Apple releases iOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9, HomePod OS 16, macOS 12.6, Safari 16, and more

iOS 16 Update Screen

Today Apple released new software for all of their devices. Most of these are the big annual upgrades, but iPad and Mac are minor with the major annual upgrades slated for next month.

  • iOS 16 for iPhone is the big annual upgrade with lots of new features
  • watchOS 9 for Apple Watch is the big annual upgrade with lots of new features
  • tvOS 16 for Apple TV is the big annual upgrade, though there are only a spattering of new features mostly related to HomeKit
  • HomePod OS 16 for HomePod is the big annual upgrade though there are no new published features
  • Safari 16 with website setting sync as well as improvements to Tab Groups and password management, available for macOS 11 Big Sur and macOS 12 Monterey
  • macOS 12.6 is a minor bug and security update for Mac, likely the last update to be released before macOS 13 Ventura is released next month
  • macOS 11.7 is a minor bug and security update for Mac, intended for people who are still running macOS Big Sur
  • iPadOS 15.7 is a minor bug and security update for iPad, likely the last update to be released before iPadOS 16 is released next month
  • iOS 15.7 is a minor bug and security update for iPhone and iPod Touch intended for users who decide not to upgrade to iOS 16 yet or who are unable to upgrade because their devices are not compatible (iPhone 7, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE 1st gen, iPod Touch 7th gen)

These upgrades bring many exciting new features, but a few of the previously announced features are coming later. In recent years Apple has shifted to releasing the core framework with some new features and then trickling in other major features through the coming year when they are ready.

This is a partial list of new features, most of which apply just to iPhone (will apply to Mac with next month’s macOS Ventura upgrade). There are literally hundreds of tiny changes throughout that aren’t listed below.

  • Redesigned Lock Screen with multiple photos, widgets, font and color choices and more
  • Focus gets lots of new features such as the ability to disable specific accounts or change to a different Lock Screen
  • Unsend or edit iMessages
  • SharePlay now available in iMessage, so you don’t have to be in a FaceTime call to watch media together
  • Send Later, Undo Send, Remind Me in Mail
  • Shared Tab Groups in Safari allows you to surf and research with others
  • Passkey support (in collaboration with Microsoft, Google, Firefox, and others) may mean an end to passwords, once websites begin to support it
  • “Hey Siri what can I do here?” shows you different things Siri can do in any particular place in your iPhone
  • “Hey Siri hang up” can now hang up phone calls
  • New dictation mode allows you to use a hybrid of dictation and typing, or edit while talking
  • Automatic punctuation in dictation
  • Multi-stop routing in Maps
  • Order tracking in Apple Wallet on supported sites
  • Medication tracking in Health
  • Redesigned Home app gets you to your smart home devices much more quickly
  • Safety Check allows someone in an abusive relationship to quickly remove access to personal information
  • Duplicate Detection for Contacts and Photos
  • Manage groups in Contacts
  • Handoff phone and FaceTime calls between devices
  • See the WiFi password for your currently connected network

Features you may have heard about that will be coming in a later update to iOS 16 include:

  • iCloud Shared Photo Library will allow people to edit and manage a subset of their photos together
  • Freeform will allow people to collaborate in a whiteboard interface
  • Updated Home App architecture will allow HomeKit to operate faster and more reliably (the new Home App UI, however, is in the initial release of iOS 16)
  • Matter support for supported home automation devices
  • Live Activities will allow apps to show current status on your lock screen or Dynamic Island such as your Uber arrival, Seamless delivery, or sports scores
  • Clean Energy Charging optimizes charging times for when the grid is using more clean energy

To update