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iOS 16 – the FIRST I things set up!

It was gone midnight, but I knew it had to be done – and here is what I sorted first.

iOS 16
image courtesy of author

Finally, it’s here

June seems a helluva of a long while back, doesn’t it? Long days, the heatwave, late night walks, oh, and WWDC. It was back then, that we got our first look at what iOS 16 was to have in store for us.

Yesterday, for most of us, iOS 16 became a reality. The numerous betas are done and dusted. Now it’s time for the real-deal. I have been keeping my eye on its development over the summer, and knew this was one update I was going to install right away.

Even though Monday had turned in to a long day, I stayed up late, yup, even on a school night, and got iOS 16 installed, so I could write about it today. No time like the present, huh!

Here are the first things I set up, which I thought may be of interest to you.

Focus Filters

Being honest, filters had always confused me a little in earlier versions of iOS. But now, in iOS 16, they seem far more intuitive, simple to set up and use.

It is super easy to now only display information from certain apps, in a particular Focus Mode. Apps such as Safari, Mail, iMessage, and Calendar are prime for use in Focus Modes in iOS 16. You can set up a work mode, and chose only to see email, or messages relating to work.

Setting up is easy. Settings > Focus > Select a mode > Add Filter (you’ll find that under Focus Filters). Then, customise your Focus to meet your needs. It’s hoped that over time, these Focus filters will get even more advanced as developers catch on.

One bonus-ball I found out late last night, was that in, say, a Work Focus mode, you can micro-filter out certain people not to be able to notify you. You’ll find it under Focus > People (or Apps) > Silence notifications from.

Messages

Messages has received a fair number of new features in iOS 16.

At last, you can edit an iMessage, up to 15 minutes after sending it, but only to another iOS 16 user (for the moment at least). You’ll now also find options to undo a sent message (not available to recipients on Android), and mark messages as unread.

Deleted message are now moved to a new ‘Recently Deleted’ folder, and will stay there for 30 days. Filter to Edit > Recently Deleted.

All these features are revealed by long pressing the message bubble.

FaceTime Handoff

I have been a long-time lover of Handoff and use it almost every day. Well, in iOS 16, that feature comes to FaceTime. If you start a call on an iPhone, you can now easily hand it off to a Mac or iPad. I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s a feature I’m super keen to try out. Handoff is king!

Subject cut-out

For me, this is possibly the star of the show. All my years of Photoshop training have just disappeared in a moment, but you know what, I don’t care! The mask it creates, and the cut-out you are left with, is astonishing. The detail, even around hair, which is notoriously tricky, is brilliant…and that’s coming from a pro!

Find any picture, even from Safari, and long press it. You’ll see a little flash of lightning, and that’s it, done. From there, you can hold it and a ‘copy’ dialogue box will appear, or just drag and drop it. I have tried using it with Messages, Mail, and Twitter, and it works like a dream.

Just stunning!!

Duplicates

Duplicates can be the scourge of iOS users & devices alike. In iOS 16, (finally) the subject of clearing duplicate images and contacts has been addressed.

For photos, open the Photo app, and then tap Albums. From there, scroll down until you see the heading Utilities. Duplicates will show you how many images are duplicated firstly, and then, you have the option to merge them. This will clean up your app and save space on your device too.

To batch merge, click on ‘Select All’ at the top, and from there you are guided through what to do. Merging will keep just one version, which will combine the best bits of each image. The discarded one, will again be found in the Recently Deleted folder.

Pretty much the same procedure applies to Contacts. Open the app, and any duplicate cards will be shown at the top of the page. Again, you’ll be given the option to merge duplicates.

Lock Screen

The Lock Screen has been totally overhauled in iOS 16. Apple has introduced customisation options so, you can personalise your Lock Screen. Colours, fonts for the time, wallpapers, and even widgets are now all options to customise in iOS 16. You can also use emojis as a background too…if that’s your thing!

Editing your Lock Screen is pretty simple. Just long press the lock screen, and you’ll be given the customise options. Next, tap the + button. You’ll be given all sorts of wallpaper options. Select one of those. The next thing to do, is change the font and colour of the time and date. Simply tap, and your options will appear. Next, personalise the widgets. Click on any of the pre-populated widgets, and, your other options appear.

You can now save multiple Lock Screens as well, which you change, again, simply by long pressing the existing Lock Screen. You can also save as a pair, so your Lock Screen and Home Screen look the same (I just found out you can blur the Home Screen). Another cool addition to the Home Screen, is there is now a search bar at the bottom. Quick, simple & intuitive.

Messages & notifications scroll up from the bottom of your screen now. It’s so much less invasive this way. I didn’t think the Lock Screen would be so addictive, but, I have spent way too much time on it this morning!

Link Focus Modes

And the Lock Screen fun doesn’t end there! Once you are all set, you can link an existing Focus Mode to each saved Lock Screen. To set this up, long press on the Lock Screen, and as before, navigate to the customisation tab. From there, select your chosen Lock Screen, and finally tap on the ‘Focus’ icon.

Pinned Tabs

Safari in iOS 16 has not been left out. Open a regularly used, or favourite website. Long press on the URL, and you’ll be given the option to pin the tab. Those tabs neatly show up at the top of your Safari Home Page. It’s a great use of space, and looks good as well.

Do you use tab groups? If so, now you can now, customise a Start Page for each one, allowing for different favourites, wallpapers, and frequently visited sites. Open up a Tab Group and scroll down to the bottom of the screen to get to the ‘Edit’ button. There you can customise your home pages.

Health

iOS 16 & the Health App, just made it easier to track your medications. You can add all your medications and vitamins that you take, and iOS 16 will helpfully send you notifications, making sure that you’re taking them regularly and on time. If you are an Apple Watch wearer, you can mark your meds as taken, from your Apple Watch. iOS 16 will also warn you of any potential harm, or risk, of drugs you are taking together. All settings are found in the revamped Health app.

Wrapping up

I am still playing with iOS 16 myself, but just wanted to give you my first impressions. So far, it is one of the best upgrades I can recall with any iOS. They are knocking it out of the park left, right & centre. Once I have had more time with it, I shall be back here with my findings.

In the meantime, for a super-detailed unpacking of iOS 16, check out this brilliant walkthrough from Juli Clover at MacRumors

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