The Live Activities lock screen feature won’t be available at iOS 16 launch

Apple’s cool new Live Activities feature won’t be ready for prime time when iOS 16 launches this fall, but the company promises it’ll arrive later in 2022.

iPhone screenshot showcasing getting real-time updates from Starbucks on the lock screen with the new Live Activities feature in iOS 16
Starbucks updates as Live Activities | Composition: Christian Zibreg / iDB | Screenshot: Apple
  • What’s happening? Apple’s new Live Activities feature has been delayed and will not be available when iOS 16 launches in the fall.
  • Why care? This feature will help reduce notification overload by sharing real-time information like sports scores as live updates on the lock screen.
  • What to do? Nothing. You won’t be able to use Live Activities at launch. The best thing you can do is wait until Live Activities arrives later in the year.

Live Activities got delayed, will arrive later in 2022

News of the delay was officially confirmed in a post on the Apple Developer website, with the company acknowledging that “Live Activities and ActivityKit won’t be included in the initial public release of iOS 16.” The public release of iOS 16 is expected in September, but the Live Activities feature will miss the launch. The company simply notes that Live Activities will be publicly available “in an update”.

iPhone screenshot showcasing getting real-time workout metrics from the Nike Run Club app on the lock screen with the new Live Activities feature in iOS 16
Nike Run Club workout metrics | Composition: Christian Zibreg / iDB | Screenshot: Apple

Apple’s developer documentation for Live Activities clarifies that the relevant software update will be available “later this year” to add support for this feature. Apple previewed the new iOS 16 features during the June 6 WWDC keynote. The software update brings the biggest overhaul to the lock screen since the iPhone’s inception, and Live Activities is a big part of that.

Live Activities vs. notifications

With Live Activities, apps can deliver live sports, music and other updates to the lock screen as they happen. The goal is to bring information to the user’s attention without inundating them with a notification every time their favorite team scores. The feature is like a lock screen widget capable of showing real-time information on a wide range of things. Read: Video tips to master iPhone notifications

iPhone screenshot showcasing expanding the Now Playing control to a fullscreen view on the lock screen thanks to the Live Activities feature
Press the Now Playing live activity controls to expand album artwork to fullscreen view | Composition: Christian Zibreg / iDB | Screenshot: Apple

Other examples of live activities might include tracking your Starbuck orders, getting real-time updates on package or food delivery and more. There’s also a live activity widget for the Music app and it’s pretty interesting. You get your usual Now Playing controls but relocated to the bottom of the screen. You can press the controls to expand album artwork to the whole screen, which is pretty great.

When can developers start using the Live Activities API?

Developers who are optimizing their apps for iOS 16 haven’t been able to try out Live Activities in the first three betas. With iOS 16 beta 4, Apple’s Live Activities API is now available to developers to implement and use in their apps. Developers can now freely submit their apps with Live Activities to the App Store.