Yesterday, Apple released the latest version of iOS, the software that powers the iPhone. It included a number of new features, though that’s not what this article is about. This article is about a few things you should do right away to take advantage of those features.
It can be overwhelming trying to figure out all of the things that have changed, so I’ve tried to highlight a few features that can make the biggest difference in how you use your iPhone. If you want a deep dive, I highly recommend the comprehensive iOS 16 review from Federicco Viticci of MacStories. With that in mind, after you’ve installed the free update to iOS 16, here are the five things you should do immediately in order to get the most out of your device:
1. Set up your customized Lock Screen.
One of the best features of iOS 16 is that you can now customize your Lock Screen. In addition to new options for font and colors, you can now add widgets on your Lock Screen, making it easier to get information without having to unlock your device.
To customize yours, press and hold on the Lock Screen. There, you’ll see options to change the image, or to add widgets. New in iOS 16 is the ability to pair a Home Screen with your Lock Screen. You can even change between lock screens simply by pressing the Lock Screen and then swiping through your collection.
2. Choose your notification style.
Sticking with the Lock Screen, the other big difference is that notifications now appear at the bottom of the display. Not only that, but you have three different choices for how notifications are displayed.
The default option is a stack, but you can also choose a list, or what Apple calls a count. The latter hides all notifications, and instead gives you a count at the bottom of the Lock Screen letting you know how many notifications you have. You can simply swipe up to see what’s there.
3. Create Focus Filters.
Another feature Apple has added is Focus Filters, which expands on the ability to set a Focus and control notifications. Now, you can also choose to display a specific Lock Screen and Home Screen on your iPhone, as well as a Watch face based on the Focus you set. Not only that, but you can even decide which accounts are available within different apps like Calendar and Mail.
If, for example, you have a weekend Focus, you can set a specific Lock Screen with a set of widgets you choose. You can also choose which notifications come through, and set it up to hide your work email and appointments within different apps.
I recommend everyone set up at least three Focus Filters, one for work, one for not-work, and one for when you really need to focus. In the latter, I shut off everything except text messages from my wife and daughters. If I’m really trying to focus and get stuff done, everything else can wait.
4. Enable the new battery percentage indicator.
This, I’m sure, will seem controversial to some of you, but one of the best things you can do with iOS 16, is turn on the battery percentage indicator. In iOS 15, the little battery icon in the upper right corner would slowly deplete, giving you an approximation of how much battery you have left on your iPhone.
Now, in iOS 16, you can replace that with a number that tells you exactly how much is left inside of a battery-shaped icon. Trust me, it’s much better, but not because it’s more precise. If you’re the type of person who gets battery anxiety, this is better because the background stays completely full, eliminating the nagging feeling that your iPhone is about to die.
I love this because it gives you the information without the anxiety. You can see your battery percentage without the visual image that your battery and–therefore, your device–is slowly headed to death.
5. Set up medications in the Health app.
If you take daily medications, the final thing you should do is set them up in the health app. In iOS 16, you can now track your medications directly on your iPhone (and your Apple Watch).
You can set them up by scanning the label, and it will populate things like the name and dose of the medication, or you can add them manually. If you take multiple medications, you can choose the shape and color of what you take to make it easier to recognize.
Then, you’ll get a notification based on the time you take your medication, and you can log and track when you’ve taken them. The health app will also provides you with common interactions and makes it easy to export a PDF with a full list of your medications and doses.