The iPhone and iPad are both getting a ton of new features thanks to a software update today.
Apple is releasing iOS 16.1, adding features which arrived with the iPhone 14 range last month – and iPadOS 16, which precedes the launch of new tablets this week.
Starting with the iPhone, here are the main changes you can expect when you download the update.
Shared photo libraries
This feature comes just in time for any family heading off on a mid-term vacation, allowing you to create a shared photo library with up to five other people.
It builds on the idea of existing shared photo albums, with multiple options for everyone to add, edit, add to favorites, add subtitles and delete images.
You can also add previous photos to the new library, instead of having to start from scratch, and a toggle in the camera app will allow you to send a new shot directly to it if you wish.
Recharge of clean energy
Here’s one for the climate lover: a switch that will selectively charge your phone based on the availability of low-carbon electricity.
Apple says the idea is that charging time will be optimized based on when the network uses cleaner power sources, although it will only work initially if you’re in the US.
One thing to note is that this new feature will be turned on by default when you receive the update – if you don’t want to compromise, you may want to turn it off in settings.
Fitness without a watch
Apple offers a £ 9.99 per month subscription service called Fitness +, which offers workout and meditation routines.
Until now, you needed an Apple Watch to actually use it, but now all you need is an iPhone.
While you won’t have the same real-time feedback without the wearable device, such as calories burned and heart rate, stretching and meditation along with videos on your phone will work just fine.
Live activities expanded
You may have noticed big changes to your iPhone’s lock screen when iOS 16 launched last month, with live activity among the additions.
They are widgets that aim to provide real-time updates from certain apps on the lock screen, rather than sending a series of separate notifications.
Today’s update makes them more accessible to non-Apple apps, so expect to see more options from live sports scores to a widget showing how close your Uber driver is.
As for the iPad, the new features like shared photo libraries are the same, but there are a few bespoke things.
This brings advanced multitasking to the iPad, making it more of a laptop-like experience. Apps can be resized, overlapped and moved, just like on a traditional desktop.
You can connect your iPad to an external display if you have one of the new Air or Pro models, again, in the same way as a laptop.
It sounds unbelievable, but in all this time the iPad has never had a built-in weather app like the iPhone.
This finally changes today, bringing more or less the same design it has on the phone.
If you have an Apple Pencil, the note app will now try to improve your handwriting.
If you activate the option, the app will make the written words appear more straight and tidy.
And a series of the latest iPhone additions
The iPadOS 16 update is mostly based on iOS 16 and therefore includes many of the new features that iPhone users have enjoyed since last month.
This includes the ability to edit and delete texts in the message app, improved focus modes to filter notifications from certain apps, and a redesigned podcast app.