The first thing that Apple revealed at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote was iOS 16. This is a big release that brings even more customization features (FINALLY!) to the Lock Screen, as well as other improvements to Messages, Mail, Family Sharing, and more.
However, amid all of the major new features, there are still some smaller features that didn't get the same amount of love on the big screen at Apple Park. Here are some new features in iOS 16 that you may have missed among the WWDC hype.
Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas. While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.
Better tools for the Mail app
During the keynote, Apple showed off new features for the Messages app that people have clamored over for years: edit messages and undo sent messages, and even mark entire conversation threads as unread to come back to later. But Apple didn't show off the new capabilities that the Mail app also got, which can definitely help you become more productive with email.
New tools in Mail include scheduling emails ahead of time, so you won't be disturbing someone when it's the middle of the night, or even if they're in a different time zone across the world. Another useful feature in the Mail app is the ability to cancel delivery of a message before it reaches the recipient's inbox. This is something that you can do in the Gmail app, but now this will be in Apple's Mail app on your best iPhone. While Apple doesn't specifically say how long the window is open to rescind delivery of your email, I'd imagine that it's only a very brief few seconds.
Other new features include Remind Later, so you can resurface a message at a later day and time of your choosing. In a lot of third-party email apps, such as Spark, this feature has existed as "Snooze," so it's not new — it's just Apple is finally implementing it. And in my everlasting dread with dealing with dozens of PR emails, there will be a Follow Up suggestion in Mail to remind users to follow up on an email if there has yet to be a response. Search has been improved too.
Better Wi-Fi management
As people have dived into the iOS 16 beta, there are some welcome changes coming to Wi-Fi options. First, you'll finally be able to see Wi-Fi passwords for existing networks. So all those times someone asks you for the password? You'll now be able to view that information right on your iPhone, without having to go over to the router or wherever else you happen to keep that info handy. Plus, that password can be copied and pasted like other text. Handy!
The second improvement is that you'll be able to delete old networks. So you know all of those coffee shops, hotels, and. perhaps old networks from your own home? Yeah, you'll be able to remove them and de-clutter your network list in the Settings app. Huzzah!
Personalized Spatial Audio
While it made a brief appearance in the overall iOS 16 feature tiles, one could have easily glossed over the new Personalized Spatial Audio feature. This brand new feature will utilize the TrueDepth camera on the iPhone to create a personal Spatial Audio profile for the user, which results in a custom listening experience. This will be great if you plan to watch or listen to audio with a pair of headphones like AirPods Max.
Improved management of duplicate contacts
We all have them — duplicate contact cards on our iPhones. It happens over the years, and at this point, it may be too much of a hassle to delete the duplicates. iOS 16 will have system-level management in the Contacts app to help you reduce duplicate contacts. It will highlight and merge duplicate contacts together, which should help you with tidying up that digital phone book.
Hidden and Deleted albums in Photos are now locked with biometrics
Do you have pictures that you'd rather keep private from others? If so, then you should make use of the Hidden album in the Photos app. Or maybe you deleted some pictures that could be risky, and they're just sitting in the Deleted album. Previously, both of these albums were still accessible by anyone using your phone, though they're a little "hard to find" by being towards the bottom of the screen in Photos. But iOS 16 will now require Touch ID or Face ID in order to view both the Hidden and Deleted albums.
So if you have any spicy photos on your device, iOS 16 will make sure they're only accessible by you (unless you've given someone else Touch ID or Face ID access, of course).
Restrict news in the Today view in Apple News
While Apple covered some big Sports coverage in Apple News, there's something else that wasn't announced. That's right — you can restrict the news that you see on the Today screen. However, if you block news items, a blank box will be there instead as of right now.
Haptic keyboard feedback and Quick Note
We've gotten audio feedback while typing on the iOS keyboard for years. But sometimes we just need a little more. Turns out that iOS 16 has added haptic keyboard feedback, so you can make sure that each keystroke hits the mark. And finally, iOS 16 is bringing Quick Note, previously an iPadOS-only feature, to the iPhone. Perhaps it's about time for the iPhone to have an Apple Pencil of its own?
Are you excited for iOS 16?
iOS 16 looks like an exciting release that will embrace our favorite iPhones this fall. However, if you are in the Apple Developer Program, you can go download the developer beta for iOS 16 right now and test out the new features yourself! But remember, we recommend using a secondary device if you can, unless you just love to live dangerously…
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Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.
When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.