By Nathalie Voit

Apple kicked off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in Cupertino, California, on June 6 by introducing iOS16, its latest version of the iOS mobile operating system that powers iPhone devices.

iOS16 features several new features that set it apart from older versions, including a personalized lock screen, a shared iCloud photo library, expanded iMessage options, an improved Mail app, and new parental control features.

Perhaps the biggest changes unveiled at the conference are coming to the Lock Screen, Apple said. In iOS16, the Lock Screen has been fully redesigned to enable users to create multiple personalized Lock Screens and easily shuffle between their favorites throughout the day.

With a new multilayered effect for wallpapers, users can place the photo’s subject in front of the time to create a sense of depth. Users can also alter the aesthetic of the date and time using a range of type styles and color options.

The new Lock Screen will feature widgets inspired by the existing Apple Watch interface. With widgets enabled on the Lock Screen, users can gather information at a glance about upcoming calendar events, the weather, battery levels, alarms, time zones, Activity ring progress, and more.

Users can track events happening in real-time with Live Activities. For instance, users can stay on top of their workout or get notifications about their Grubhub food delivery order or Uber ride without having to unlock their phone or scroll through the Lock Screen.

Notifications on the Lock Screen in iOS16 have also been redesigned to roll up from the bottom so that they don’t cover up the background photo when the device is locked, Apple said.

In addition to a whole new Lock Screen experience, iOS16 introduces a range of new updates to iMessage, including the ability to edit or “unsend” recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark entire conversation threads as unread. According to Apple, these options were among the most requested features from users.

SharePlay will also expand to the Messaging App so users can enjoy synced content like movies or shows with friends while chatting about it remotely.

In addition to giving users more control over their messages, a revamped Mail App will enable users to schedule emails ahead of time and resurface a message in the future with Remind Later. Follow Up suggestions remind users to follow up on a mail if they have not received a response.

The new Mail app will also feature an improved search function to deliver more relevant and accurate search results.

Apple also said Live Text will get enhanced capabilities in iOS16. The feature will expand to recognize text in video as well as images. Users can pause a video on any frame and interact with the text. Live Text will also feature Visual Look Up, a new tool that can recognize human subjects from images.

With the new Apple Pay Later feature in Wallet, users in the U.S. will be able to securely split payments into four equal installments spread over six weeks. Apple says the feature is completely free of charge.

iOS 16 is expected to roll out to iPhone users in September 2022.

Click here to check out all the new software updates.