iOS 16 lock screen upgrade makes iPhone look like a smartwatch

This story is part of WWDC 2022Full coverage of CNET from Apple’s annual developer conference.

Think about how many times to check iPhone every day. Remember the first thing you see when you pick it up: the lock screen. The current version of the iPhone’s main lock screen only displays the time, displays notifications, and provides fast access to the camera and flashlight.

But that’s It’s about to change in iOS16Which Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday..Future iPhone updates may debut this fall Rumored iPhone 14Introduces a new widget on the lock screen, along with other personalization options. And that’s about time.

Frankly, the current iteration of the lock screen feels outdated.Wearing Apple watch Regularly over the past few years, I’ve realized how useful a glance at my wrist can be to get information about the weather, upcoming appointments, and activity goals. There’s no reason why the lock screen on my iPhone is just as useless. In fact, I’m surprised that it took Apple so long to apply these lessons from the Apple Watch to the iPhone.

Displaying more information on the lock screen is both inevitable and necessary. Smartphones have become remote controls for many other gadgets in our lives. Smart watch, Wireless earphones Home gadget connected with. Lock screens can be the key to ensuring that managing these gadgets remains easy and convenient.

The new lock screen for iOS 16 is a long-awaited update

iOS16 lock screen widget gallery

An example of a new lock screen widget that you can select on iOS 16.

Screenshot by Apple / CNET

when iOS 16 Launched this fall, lock screens will be supported Apple watch-Like a widget that displays a bit of information at a glance. Weather, activity progress, battery levels, alarms, current training, and sports scores are all examples of data points that you can view without unlocking your smartphone.

It’s not just the practicality of the lock screen that improves with iOS 16. The background photo will also be significantly upgraded. The new lock screen allows you to isolate the subject in the foreground and apply an effect that is out of focus on the background, similar to a portrait mode photo. You can give your lock screen photo an aesthetic like the cover of a magazine that overlays the date and time behind the subject of the image. You can also customize elements such as colors and fonts.

But it’s really the widget I’m most looking forward to iOS 16.. For clarity, you can already access the widget from the lock screen of your iPhone. However, you need to swipe right to see them. The new iOS 16 widget appears directly on the home screen and looks like an Apple Watch icon.

You can get more information at a glance, which makes it easier to reduce screen time. The more details you can see without unlocking your phone, the less likely you are to get lost in your inbox, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok. This is the same reason why we want Apple to have an always-on display on the iPhone. This wasn’t seen at WWDC, but the new lock screen suitable for widgets seems to be a valuable alternative.

Screenshot of live activity tool at the bottom of the lock screen

Here’s another example of a type of lock screen widget called Live Activity that appears in iOS 16. It’s basically a mini way to see your workout, sporting event, or Uber ride progress in real time from your iPhone’s lock screen.


In 2022, it seems unthinkable not to use passcodes or biometric locks on the iPhone. However, such security can also make accessing a phone feel like a speed bump, especially given the number of daily tasks that can only be completed if the phone is unlocked. Enter your passcode, swipe right to see the weather, see how close Uber is, AirPods I still have enough battery to go home. With these new widgets, the lock screen could be even better in its job of displaying a bit of the data you want to see at a glance, while protecting something more personal and private.

It also feels like Apple is catching up with Android with the addition of new lock screen features. Companies like Google and Samsung have long understood the value of lock screens, as evidenced by the fact that they have provided always-on displays for years. Google has also introduced new features to the lock screen of Pixel smartphones as part of an update announced on Monday.

The evolving role of the iPhone lock screen

Tap to Pay transaction between two iPhones

Apple Pay’s new Tap to Pay. This is another sign that Apple Wallet is becoming an increasingly important part of the iPhone.


With the evolution of iPhone and Apple Watch, it’s becoming more important to access certain features and apps directly from the lock screen. Apple wallet This is a good example. Being able to display boarding passes and event tickets on the lock screen is a big factor that makes Apple Wallet very useful. The Apple Wallet is a big part of iOS 16 and Apple’s ambition to replace the physical wallet.

As iPhone’s ultra-wideband technology becomes more prominent, it is possible that more lock screen features will be available. Ultra-wideband (UWB) is a wireless standard that makes it easier for iPhones to detect nearby compatible products more accurately.That’s why your iPhone can lead you to the lost person AirTag For example, with turn-by-turn navigation, technicians also promise to make mobile phones work better as digital khakis.

In the long run, as my colleague Stephen Shankland wrote, UWB could allow our phones to become more intelligent about their surroundings and unlock their cars as they approach the door. I have. Our phones can easily connect to smart everyday objects such as cars and thermostats, which makes it even more convenient to display relevant information on the lock screen. For example, with Google’s new Pixel update, if you’re using the Nest doorbell, you can see who’s at the door from the lock screen.

For now, many iPhone owners are probably most excited about the new photo effects and customization options for lock screens. However, Apple’s lock screen refresh can be more important than it seems in iOS 16 and later.

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