Friday September 30, 2022

iOS 16 beta preview: A fun and useful update that looks promising

The iOS 16 public beta has been released. This means that you can try out Apple’s new mobile software before it becomes stable. The iPhone will get a new lock screen, editing and sending options in iMessage, improved dictation and a Medication tracker. There are also new sharing features. iOS 16 looks to be a more robust update than previous years, and you may be eager to try it out. Your favorite apps may stop working or your phone might become completely bricked. If you still plan to run the beta, please back up your data. The preview can be accessed by signing up on Apple’s website. This will push a download option into your phone’s Software Update section. Developers will need to make some changes such as integrating an API for the live activity update box on your lock screen. The redesigned CarPlay won’t be released until next year. I can’t get into every single change, and will save my more complete evaluations for our full review when iOS 16 is officially released.ScreenshotsNew lock screens are a visual refreshOnce my phone restarted after installing the beta, the change was obvious. Instead of the old clock and list of notifications that my eyes had become tired of, there was a box at bottom of the page telling me that the software had been updated. I wanted to change the font of the clock, which was thicker and more blocky. I long-pressed wallpaper to change it. However, that brought up the page where I had to enter my passcode. I discovered a bug in which I couldn’t access the editor and switch pages until I set Face ID. You can’t modify or change lock screens without logging in to your phone. However, when you enter your passcode, it takes you directly to your home page and bypasses the lock screen entirely. After unlocking my iPhone, Face ID allowed me to choose from eight styles, two colors, and add up to five widgets to the two boxes at the top. I selected the weather, UV index, and air quality widgets. Then, I added two additional profiles with different wallpapers that featured my favorite photos. You can also choose your favorite emoji, people, or color. You can also choose to display the weather or Astronomy, which uses your position on a globe to show where you’re at. It can display the moon and solar system. However, each page can be linked with a Focus mode. There must always be a default lock screen which isn’t tied into anything. Apple has also introduced Focus filters that allow you to have more control over what you interact with in certain modes. You can select which tab groups will appear in Safari with the Work profile. You can also choose a different calendar to view when it is set to Play. iOS 16 also offers Allow and Silence lists when you’re setting up your Focus modes, and will provide suggestions around Lock Screen content that would be relevant to each profile.ScreenshotsThe revamped Lock Screen also features a new “live activity box” at the bottom. This allows you to keep the app open while you follow a sporting event or record an interview. This API will need to be integrated by developers in order to work. It works with Spotify and Apple’s timer app. This makes it easy to pause, skip ahead, and cancel my countdowns. Messages gets betterOne the most useful features of iOS 16 is the ability edit and unsend chats within iMessage. This works best for people who are using the public beta. Anyone on iOS 15 will see a second message saying “Edited To” followed by your new words. Just like what people on Android used to see when iPhone users used emoji reactions on texts.You’ll have 15 minutes after sending a message to access the options for “Undo Send” or “Edit.” When you rescind a message, by the way, your friend will see an alert saying “[friend’s name] unsent a message.” Texts that had been updated have the word “Edited” next to the read receipt below the bubble.ScreenshotsApple also updated the dictation experience. The iPhone’s microphone now allows you to tap the microphone and the QWERTY layout will stay in place. This is instead of being replaced by a waveform animation. When you’re not speaking, a small tab with a microphone icon will appear over the input field. This is similar to the way Google used its updated voice engine on Pixel 6. iOS 16 does not allow you to use commands like “Send” and “Delete all”, unlike Android. The dictation interface was not available when I was typing in the App store’s search bar. Or, as I prefer to call it, the quicker-sticker-maker. The system works by long-pressing a subject in any photo in the Photos app, and then copy it without the background and paste to another place. Sadly, it doesn’t work on things in the background — I couldn’t get it to highlight a dog behind its owner.ScreenshotsWhen you paste your selection into a Message field, it’s automatically sent as a cutout with a transparent background — i.e. You can also use the sticker option. The system would sometimes think I was trying send a photo and add a background black to it, which negated the effect. This is a known bug so it shouldn’t happen when iOS 16 is released. Apple also added video support to Live Text. Live Text scans images for text and selects the best ones so you can interact. This feature will be available in the Photos app as well as any other iOS player-enabled application. Fullscreen videos from web articles will also work. This feature is not supported by third-party services that have custom controls, but developers can add it if they wish. I was eager to see the new Medications feature in Health app. It’s simple and intuitive. Apple allows US users to scan the packaging labels of their daily pills. This made it easy for me to find my daily pill. Although the database is not complete, I was able to find my daily Vitamin B12 dose and brand. Apple also offers the option to scan the packaging label for US users. The best thing about Medications is the ability to set a date to start your medication. However, if you are taking medications that may have dangerous interactions, the system will alert you. Apple prompts you to indicate whether you smoke, drink marijuana, or both. This led me to discover that my birth control may increase the effects of marijuana. The Health app also prompts you to add whether you smoke or drink alcohol. I was not notified about the addition of one of the antibiotics to Medications. The information in the medical ID is a list of words, not a piece of data Apple could use to match it with other information. I wouldn’t be in a position where I was dispensed medication containing something I’m allergic to. It would be nice to see Apple consider how to approach such situations. I was almost hesitant to list my birth control in Medications. However, I believe that Apple’s privacy policies are one of the best. However, I would be more comfortable if this information could be hidden behind a passcode. The new Safari group tabs are great for those who collaborate often with others. As we were testing the new software, I created a group with Nate Ingraham, my deputy editor. I had the Engadget home page open and Apple’s iOS summary open. He added additional reference pages the next day, but he also noticed that I had been looking up Ms. Marvel cast members. Sharing photos with family and friends is easier if they are using iOS. You can create a shared album of photos and all the images will be synced with everyone. Family Sharing has been updated to make it easier to set up child accounts. Your children can also send Screen Time requests to you through Messages. You can also approve or decline Screen Time requests from the chat. ScreenshotsI didn’t have the time to explore other features such as the assistive door detection tool or sound recognition. Live Captions is a feature that provides subtitles for audio played through any app on your phone. Although Apple’s version is sometimes a little slower than Android’s, I like that I can tap the box to pause or switch to transcribing sounds from my surroundings. Apple also announced a Lockdown Mode, which is an optional, extreme protection for those who believe they may be personally targeted by a highly sophisticated cyberattack. The company also announced a Lockdown Mode earlier this month. This is an option that provides extreme, optional protection for people who believe they may be targeted by a sophisticated cyberattack. If stability and data loss are concerns, you can wait until the final release (typically in fall). Some stories contain affiliate links. We may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase something through one these links.

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