Technology

11 Amazing iOS 16 Hidden Features You Need to Try

If you followed Apple’s iOS 16 preview earlier this summer – or if you took the next step and downloaded the iOS 16 public beta on your iPhone – you probably know all about the big changes coming with this update.

Although iOS 16 is not a major overhaul like some past iPhone software updates, it certainly introduces a wide range of improvements and additions. For example, you probably know all about the updated iOS 16 lock screen and how you can customize the screen lock your iPhone with widgets. .

A number of your iPhone’s built-in apps have received new features, such as the ability to edit text in messages, share tab groups in Safari, or share photos with family and friends using the iCloud Shared Photo Library. There’s even a new Fitness app that tracks your steps without requiring you to wear an Apple Watch.

But these features are quite widely known. Here we want to focus on the hidden features of iOS 16. While these hidden features aren’t as flashy as the ability to copy text from videos with Live Text or play with iOS 16’s new Memojis add-ons, they should improve the overall iPhone experience.

And it’s definitely something you should look for when you’re running iOS 16, whether it’s the currently available public beta of iOS 16 or when the final software update arrives.

And it could be very soon. Rumor has it that the Apple event will take place on September 7th and the iPhone 14 with iOS 16 should be released shortly thereafter. This means that only a few weeks are left before the release of iOS 16. Here are the hidden features of iOS 16 that you should pay attention to.

Manage timers from your iPhone’s lock screen

iOS 16 introduces a type of widget known as “Live Actions” designed to keep you up to date with current events. For example, request a ride on a shared service and the Live Action widget will help you know the location of the driver. Sports updates are also prime candidates for Live Activity widgets.

The problem is that this feature won’t come until after the launch of iOS 16, as it takes time for app developers to update their software and create widgets that use this feature. But the iOS 16 beta gives us an idea of ​​how Live Actions will work with the Timer widget that appears on your iPhone’s lock screen when you have a timer running through the Clock app.

A photo of the iOS 16 timer lock screen widget.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The widget does more than just show how much time is left until the countdown. You also have controls to pause and stop the timer completely right from the lock screen. In previous versions of iOS, you needed to unlock your phone to manage the timer. It also helps that the timer display is much larger than before.

My colleague Richard Pridey says this timer widget is a game changer for him. I certainly think this makes life much easier in iOS 16, which should be the goal of most operating system improvements.

Public transport fares are displayed on Maps

The ability to plan routes with multiple stops is a big addition to iOS 16 Maps, but don’t sleep on the app’s public transportation improvements. If you add your transit card to the Wallet app, you can see your remaining balance and even top up that balance right from the Maps app.

iOS 16 Maps Public transport fares displayed on routes

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

And you’ll know how much money you need to have on your transit card thanks to yet another iOS 16 addition—fares are now displayed when you’re planning a public transit route. You can even switch between transit card and cash fares so you know the true cost of your trip.

Cancel sending emails in Mail

You probably know that you can unsend a text in iOS 16 Messages. (After you send a text, you have a 2-minute window during which you can delete that message.) Mail adds a similar feature to iOS 16, allowing you to undo any email that you may have sent too hastily.

iOS 16 Mail Undo Send Mail Settings

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The window for unsending mail is smaller than for text messages, but is more flexible. In the Mail settings, you can choose 10-, 20-, and 30-second windows for unsending any email. You can also turn this feature off completely if you don’t think you need it.

While we’re on the subject of email, iOS 16 Mail introduces a range of composing tools, such as alerting you if you forgot to enter a recipient or attachment, or setting reminders to come back to read emails later. However, my favorite addition is the ability to insert rich links into the body of an email.

Mail Rich Links iOS 16

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Rich links provide a preview of the URL you’ll add, so instead of a line of text, your recipients will get a website thumbnail and a short description. This way, the people you send messages to will have a better idea of ​​what’s in store for them when they click on the link.

Photos get a folder for duplicates

The shared iCloud Photo Library grabs all the headlines, but there are actually a few changes in iOS 16 Photos, many of which are related to image editing and managing your photo library. This is the last thing my favorite photo enhancement solves – a folder containing duplicate images.

Duplicate Photos Folder iOS 16

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

In the “Duplicates” folder, you can merge matching pictures. Photos will combine any captions, keywords and other data into one photo. It’s a great way to clean up your library and free up some extra space on your iPhone.

Photo folder protection

iOS 16 has another great photo management improvement that includes a security layer for a couple of folders. The Hidden Photos folder, which hides private pictures from prying eyes, may now require you to use Face ID or Touch ID to unlock the folder. This unlock feature is also available in the Recently Deleted folder.

iOS 15 vs iOS 16 Hidden Folders

Photos in iOS 16 (right) compared to how they look in iOS 15 (left) (Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

You will understand at a glance that there are additional security measures in place. Both folders now have a padlock icon next to them, telling you that an additional level of authentication is required to open.

Quick note comes to iOS 16

Both macOS and iPadOS have a Quick Note feature that lets you quickly jot down thoughts as they arise. iOS 16 brings this capability to the iPhone, and while we can argue about how slick the implementation is, it’s still a welcome way to gather your thoughts without having to fire up the Notes app.

Quick note on iOS 16

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

You can launch Quick Note from the icon on your iPhone’s Command Center screen. (You’ll need to go to Settings and edit the Control Center to enable this icon first.) Then, simply swipe down to access the Control Center, tap the Quick Note icon, and let your thoughts flow freely.

Quick note on iOS 16

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Also, when you’re in another app like Safari or Photos, you can tap the Share icon. The next shared sheet will have a new Add to Quick Note command that allows you to create a new note or edit an existing one.

Lock notes with a password

iOS 16 Notes

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

If you want to secure a note in the iOS 16 Notes app, you no longer have to worry about coming up with and remembering a separate passcode. The iOS 16 version of Notes lets you use the same passcode you use to unlock your phone. I wouldn’t keep state secrets this way, but at least it’s a quick and convenient way to increase the security of your favorite notes.

Siri knows punctuation in iOS 16

I don’t care that the Pixel 6 could already do this long before one of Apple’s phones, but the iOS 16 version of Siri is now smart enough to recognize when to add punctuation when you’re dictating text or an email. This allows you to compose a message without verbally specifying any punctuation marks.

iOS 16 Siri Dictation with Punctuation

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

In my experience, this function can get a little buggy, especially with question marks. However, you can always use the on-screen keyboard to go back and correct a typo.

Siri can automatically send text messages

When I’m driving but need to send a message to someone, I keep my eyes on the road and keep my hands on the wheel as I dictate text messages to Siri. When I finish speaking, Siri asks if I’m ready to send a message. This is sometimes a welcome defense against sending a garbled message in case Siri didn’t catch every word to the last word. But for simple yes or no answers, or other not-so-complex messages, this is an unnecessary step.

iOS 16 Siri automatically sends texts

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

In iOS 16, you can ask Siri to just send dictated text messages if you’re sure the assistant heard what you said. Just go to “Settings” and turn on the “Send Messages Automatically” toggle under “Siri & Search”. There will be a slight delay in case you want to review the text before sending it, but otherwise Siri will take care of your text messages without asking you beforehand.

Adjust how long Siri waits for you to finish speaking

An iOS 16 addition I like is the ability to change the Siri pause time, which is the amount of time Siri listens to you to make sure you’re done talking. If you have a speech impediment, like my mild stutter, it’s helpful to give yourself a little more time to give voice commands so that your phone’s assistant doesn’t always interrupt you.

iOS 16 adjusts Siri pause time

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

You’ll find the new feature in the Accessibility section of Settings. Just tap Siri and choose the pause time you want – Default, Longer, or Longer. And then you can enjoy a voice assistant that is finally ready to listen to whatever you have to say.

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