are coming to Apple’s various products during WWDC 2022, we can also expect them to arrive on the iPhone 14. We’ll be covering the event as it happens, and you can follow our coverage for all of the latest from WWDC 2022.

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