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Report: New iOS 16 Focus mode changes will break compatibility with iOS 15

Ios 15 Focus Hero
Ios 15 Focus Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is reportedly making big changes to Focus mode in iOS 16.
  • The changes coming to iOS 16 will reportedly stop some modes from working on iOS 15 devices.
  • Changes to Apple News look set to require iOS 16.

Apple's upcoming iOS 16 update will reportedly make such big changes to the way Focus mode works that it will break compatibility with devices running older versions of the system software.

Recent reports already suggested that Apple will expand on existing notification systems when iOS 16 is announced during WWDC22, but a new report points to such big changes coming to Focus mode that support for iOS 15 will be lost. The same appears to apply to iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey, too.

9to5Mac reports that details found in the latest macOS 12.4 beta appear to point to a lack of backward compatibility for Focus modes that are used on iOS 16.

The following text is said to be displayed when warning people that an iOS 16 Focus mode won't work on older software:

Using an allowed list for this Focus will cause these settings to be lost on your other devices with newer software.A device with newer software has updated this Focus to use a new configuration this device doesn't support. To continue editing notifications on this device, update to the latest software or use an allowed list for this Focus.

Apple is expected to announce iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13, watchOS 9, and tvOS 16 during its WWDC event opening keynote on June 6. None of the updates are likely to be released until much later in the year, however, with past experience suggesting that September and October are the likely release months.

The same report also suggests that changes to the Apple News app will also impact those using devices that have not been updated to iOS 16. Similar messages will say that "News is no longer fully supported on older devices" or that devices need to be updated to see specific content.

Oliver Haslam
Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.