The 21 best iOS 16 features that everyone should be using

Watch our new hands-on video, or read our walkthrough showcasing 21 cool iOS 16 features that we think everyone should be using to make the most of their iPhone.

Apple on September 12, 2022, publicly released iOS 16, bringing major new iPhone features like an overhauled lock screen experience, as well as tons of refinements and quality-of-life improvements. Read: How to install iOS 16 without losing data

Even though iOS 16 doesn’t drastically change the way you interact with your iPhone, it definitely makes you more productive with features like Undo Send in Mail, the ability to edit sent messages in the Messages app and more.

Some of the new features are hard to find and others are turned off by default so you won’t know they exist. To help you get the most out of iOS 16, iDB’s video creator Michael Billig (@michael_billig) did a hands-on video walkthrough of 21 major new iOS 16 features that we wholeheartedly recommend everyone use.

1. Feel haptic feedback when typing on the keyboard

An iPhone keyboard while typing with vibrations pattern in the background

Android phones have had haptic keyboard feedback for ages, and now Apple’s joined the fray. The iPhone’s Taptic Engine can produce subtle vibrations when you’re typing on the keyboard. Off by default, the feature can be enabled in Settings → Sounds & Haptics → Keyboard Feedback, then toggle on the “Haptic” option. Read: How to get haptic feedback when using iPhone keyboard

2. Recall sent iMessages

An iPhone on a stand running the Messages app, with the contextual menu displaying options include the new Undo Send feature in iOS 16

The Messages app on iOS 16 lets you recall an iMessage for up to two minutes after sending it. Press and hold the message you want to unsend, then choose “Undo Send.” The iMessage will be deleted from both ends as long as both the sender and the recipient are using iOS 16. Read: How to unsend an iMessage

3. Edit sent iMessages

Three screenshots showing the steps to edit a sent message up to five times in iOS 16

Messages also allows you to edit an iMessage for up to fifteen minutes after sending it. As long as everyone is on iOS 16, you can edit a message instead of deleting it. To prevent misuse, recipients can see a record of all the edits you’ve made.

This is a great feature for correcting typos or minor mistakes. Simply touch and hold the message you just sent and select “Edit” from the menu. Make your edits and hit the blue check mark when done. Watch: New Messages features in iOS 16

4. Recover recently deleted Messages chats

iOS 16 introduces the ability for the Messages app to recover messages you’ve deleted from conversations. There’s now a Recently Deleted folder in Messages which functions much like its counterparts in Photos. To get to it, go to your message list and hit “Filters” in the top-left corner, then select “Recently Deleted.”

If you don’t see the button, go to Settings → Messages, scroll down to “Message Filtering” and turn on “Filter Unknown Sender.” You can undelete a message for up to 30 days. ” Read: How to recover recently deleted files from your iCloud Drive

5. Lift an image subject just like that

Demonstrating lifting the subject from an image in Safari on iOS 16. In this example, the user touches and holds their finger on a pineapple in the foreground of an image, producing a menu with the Copy Subject option.

This is one of the best new features of iOS 16, and it works like magic. Simply touch and hold the main subject on a photo until a white outline appears, then choose “Copy.” You can also use drag and drop to lift the subject from the background and drop it onto another app, such as Messages or Mail.

This feature works on iPhone XS/XR and newer, and across multiple places in iOS 16 including Photos, Visual Lookup, Search, Safari and Screenshots. Read: How to lift a photo’s subject from the background.

6. Batch edit multiple photos

Select multiple photos that you want to handle in a batch. Then press and hold on one of the selected photos, and they will be automatically be grouped together. From there, you will be presented with several options to manage this group of photos, such as Copy, Duplicate, Add to Album, or Adjust Date & Time.

7. Identify duplicates in the Photos app

iOS 16’s Photos app can detect duplicate images that are clogging your library and wasting storage space. To find duplicates, hit the “Albums” tab in Photos, then scroll down and choose “Duplicates” underneath the “Utilities” heading.

You can now review duplicates, see them in the library or choose “Merge” to delete them. Read: How to set different home and lock screen wallpapers on iOS 16.

8. Track your medication intake in Health

The Health app on iOS 16 lets you track your medication intake. You can manage all the medications you take and set notifications for when you need to take your medications, whether it be multiple times per day, once per week or as needed. If you live in the US, iOS 16 will even alert you should the system detect potential critical interactions with medications you’ve added to the Health app. Watch: Ten iOS 16 settings to change for a better iPhone experience

9. Dictate faster with enhanced Dictation

iOS 16 Dictation being used in the Messages app

iOS 16 brings a better dictation experience that lets you pause when talking and type in between dictation. You can use your voice and keyboard together to enter and edit text. Dictation automatically inserts commas, periods and questionmarks as you dictate and you can also insert emoji using your voice on iPhone XS/XR and later.

The feature must be turned on in Settings → General → Keyboard under the “Dictation” heading. To start dictating, touch the microphone icon on the keyboard. Read: How to set custom emoji as your lock screen wallpaper in iOS 16

10. Use Live Text with video

New iOS 16 features in Live Text

iOS 16 also brings updates to the system-wide Live Text feature, which uses computer vision to let you copy and paste any text from images.

Available on iPhone XS and later, Live Text now lets you copy text from a paused video and take quick actions on detected text such as converting currencies or tracking flights or shipments. To turn on Live Text for all supported languages, go to Settings → General → Language & Region. Read: How to extract text from photos and videos.

11. Customize the lock screen with widgets

iOS 16 lets you personalize your lock screens with widgets that provide glanceable information snippets from Apple apps such as Photos and Calendar and compatible third-party apps like Fantastical. Widgets are available in two sizes and you can have up to four small ones right below the clock.

You can also choose a special widget that looks like an Apple Watch complication to display information such as the date or upcoming events right above the time. Watch: Everything new for the lock screen in iOS 16

12. Enjoy fullscreen album art on the lock screen

iPhone screenshot showcasing expanding the Now Playing control to a fullscreen view on the lock screen thanks to the Live Activities feature

iOS 16’s Now Playing controls for listening to music and enjoying media can now be expanded to show fullscreen album art, which looks especially nice on the lock screen. Read: How to sync music from Mac to iPhone

13. Unsend an email in the Mail app

The Mail app on iOS 16 introduces the ability to undo the delivery of an email within a few seconds of hitting send. To revoke a sent email message, simply select “Undo Send” at the bottom of your mail list. You can also customize the delay in Settings → Mail → Undo Send Delay by choosing between ten seconds, twenty seconds or thirty seconds.

14. Schedule email delivery

New Mail features in iOS 16

iOS 16’s Mail app also lets you schedule messages to be sent at a later time. For example, you could schedule important business emails to be sent at 8am in the morning rather than in the middle of the night.

When you’re done composing an email, touch the blue “Send” arrow and pick a custom time to schedule delivery. Read: How to schedule emails with Apple Mail

15. Add multiple stops in Maps

At long last, the Maps app on iOS 16 now supports adding multiple stops. This is an awesome feature for planning more complex trips. Start by entering your destination, then hit the “Directions” button and choose “Add Stop” in the panel. You can add up to fifteen stops to your journey, manually or by asking Siri.

You can even create a route on macOS and send it wirelessly to your iPhone for turn-by-turn directions. Read: What is Look Around in Apple Maps and how to use it?

16. Create smart folders in the Notes app

New features in Notes in iOS 16

You can now use smart folders in the Notes app to organize your notes. Smart folders collect all notes that match certain tags in one place, without moving them out of the original folder you created them in. For instance, you can create smart folders for journal entries, recipes, work documents and so on.

To create one, hit the “New Folder” button, choose an account and then select the option labeled “New Smart Folder.” To convert an existing folder to a smart one, open it and touch the “More” button, then scroll down and choose “Convert to Smart Folder.” Read: How to access your Apple Notes app data on Windows

17. Pin lists to the top of the Reminders app

You can pin your lists in iOS 16’s Reminders app much in the same way you would pin your favorite chats in Messages. Pinning a list of reminders helps you quickly navigate to your favorite lists later. To pin an important list, touch and hold it, then choose the option labeled “Pin” from the menu.

Alternatively, swipe right and choose the “Pin” button. Pinned lists appear above the other lists in Reminders in the order you choose. You can have a maximum of nine pinned lists. Read: How to turn notes into reminders on iOS and macOS

18. Create reusable Reminders templates from lists

New features in Reminders app iOS 16

You can turn any list in iOS 16’s Reminders app into a template that you can reuse for things like shopping lists, routines and so on as many times as you like.

Simply open a list and touch the three-dotted button, then select “Save as Template” from the menu. Saved templates are saved as “iCloud” or “My Lists.” From there, you can edit templates, share or delete them and more. Watch: Video tips to become more productive in Apple Reminders

19. View your saved Wi-Fi passwords

macOS has always permitted you to easily see saved passwords for Wi-Fi networks, and now this feature is finally available on iPhone.

To reveal the Wi-Fi passwords for a saved network, go to Settings > Wi-Fi and hit the “ⓘ” button next to a network name, then select the “Password” field on the next screen and authenticate with Face ID, Touch ID or your passcode.

20. Mark Messages threads as unread

New iOS 16 features

This is yet another nice-to-have that could boost your messaging game. If you receive a message that you can’t respond to right away, marking it as unread is a great way to remind yourself to get back to it later. Just swipe right on a message in the list to mark it as unread or swipe right and hit the “Mark as Unread” button.

To mark multiple messages as unread at once, hit the three-dotted “More” button and choose the “Select Messages” option, then select the conversations you want to mark as unread and hit “Unread” in the bottom-left corner. Read: How to pin conversations to the top of the Messages app

21. Translate text inline using the camera

iOS 16 brings the option to translate text with the camera in the Translate app on iPhone XS/XR and later. Previously, you would take a photo of, say, a restaurant menu, then use Live Text to select text on the image and choose “Translate.”

With iOS 16’s Translate app, it’s as simple as selecting the “Camera” tab and hitting the shutter button to translate the text around you. Translated text appears inline, replacing the original. Read: How to view and delete your history in the Translate app

The secret iOS 16 features

The features we shared with you above are must-know! However, if you like to get into the nitty-gritty details, we have also rounded up a list of secret and hidden features of iOS 16.

Give it a read, or simply watch our video.