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iOS 16: What to do when you download new iPhone software update


iOS 16, the biggest update to the iPhone in a year, is finally here.

With a focus on personalisation, it changes the way you will use your iPhone, whether it is new or old. And it is available as a free download, now.

This year, the changes are relatively minor – and some of the biggest of them haven’t even arrived yet, or require the new iPhone 14. But there are still a number of things to delve into once you have downloaded the new software.

Here are all the important changes to try out when the new software is downloaded and installed.

Change your lock screen

The number one change that arrives with iOS 16 is the ability to greatly customise the lock screen, and everything that comes with it. It means that your phone’s main screen has gone from being static and generic to dynamic and personal.

To get started with it, press and hold on the Lock Screen. That should bring up the option to make a new one or edit the existing, and you can start delving into the features.

There are a whole host of options to choose from: you can choose new pictures where people’s faces will be cut out, change the font that the information is written in, and add live widgets. There are also some pre-made lock screens, some of which are rich in information, such as one that reflects the actual weather outside.

You can also have a number of different lock screens, and swipe between them. The mechanic for doing so might be familiar to anyone who has used the Apple Watch.

New notifications

As you use the new lock screen, you might notice something else: the notifications are coming from the bottom, rather than the top. This is part of a redesign that aims to make them less invasive as well as better looking.

It also means that notifications disappear from the screen more, which is also intended to make them less insistent and disruptive.

There’s not really anything you can do to make this happen, and very little you can do once you do get it. But it’s a change to get used to with the new software.

(There are some much bigger notification updates coming, which are not here yet. “Live Activities” will show things such as sports scores that can be updated live rather than in repeated notifications, and the iPhone 14 Pro has a new “Dynamic Island” that will show some system notifications in new ways; neither are here yet.)

Edit and delete messages

For years, people have been asking Apple to add the option to edit and delete texts. And it has finally arrived in Messages.

To edit or delete a message, tap and hold, and you should get the option. There are some restrictions on this: you can only edit a message five times, you will have 15 minutes to make any edits, and a history will show up to ensure that it is not abused.

It is also worth noting that the edits won’t show properly to people on older versions of iOS, instead sending as a new message. So if you are early to download iOS 16, your messages might not show the same to everybody else.

(It’s worth getting used to how this works because there are some restrictions – such as how long you have to edit a message – that it’s good to know about before you need to use them to undo an embarrassing text.)

There are some other additions to Messages, too, such as the option to start SharePlay through messages and to collaborate on documents. Those will probably make themselves clear as you use the app.

Copy and paste people and animals

The iPhone can now spot people and animals in pictures and will automatically cut them out. That will be available throughout photos.

To use it, find a picture that includes a person you want to cut out, such as a selfie. Then tap and hold on that person, and you’ll be able to copy it and use it in other apps – without the background coming along with it.

Improved dictation

Apple has been pushing dictation in recent updates. (You might even have found your iPhone trying to make you use it by accident.)

The new iOS 16 one brings more improvements, including the automatic addition of punctuation – you won’t have to literally say “exclamation mark” any more, for instance. You can also add emoji, by describing the one you want to use.

Update your Memoji

As with all big recent updates, Apple has added new options to the Memoji stickers. There are updated options such as “nose shapes, headgear, and hairstyles that represent more natural hair textures and curl patterns”, Apple says.

You can add them by opening up Messages, clicking on your Memoji above the keyboard, and selecting to edit.

There are also new poses for the Memoji stickers that you can use in Messages and in contacts.

Map yourself to many places

An update to the Maps app means you can plot your day as you go via a number of places, rather than just one. You can set up a journey if you are going to work but want to stop off to fill up your car on the way, for instance.