iPhone users will soon be able to create multiple custom lock screens and swap between them in seconds, as the new feature is set to make its way to the public with the release of iOS 16 later this year. The next version of Apple’s mobile software was unveiled at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, an annual event centered around developers and their software. On of the upcoming release’s flagship features was a redesigned lock screen user-interface, which allows users to make custom changes to their lock screen for the first time. As the company continues to tweak iOS 16 ahead of its fall public release, it’s become more evident exactly how users can modify their lock screen to better suit their needs.
Apple refines its software releases through beta software programs that let developers and eager users try out the company’s unreleased software in an attempt to fix bugs and solidify new features before a full public launch. The first unreleased version of iOS 16 to become available was a developer beta intended only for use by Apple ID accounts enrolled in the Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 per year. Since the developer beta software versions are the most unstable release of iOS, they are strictly reserved for devices used only for development or testing. However, Apple released a public beta in July that anyone could sign up for, providing a glimpse of what iOS 16 will be like in daily usage when it becomes available in the fall.
Modifying and swapping between lock screens on iOS 16 is extremely easy to do, and might actually be too easy. A simple long press on the lock screen — while the iPhone is unlocked with either Face ID or Touch ID — will open up the new lock screen user-interface. That can be a problem, because there are other toggles on the lock screen that require a long press for activation. On modern iPhones without a physical home button, there are toggles that turn on the flashlight and open up the camera with a long press. When using iOS 16’s new lock screen interface daily, accidental touches that open up the customization can be an issue. However, that complication is negated by how easy it is to manage and swap out lock screens on iOS 16.
To open up the lock screen user-interface on iOS 16, unlock the iPhone with either Face ID or Touch ID and long press on the current lock screen. A new page will open up that will appear familiar to Apple Watch users, as it is essentially a scaled-up version of the user-interface that manages watch faces on the company’s smartwatch. Swiping left or right will display the existing lock screens saved on an iPhone, and tapping on a given lock screen will make that screen the current lock screen for a device. To customize an existing lock screen, scroll to that lock screen and tap the ‘Customize’ button at the bottom of the page. This will open up a modifiable screen with the available fields that can be changed outlined in grey boxes.
To see the options that can be changed, tap on a given field outlined in grey. The large time block located at the top middle of the Lock Screen cannot be removed or shrunken down, but the font colors can be altered by tapping on the time and choosing between 12 fonts and any color. The time can also be shown in Arabic, Arabic Indic, and Devanagari based on user preference. The field above the time cannot be removed either, but it can be changed from the date to an assortment of other Weather, Fitness, Calendar, Clock, Stocks, and Reminders widgets. There’s a new bottom widget bar that can fit either four smaller widgets or two larger ones, and there’s more options — like News, Battery, and Home widgets.
To add any of these widgets, tap on the field to be changed and select the widget that will be added to that field. Changing the order of widgets is as easy as dragging them around the field, similar to how applications on the home screen are moved. If there are already the maximum amount of widgets on a field, a ‘Remove Widget‘ message will appear, so users need to tap the minus button on the widget they’d like to remove before adding a new one. The new iOS 16 lock screen user-interface is familiar to Apple Watch users and foreign to strictly iPhone users, but for both audiences, the ability to customize lock screens provides more information at a glance.