iOS 16 release date, features, device list

Apple typically pushes software updates for all its eligible devices in a timely manner. Now that the iPhone 15 series has been announced, iOS 17 is ready for prime time and will start downloading to iPhones and iPads today, September 18, 2023. If you wish to opt out of the update and stick to iOS 16 for the time being, that's still an option — you will continue to get security patches. But, sooner or later, you will have to leave iOS 16 behind.

The latest update is iOS 16.6 — it patches WebKit vulnerabilities, which have been exploited, so it's a good idea to go ahead and download it if you haven't.

iOS 16 had a bit of a rocky start with some beta-looking stability bugs on launch. Apple ironed some out with iOS 16.0.2, and added some more features with subsequent updates. With iOS 16.4, we got 21 new emoji, more Crash Detection tuning so the iPhones would stop sending false alerts to authorities, and web push notifications among other small upgrades.

iOS 16.4.1 added a new Rapid Security Response system, which allows Apple to very quickly upload patches that fix vulnerabilities. It's a flexibility thing, and we appreciate it.

We are now up to iOS 16.5.1, which seems to be doing behind-the-curtain tune-ups, and security updates. Also, the users of a Lightning Camera Connector will find that the Lightning-to-USB C now does transfer charge to the connected device.

Here's what's in store for you and your iPhone:

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iOS 16 release date

iOS 16 was released on the 12th of September, just 5 days after the 2022 iPhone 14 event that Apple held on the 7th.

How to install iOS 16?

Typically, your iPhone will silently download iOS 16 in the off-hours, if it has enough battery (or is plugged in to charge). Then, you should receive a prompt to install it. However, if you are impatient, or if your iPhone doesn't do so for one reason or another, you can manually look for the iOS 16 update and force an install.

It's a matter of hitting up Settings, going to the General tab, and looking for Software Update. If you want a step-by-step, here's our guide on how to install iOS 16.

How to remove iOS 16 Beta:

If you've been using the iOS 16 Beta throughout summer, you should know that your iPhone will not automatically just switch to the official public version. You need to get rid of that Beta Profile you had to install in the first place.

  • Go into Settings
  • General
  • VPN & Device Management
  • iOS 16 Beta profile
  • Remove profile

Note: this will not remove the iOS 16 beta from your iPhone! However, as soon as there is an official iOS 16 download available, your phone will get that one and hop off the beta train. So, if you do this right now, you will instantly download iOS 16. If you keep the beta profile on and download (for example) iOS 16.1 Beta, and only then download the profile — you will have to wait for iOS 16.1 official to be out before you can download it.

Which iPhones support iOS 16?

All iPhones from iPhone 8 and up (2017 and later). Here's a full list of devices that will get it:

This list is also made official on Apple's iOS 16 page.

Apple is well-known for supporting its devices long, long after release. iOS 15 was available to iPhones all the way back to the iPhone 6s — it was 6 years old at the time of the latest update.

iOS 16 axed two old iPhones and declared their end-of-life status. Both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 are falling off the support list — iOS 16 can be installed on all iPhones from the iPhone 8 and up.

Which iPads support iPadOS 16?

iPad 9.7 (2017) and any model newer than that. The list consists of:

  • iPad mini 5 (2019), iPad mini 6 (2021)
  • iPad 9.7 (2017), iPad 9.7 (2018), iPad 10.2 (2019), iPad 10.2 (2020), iPad 10.2 (2021)
  • iPad Pro all models
  • iPad Air (2019), iPad Air (2020), iPad Air (2022)

This list has been made official by Apple.

iOS 16 new features

To get a full view of all the new features in action, be sure to check out our in-depth iOS 16 tips and tricks article. That said, here are all the new features in a nutshell:

  • Web Push notifications (iOS 16.4)
Website notifications that come through Safari will now appear like normal app notifications on your lock screen for better congruency across your iOS interface.

  • 21 new emoji (iOS 16.4)
Unicode 15.0 included new emoji and Apple quickly moved in to add support for them. These include a new "shaking face", a "talk to the hand" style gesture, donkey, moose, goose, several colors for the heart emoji, ginger, pea pod, a Wi-Fi symbol, and a few more.

  • Podcasts app update (iOS 16.4)
Slight improvements to the Podcasts app include a Channels section and an Up Next playlist for all your saved podcasts.

  • Beta Updates sub-menu (iOS 16.4)
Developers who are part of the Beta Program now have access to a Beta Updates menu in Settings, where they can easily pick whether they want to install the newest Dev Beta or Public Beta to test their apps with.

  • Home App architecture improvements (iOS 16.4)
A behind-the-curtains update, which improves the performance and reliability of the Home app (no interface changes).

  • Security Keys for Apple ID (iOS 16.3)
You can now lock your Apple ID with a physical key device, strengthening Two Factor Authentication even further.

  • New app - Freeflow (iOS 16.2)
Made for team meetings where everyone can get together and brainstorm on a huge digital whiteboard.

  • Always On screen fix (iOS 16.2)
Some users disliked the fact that Always On kept a dim version of your wallpaper on, making the phone appear like it's not in standby. A new option allows you to blacken the screen, only keeping the clock and notifications active.

Lockscreens now work much like watchfaces on an Apple Watch, letting you customize your experience further

  • More filters for Focus Mode
Fine-tune multiple different Focus Modes, which will change how your iPhone looks and feels depending on what you are doing

  • Edit and Undo Send, Mark as Unread in iMessage
More control over fixing mistakes in iMessage or tagging messages to respond to later. How to edit and unsend in iOS 16 iMessage

  • SharePlay in iMessage
Watch videos or listen to music while hanging out with friends over text chat

  • In Email: unsent, follow-up reminder, schedule emails
A new slew of features for the email app bring it up to speed with 3rd party solutions and competitors. Seek how to use the new iOS 16 email features here.

  • Improved voice dictation
Upgraded speech-to-text for the iOS keyboard

  • Quick Actions with text captured from the camera
When you take a picture of some text, iOS will offer contextual actions — translate, convert, navigate to, et cetera

  • Photos - lift subject from background
Tap and hold on an object and it will be cropped out of the picture. You can drag it to other apps to paste it there — as a sticker or a new image

  • Share digital keys in Wallet
Share the keys to your smartlock with a friend or family member, so they can come in and water your plants

  • Tap to Pay on iPhone
Accept payments through Apple Pay with just your iPhone, no extra bells and whistles required

  • Apple Pay Later
Split a purchase into 4 payments over the next 6 weeks, no extra fees or interest applied

  • Apple Maps redesign to more areas
Big, detailed 3D models of popular locations around the world, fully explorable in Apple Maps

  • Sports scoring integration on lock screen and with Apple News
Lock screen can have a real-time scores widget, Apple News will show you the scores that matter to you on the front page

  • Much improved Family Sharing
Set up a child's device easy, get suggestions for content limits, get reminders when child filters might need updating as the kid grows older

  • iCloud Shared Photo Library
Automatically share photos from gatherings and events, as soon as you press the shutter button. Photo edits are shared as well

  • Safety Check
For people escaping an abusive relationship, an easy way to check and remove shared location data and shared accounts with a former partner

  • HomeKit opens up to more partners with a new platform — Matter
Matter is a new platform for smart home accessories, created in partnership with multiple market leaders

  • Personalized Spatial Audio — use the iPhone camera to create a custom profile from your ear shape
The iPhone camera will be able to scan your unique ear shape and fine-tune Spatial Audio further

  • Quick Note - the fast note-creating feature from iPadOS
Quick Note puts a floating note on top of your screen. It is contextual, so you can pull up the same Quick Note every time you are on a specific website and continue taking notes for the same content

  • Battery percentage is back
You can now see the battery charge percentage inside the battery icon in the top-right

  • New Spotlight search persistent icon
You can now access Spotlight search by just tapping the pill-shaped button that shows you which homescreen you are on. Here's how to disable the persistent Spotlight button.

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