The digital dust from the release of iOS 16 has barely settled, but another major iPhone software update is now on the way: iOS 16.1 will be available on devices starting today (Monday, October 24), with a slew of new features joining the usual bug fixes and security patches.
iOS 16 introduced new lock screen customizations, the ability to unsend messages within a specified time frame, a new privacy tool called Safety Check, and much more. Even with all of those upgrades, Apple has been able to find new ways to innovate with its software.
All iPhones that can run iOS 16 can also run iOS 16.1, so we’re talking about devices dating back to the iPhone 8 (released in 2017) and up to the current iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models. If you don’t get the update right away, don’t worry: the download and install prompt should appear within a few days.
Here are some of the key features to look forward to:
New features in iOS 16.1
Apple Fitness Plus in the absence of an Apple Watch
Previously, Apple’s fitness subscription service required an Apple Watch to perform all necessary monitoring, but iOS 16.1 now allows you to sign up without a wearable (your iPhone can do some of the trackings instead).
iCloud Photo Library Shared
Apple’s iCloud Shared Photo Library makes it easier to share photos and videos with family and friends. A library can have up to six participants, and each participant can view, edit, and delete files in the library.
Additional Live Events
Live Activities are dynamic widgets that appear on the lock screen, and third-party apps can now use them – think updates on your Uber, or live score updates from sports matches you’re interested in.
Charging for Clean Energy
With iOS 16.1, a new smart charging feature is introduced that will attempt to charge your phone when the electricity grid is using clean energy. For the time being, this feature will only be available to users in the United States.
Share keys using Apple Wallet
If you use the Wallet app on your iPhone to unlock your car, hotel room, or whatever else, the iOS 16.1 update will allow you to share those keys with other apps (such as WhatsApp) as needed.
Support for matter accessories
The matter is a new smart home protocol backed by every major technology company (including Apple). The idea is that, at long last, all of your smart home devices, regardless of brand, should communicate properly with one another.
Dynamic Island Reachability Support
Dynamic Island is one of the major additions to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, and with iOS 16.1, it will also work with the software’s one-handed Reachability mode.