Apple announced iOS 16 during the WWDC 2022 keynote. The upcoming software for iPhones is full of new features, but there are a few that are going to be extra nice when you can get your hands on iOS 16 later this fall. Here are the five best features of this upcoming operating system.
Edit, unsend, and unread Messages on iOS 16.
iOS 16 is bringing some major improvements to iMessage. When it’s available to all users, you’ll have 15 minutes to edit or unsend any messages. This is very useful for when you misspelled a word or send the wrong message to the wrong person.
Unread, on the other hand, is useful to help you keep track on what messages you want to answer later. It’s important to notice that at least edit and unsend message features will need all devices to be running iOS 16, iPadOS 16, macOS 13 Ventura, or watchOS 9.
A brand new Lock Screen to your current iPhone
The most important feature of iOS 16 – or at least the most noticeable – is the new Lock Screen. It offers a handful of new customization, letting you edit the Lock Screen almost any way you want.
It’s easy to customize the font, color, or placement of elements on your Lock Screen by tapping them. With multilayered photo effect, photo subjects are dynamically displayed in front of the time to make the subject of the photo pop.
In addition, you can also add, for the first time, widgets to the Lock Screen in iOS 16 — and not only widgets made by Apple, but third-party widgets as well.
Live Text in video is groundbreaking.
Live Text was already great with iOS 15. You could grab information from a photo by selecting the text available, a telephone or address, for example.
Now, with Live Text in videos, text is completely interactive in paused video frames, so you can use functions like copy and paste, lookup, and translate.
In addition, Live Text with iOS 16 adds recognition of Japanese, Korean, and Ukrainian text. Last but not least, data detected in photos and videos is actionable with a single tap. Track flights or shipments, translate foreign languages, convert currencies, and more.
Focus Mode is getting even more useful in iOS 16.
With iOS 15, I said Focus Mode was the most important feature of the update. Now, this function is getting even better.
For example, the Lock Screen can link with your Focus Mode. So if you’re working, your Lock Screen will reflect the Focus set.
With Focus filters, you can set Apple apps like Calendar, Mail, Messages, and Safari to draw boundaries for each Focus you enable. In addition, you can have a Focus turn on automatically at a set time or location, or while using a certain app, which is more useful than just a particular time.
For a passwordless future, meet Passkeys in iOS 16.
Passkeys plans to replace passwords with an easier and safer sign-in method by using your face or fingerprint with Face ID/Touch ID.
It’s protected agains phishing and website leaks, since passkeys never leave your device and are specific to the site you created them for, making it almost impossible for them to be phished or hacked.
In addition, Passkeys syncs across devices and lets you sign in to other devices. Apple says that it is trying to reach an industry standard so you can sign in to websites or apps on other devices, including non-Apple devices, with your saved passkey by scanning the QR code with your iPhone or iPad and using Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate.
After over a month of beta testing, Apple has released iOS 15.5 RC to developers and public beta users. This suggests that the updates could be released to the public as soon as sometime next week. Head below for the full release notes…
iOS 15.5 new features
Apple says that iOS 15.5 makes enhancements to Apple Cash, with support for more easily requesting and sending money from the Apple Cash card in the Wallet app. There’s also a new feature in Apple Podcasts to help preserve your iPhone’s storage space and some bug fixes for HomeKit.
Here are the full release notes for iOS 15.5 according to Apple:
iOS 15.5 includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
Wallet now enables Apple Cash customers to send and request money from their Apple Cash card
Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
Fixes an issue where home automations, triggered by people arriving or leaving, may fail
As a reminder, the “Release Candidate” name usually indicates that this will be the final beta of iOS 15.5 before it’s released to everyone. This is why Apple also concurrently publishes the full release notes of the update.
Here are some other changes in iOS 15.5 we’ve spotted so far, not mentioned in Apple’s release notes:
iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature [Video]
iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases
iOS 15.5 hints at Bancomat and Bancontact on Apple Pay
Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features: Wallet updates & handy new HomePod feature
Apple released iOS 15.5 and iPadOS 15.5 beta to developers, and it’s likely that the public beta release isn’t far behind. While not packed with new features and changes like iOS 15.4, this latest beta release comes with a modest amount of updates and enhancements.
What’s new in iOS 15.5 beta 1?
New Request and Send buttons for Apple Cash in Wallet app.
Physical Apple Card now called ‘Titanium Card’ in Wallet settings.
Apple Pay has been rebranded as ‘Apple Cash’ Messages app.
Rebrand of iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app.
New Wi-Fi signal bars for HomePod connectivity in Home app.
Home app now features a permissions notification for Critical Alerts.
Universal Control on iPadOS 15.5 requires all devices to be updated to latest betas.
Video: iOS 15.5 beta 1 changes and features
iOS 15.5 is largely focused on Wallet app-related enhancements and changes, so there are no huge standout user-facing features to be found here. However, having Wi-Fi signal strength indicators within the Home app for HomePods is a nice improvement. This change could make it easier to decide on how best to arrange a physical network and corresponding HomePod devices scattered around a home. It can also help with troubleshooting HomePods that aren’t properly connecting to the network.
Even if your HomePod is running 15.4, and not the latest 15.5 beta, you can still see the Wi-Fi signal strength within the Home app. Previously, the Wi-Fi network section of the HomePod preferences only showed the SSID. For HomePods in a stereo pair, you’ll have to venture into the Speakers panel to access the settings for each individual HomePod. If there are any connectivity issues, that will be reflected by an exclamation point on the Wi-Fi signal indicator, as shown below.
iOS 15.5 includes support for apps with external purchases to satisfy regulators, code confirms
Apple was recently required to let developers redirect users to third-party payment platforms instead of using the App Store’s in-app purchases system.
The latest beta version of Apple’s operating system has full support for the new entitlement used by apps to indicate that they let users make external purchases. For instance, if the user deletes an app that offers external purchases, iOS will show an alert saying that it is not possible to manage purchases and subscriptions through the App Store.
While the App Store lets users manage all their purchases in a single place, Apple has no control over what users buy outside of its platform – so it’s important to have a reminder to users.
External purchases from [app’s name] may still exist. You cannot manage or cancel any external purchases through the App Store. For more information, contact the developer.
Apple is implementing another alert that will show up when the user opens an app that offers external purchases for the first time. However, it’s worth noting that this feature won’t be available for every app.
The App Store guidelines make it clear that “External Link Account Entitlement” is only available for “Reader apps,” which are apps that offer digital content such as magazines, books, songs, or video. Another requirement is that the app can’t offer in-app purchases using Apple’s platform. Still, each request must be approved by Apple.
In the Netherlands, dating apps can continue to use Apple’s in-app purchases system along with a third-party payment system or an external link due to a requirement from the Dutch regulator.
iOS 15.5 beta 2 hints at Apple Pay support for Bancomat and Bancontact networks
Apple released the second beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t bring any significant new features, it does hint at some changes Apple has been working on under the hood.
For those unfamiliar, Bancomat (an Italian company) and Bancontact (from Belgium) are interbank networks similar to Mastercard and Visa. Right now, cards issued by these networks are not compatible with Apple Pay, but it seems that this is about to change.
Internal codes from iOS 15.5 beta 2 reveal that Apple is working with both networks to make their cards compatible with Apple Pay, which is Apple’s digital payments platform. It’s unclear when exactly support for these cards will be announced to the public, but we assume it will happen sometime after the release of iOS 15.5.
Apple is also working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card.” This card will be shown in the Wallet app with the balance on the user’s Apple ID, and it can be used for purchases in the Apple Store, App Store, and app subscriptions.
With today’s beta, more code related to the Apple Account Card has been added to the system, which corroborates that this feature will also be introduced soon.
Apple to rebrand iTunes Pass in Wallet app with iOS 15.5
Apple has just released the first beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while we’re still looking for what’s new in today’s update, Apple has been working to rebrand iTunes Pass as “Apple Account Card” in the Wallet app with iOS 15.5.
If you buy an Apple Gift Card or add money to your Apple ID, the balance can be used to buy products in the Apple Store as well as apps, songs, movies, and subscriptions.
Currently, users can check this balance by going to the App Store or by adding the iTunes Pass to the Wallet app. At the same time, this pass has a QR Code that can be used to purchase products in Apple Retail Stores. With iOS 15.5, Apple is finally revamping the iTunes Pass.
iTunes Pass will become a new card called “Apple Account.” This card will be displayed in the Wallet app just like the Apple Card and the Apple Cash card. This way, instead of having to show the QR Code when shopping at an Apple Store, the user will be able to complete the purchase using Apple Pay.
Your account balance can be used to buy products, accessories, apps, games and more online or in store with Apple Pay.
Interestingly, the Apple Account card will have a parallax effect in the Wallet app, just like the Apple Card and Apple Cash card. The feature is currently disabled even for beta users, but it will likely be officially announced with the public release of iOS 15.5.
iOS 15.5 beta blocks ‘Sensitive Locations’ for Memories in Photos app
Apple released the third beta of iOS 15.5 to developers, and while the update doesn’t seem to have any significant changes, Apple has made an interesting tweak to its native Photos app. The system will now block “Sensitive Locations” for Memories in the Photos app.
For those unfamiliar, Memories is a feature of the Photos app on iOS and macOS that recognizes people, places, and events in your photo library to automatically create “curated collections” with a slideshow. Since this feature is entirely based on machine learning, Apple has now made some changes to the app to avoid creating some unwanted memories.
The Photos app now has a list of “Sensitive Locations,” so that any photos taken there will never be added to a memory. Interestingly, all the places banned in this version are related to the Holocaust.
Here’s the list of places that are blocked from the Memories feature in the Photos app with iOS 15.5 beta 3:
Yad Vashem Memorial
Dachau concentration camp
US Holocaust Museum
Majdanek concentration camp
Berlin Holocaust Memorial
Belzec extermination camp
Anne Frank House
Sobibor extermination camp
Treblinka extermination camp
Chelmno-Kulmhof extermination camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp
Each location has latitude, longitude, and radius assigned, so that the Photos app will ignore images taken at these locations when creating new memories. Of course, Apple can update this list with new places with future iOS updates.
iOS 15.5 beta also brings changes to the Wallet app and reveals upcoming changes to Apple Pay.
Apple could very well never adopt the Touch ID sensor on its flagship iPhones again, but since the pandemic started more than two years ago, rumors about this possibility ramped up. Now, with iOS 15.4 set to be released in a few weeks now, Apple shows how it could focus on Face ID for the indefinite future.
Don’t get me wrong, Touch ID was a breakthrough feature when it launched with the iPhone 5s: fast, secure, and easy to use, but everything changed when Apple introduced Face ID with the iPhone X.
At the time, the company said it was two years ahead of the competition, but five years since the iPhone X launched, it still looks like Apple is, at least, half a decade ahead of its competitors about facial recognition.
Sure, the embedded fingerprint sensor has gotten better, but the easiest – and the safest – way to unlock your device is by looking at it. And although Apple took a while, it’s finally launching a simple solution that makes Face ID usable again with eye recognition.
It’s funny to think that while iOS 14.5 was a big update to iPhone users – as it brought the ability to unlock the iPhone with the Apple Watch – it’s once again launching an important software feature as. a mid-year release. This upcoming operating system will give users the ability to unlock their iPhones while wearing a mask, without the need for an Apple Watch or other device in addition to your iPhone.
As Apple explains, the TrueDepth system tries to “recognize the unique features around the eye to authenticate” your face. With the Apple Watch unlock feature, on the other hand, the TrueDepth system recognizes someone is wearing a mask, that the Apple Watch is near, and then the iPhone is unlocked. Since it only recognizes a mask and not the person, this is why you couldn’t authenticate third-party apps or pay with Apple Pay before.
Face ID with a mask works – and it’s great
Now, with the beta version of iOS 15.4, You can use Face ID again on the street. You can access email app, WhatsApp, and other apps that require facial recognition with ease. Not only that, but I can also pay with Apple Pay again using my phone.
Of course, in the perfect world, Apple still recommends you use full facial recognition, but as we still have to wear masks everywhere, it’s very convenient to have the TrueDepth system scanning your eyes.
The new Face ID function continues to be as reliable as always. No one can unlock your iPhone by mistake, and the TrueDepth system usually recognizes your eyes rapidly.
It finally looks like Apple found the right approach to deal with Face ID and masks.
Touch ID rumors will die. Even though it was reported that Apple tested an embedded fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 13, Face ID is one of the functions that makes Apple shine when compared to its competitors.
Not only that, but the company keeps pushing for Face ID recognition. Rumors for the iPhone 14 show that Apple is planning a new notch by hiding some TrueDepth sensors. It shows that the company is indeed improving its facial recognition method as the only way for iPhone users to securely unlock, pay, and store information on their devices.
With iOS 15.4 being released a few weeks from now, users that don’t like to update their iPhones with beta versions will see how much this operating system makes our everyday tasks seamless again, as we shouldn’t have to worry whether we’ll be able to unlock our iPhones as fast as we used to.