Aside from the announcement of two new Macbook laptops — the M2 MacBook Air and the M2 MacBook Pro — the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2022 was a largely software-centric event. Apart from sharing updates surrounding iPadOS 16, watchOS 16, and macOS Ventura, Apple took a significant amount of time to explain all the new additions to the latest iteration of its smartphone operating system: iOS 16.
A completely revamped lock-screen experience aside, iOS 16 significantly changes how notifications show up on the iPhone. Apple claims that most of the visual changes to iOS 16 are intended to let users have a better view of their personalized lock screen. Apple also bolstered the Focus mode with a new feature called Focus filters, ensuring that only content relevant to an applied focus mode appears on-screen.
Other notable additions to iOS 16 include a new shared photo library feature for iCloud, the option to track orders, and the addition of a “Pay Later” feature for Apple Pay users. Apple says they have also improved the “Live Text” feature to encompass videos. The “Visual Look Up” option now allows users to tap on an image, “lift” the image alone and drop them into a message (or any supported app).
While all these feature additions sound exciting, the main focus is the major changes that Apple made to its Messages app.
Delete, and edit sent messages in iOS 16
While much of the world may use apps like WhatsApp and Telegram for instant messaging, many iPhone users in the U.S. continue to use Apple’s iMessage or Messages app for instant texts. Perhaps the lack of competition in the U.S. market led to Messages receiving no significant updates in terms of features for a long time. However, that will change with iOS 16.
No matter how careful people are, nearly every texter has at some point sent a message they regretted. iOS 16 lets users escape the ramifications of sending such texts by giving them the option to simply “recall” that message. However, that recipient may still see the message if they open it instantly. In the fine print, Apple clarifies that the option to recall a message will only be available for 15 minutes from the time of sending. If the user chooses to recall the message but later feels like sending it anyway, that is possible too. This is because all recalled messages are stored in the memory as a draft for up to 30 days.
While the ability to completely recall a message is a godsend, most of the time, users don’t need to exercise this drastic option simply because they made a typo. For specific instances like this, Apple now gives users the option to edit messages after they’ve been sent.
Avoid mistakes using ‘Dictation’
One of the most interesting additions enabled by iOS 16 is the newfound ability to “dictate” to the iPhone. This new feature allows users to simply “talk” to their iPhone with the messaging app open. Apple’s powerful speech-to-text feature can convert spoken words to written text. Apart from having the ability to detect emojis, Apple’s dictation feature will show users access to an on-screen keyboard all the time. This will allow users to make quick corrections to the text without having to leave the screen at all.
Moreover, the Messages app now also has the option to mark entire message threads as unread. This feature could be of particular interest to people who want to take their sweet time to look at an interesting message thread when they have more time.
Another key addition to Messages on iOS 16 is that it now supports SharePlay integration. For those unaware, Apple’s SharePlay feature allows users to share their favorite shows, movies, or music with friends and family in real time, in-sync, using FaceTime. With Messages also added to the list of SharePlay-supported apps, users can chat with their friends and relatives even as they consume content.
If you found the new Messages-centric features on iOS 16 interesting, the only way you can use them right now would be to download and install the iOS 16 developer beta by clicking here. However, if you are not a power user, it is advised to wait for Apple to release the final, stable version of iOS 16 a few months down the line.