iOS 16 lock screen makeover includes wallpapers with widget-like capabilities

Expect major changes for the iOS 16 lock screen, which should pick up support for special iPhone wallpapers with widget-like functionality, among other changes.

A photograph showing an aerial view oof the Apple Park headquarters
Image credit: Apple
  • Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has laid out his expectations for new features in iOS 16, which he says include a remade lock screen with special wallpapers.
  • Support for always-on display capabilities on the lock screen is also in the works.
  • iOS 16 also packs in changes for notifications and the Health and Messages apps.

iOS 16 to bring lock screen changes

OS 16 is said to be “chock full of changes” across the operating system, including some curiously-worded improvements for the lock  screen:

Mark Gurman, Bloomberg:

Personally, I don’t spend much time on my iPhone’s lock screen. I can’t remember the last time that I’ve swiped to the right on it to open the widgets panel. When I want to read through notifications, I typically unlock my phone, then view the notification panel from inside the system. I’d venture to guess my most used lock-screen feature is the flashlight button. That’s probably going to change with iOS 16 and the iPhone 14. Apple is planning major enhancements for the lock screen, including wallpapers that have widget-like capabilities.

He stops right there without revealing a bit more information about how exactly “wallpapers that have widget-like capabilities” are supported to work. Perhaps he is referring to special wallpapers designed for the iPhone 14’s rumored always-on display features though it remains unclear precisely what Gurman means by the phrase “widget-like capabilities.” Read: How to use Widgetsmith on your iPhone

Further, I’m told iOS 16 builds in future support for an always-on lock screen, something Apple was originally planning for last year’s iPhone 13. This would allow the iPhone to turn down the frame rate significantly on the lock screen and display quickly glanceable information—similar to newer Apple Watches.

Gurman’s sources claim that the always-on feature will be exclusive to iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models, which are apparently codenamed D73 and D74.

iOS 16 to bring major updates to Messages and Health

Major iOS updates always bring something new for fans of Apple’s Messages. For iOS 16, Gurman expects to see “social network-like functionality” in the Messages app, “particularly around audio messages.” Messages is the most widely used messaging software in the US, but not so much in the rest of the world where WhatsApp has a bigger footprint thanks to continual feature updates and the fact that the Meta-owned app is available for non-Apple platforms, too.

While the Health app probably won’t be expanding to the iPad and Mac, it will get plenty of new features that work with the iPhone and Apple Watch.

The Health app must be updated every year to keep pace with new fitness and health features in watchOS, so this year will be no different. We are certainly disappointed that the Health app, which has been pretty great so far if you’re into improving your well-being, will not have an interface optimized for bigger screens because that would make browsing and exploring your workout metrics, trends and historic data that much easier and more enjoyable. Perhaps next year, then…

When will the iOS 16 public beta launch?

Gurman listed a few other noteworthy changes coming to the iPhone operating system, such as improvements to notifications, major changes to windowing and multitasking on the iPad and significant updates to the stock Messages and Health apps. Apple will publicly preview iOS 16 and other updates at this year’s WWDC, a weeklong conference that kicks off in an online format with Apple’s June 6 keynote.

Early adopters will be able to test-drive iOS 16 when the first public beta of the software is released sometime in July. Later this fall, Apple should release iOS 16, iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9 and macOS 13 to the general public.