iOS 16 update tracker: release date, beta download, features, supported devices, and more

iOS 16 final version will start rolling out to compatible devices later this year

iOS 16 is the new software that Apple announced for its iPhones at WWDC 2022. It is counted as one of the biggest iOS updates in years, owing to the array of features it tags along. The iOS 16 features list includes a new Lock Screen customization, better notification organizing, and many others. Other than that, the update also focuses on deeper intelligence and new and improved ways to share things with your families and friends. The iOS 16 beta update is now available for download, while the final release should start rolling out to compatible devices later this year. Since there’s a lot to check out, here’s a roundup of everything you need to know about iOS 16, including its release date, features, supported devices, and more.

iOS 16 release date

Apple is expected to roll out iOS 16 to supported devices following the iPhone 14 series launch. The latter could be unveiled as early as September. That said, iOS 16 is available to developers and public beta testers right now. It’s in the testing phase and would include a bunch of bugs and issues. We wouldn’t recommend downloading the iOS 16 beta on your primary device, but if you got to do, follow the process below:

iOS 16 beta download: How to install iOS 16 beta on supported devices

  • Backup your iPhone data first. You don’t want to lose your files and folders while installing the iOS 16 beta
  • After this, head over to  Apple’s Developer Program enrollment website using your iPhone
  • Tap on the two-line icon and choose Account. Sign in with your Apple ID to proceed
  • Once you are through, hit the two-line icon again and select Downloads
  • Swipe down and hit the Install Profile button under iOS 16 beta –> allow the profile to download on your device
  • Now, launch the Settings app –> tap on Profile Downloaded under Apple ID banner –> select install
  • You will be asked to enter your iPhone passcode. Enter it and proceed to installation
  • After the profile is installed, go to Software Update –> select Download and Install –> and choose Install Now to load up the iOS 16 beta on your device. That’s it!

iOS 16 supported devices

Here is the list of iPhones eligible for the iOS 16 update:

  • iPhone 13 series
  • iPhone SE 5G and second-gen
  • iPhone 12 series
  • iPhone 11 series
  • iPhone Xs
  • iPhone Xs Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus

Apple dropped support for both iPhone 6s and 7 series and hence you won’t be seeing the iOS 16 update in these devices as well as the iPhones released before them.

iOS 16 features

The iOS 16 comes with a long list of features, which includes a revamped lock screen, message editing, improved Safari and Mail app, among other things. Here’s a quick look at some of the notable features of the new OS:

India specific features

iOS 16 brings better support for Indian users. Now with Siri, you can set alarms, and timers, launch apps, get directions, play music, and check the weather in English or local languages.

Lock Screen

With iOS 16, Apple has brought major customisation options to the lock screen. You can now create multiple lock screens on your iPhone, each with different wallpaper, time font, focus mode, and widgets. Not only that, you can switch between these lock screens according to your preference. Other than the option to customise the lock screen clock style and font, the clock detects the depths of the subjects on the wallpaper image and displays the time overlapping dynamically over some of these depths. Additionally, iOS 16 lock screen supports Photos Shuffle, Widgets, and notification stacking.

Photos

Other than the ability to lock hidden albums and recently deleted albums. It also detects duplicate photos so that you can clear out the unwanted photos and free up iCloud storage. What’s more, the Photos app can now copy the edits you’ve made previously to a photo and paste them onto another one. It can also Lift subjects from the background on portrait images or in images where subjects can be detected easily. Other than in Photos, this feature is also available in Screenshot, Quick Look, Safari, and many other supported apps. This feature not only works on people but on various other subjects.

Messages

Apple’s default messaging app now supports message editing, undo send, and mark as read option. The iOS 16 beta 4 update limits editing to five times for a given message with the available 15 minutes, and has shrunk the unsend window from 15 minutes to just two. Additionally, the deleted messages can be retrieved within 30 days after removing them. Other than that, the Message app also gets features such as SharePlay, Collaboration, and SIM filter. The latter can be used to view SMS of a particular SIM if your iPhone has two numbers. As for Collaboration, it allows you to send an invitation to collaborate on a project to people, and everyone on the thread can add their contributions such as documents, spreadsheets, or projects.

Another great feature that you will get with Messages in iOS 16 is the support for event reminders. Based on your messages, if there are any events, Siri will remind you about them through Siri Suggestions. 

Passkeys

Passkeys is another great feature available in iOS 16. It is a private virtual key that offers an easy sign-in to different websites. With Passkeys, you can be safe from Phishing since Passkeys won’t allow storing the passwords on websites, preventing any chances of your password being leaked. The feature isn’t limited to Apple devices and can be accessed on even non-Apple devices.

Mail

With iOS 16, it’s evident Apple wants its mail app to be as good or even better than its competitors. We now get features such as smart corrections that correct typos while you search for something in the app, better search results, and many others. Other than that, if you have mentioned any attachments or recipients in the mail, and if you miss adding them, the app will inform you about that before sending the mail.

Another great feature is the ability to undo, schedule, and set reminders for emails. The mail app now also supports rich links, so that you don’t waste time wondering what’s on the other side of the link you received in a mail.

Safari

Safari in iOS 16 supports Tab groups where the tabs can be grouped, according to preference. You can also share these tab groups with others and can let others work on them. Additionally, the tab group now has a dedicated start page, with customisable options. Apart from that, tabs in the tab groups can be pinned.

Other features added to Safari

  • A new extension API that lets developers create different types of Safari web extensions. There is also the improved sync feature that syncs all of your Safari extensions as well as the website settings across all of your Apple devices.
  • Safari now gets support for webpage translation in these languages: Turkish, Thai, Vietnamese, Polish, Indonesian, and Dutch. Other than that, you can also now translate the images using Live Text. 
  • Safari now suggests passwords depending on the sites
  • There is also a new option to manage your Wi‑Fi passwords in settings. 

Siri

Other than the features such as easy shortcut set up, and the ability to automatically send messages and add emojis in texts, when you ask Siri “Hey Siri, what can I do here” after opening any app, it will tell the things it can do related to that app. Oh, and you can now hang up your Phone and FaceTime calls with Siri. All you have to say is “Hey Siri, hang up”. That said, other participants of the call will be able to hear you.

Siri also gets offline support and the option to adjust how long Siri waits for you to finish speaking before it can respond. 

Health and Fitness

One big feature that Apple added with iOS 16 is the ability to track medications. You can keep track of your medications, vitamins and supplements and can also add custom visuals and schedules to remember them. 

You can also share your medication data with anyone, but only you can control the data. Apart from the health app, Apple is also bringing the Fitness app to all iPhones compatible with iOS 16, where you can track your fitness data even if you don’t have an Apple Watch. 

Privacy and Security

This time Apple brings Safety check, a new section in Settings where you can revoke access you have given to others to your apps. There is also the Pasteboard permission, where apps need to get permission from you before accessing your pasteboard. You can also lock the Hidden and Recently Deleted albums, which can only be unlocked using Face ID, Touch ID, or your passcode.

Speaking of FaceID, it works in landscape mode as well with iOS 16. A huge relief for many who use their iPhone while in bed.

Facetime

Facetime also gets many features including Handoff where you can seamlessly continue your calls between your iPhone to your Mac or iPad and vice versa. Even your connected Bluetooth headset switches to the new device along with you.

There is also now support for SharePlay app discovery within the app where you can see all the apps that supports SharePlay. Apple also added a collaboration feature to the app where you can start collaborating with others through Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, Safari, and supported third‑party apps while in a call.

Spotlight

Spotlight now can be accessed directly from the home screen. It has also got improved search capabilities where it will show data from apps, contacts, or even from the web. What’s best is that it can even search for images from apps such as Messages, Notes, and Files.

  • Quick actions: Now, you can make Spotlight do quick actions such as start a timer, turn on a Focus, find the name of a song using Shazam, run shortcuts, and many more. To make quick actions, search the app’s name on Spotlight and you will see the actions available. 
  • See sports events updates: You can see updates on various sports events.

iCloud Shared Photo Library

The main features brought to iCloud with iOS 16 include the ability to share your photo libraries with any of your friends and families. You can also share photos based on the date, people, and many other options. The library also has the option to share the images automatically.

Other features

  • MapsNow you can add Multi-stop routing along your driving route in Maps. You can do multiple stops on your Mac and then sync it to your iPhone or do it directly from the Maps app.
  • Key sharing: You can share your security keys with the people you want to.
  • DictationDictation changes the entire way with which you send messages or add texts. It also adds commas, periods, emojis, and question marks where it’s needed. You can start dictation by taping the dictation icon on the keyboard.
  • Family SharingYou can now set up an account for a child with the required right parental controls. If the kids want to get extra screen time, they can request it through messages, and it’s upon the parents to approve it or not.
  • Game Center: New redesigned dashboard where you can see your friends’ play activity and achievements.
  • Keyboard hapticsKeyboard haptics is another long-awaited feature that fans were asking to bring to the default keyboard app and Apple finally heard the fans with iOS 16.