iOS 16 Review – Get the Zimmer Frame

Liam Coates

Image Credit: Apple

Like a charming old lady who stops to chat on a walk, iOS 16 is pleasantly familiar, but hard to get really excited about, and maybe a little stale. Sure, it’s got some cool new lock screen options which will entertain you for an hour or so, but very few big ideas, and that’s a shame.

Like when she reaches into her bag and fumbles about for a hard-boiled sweet, though, there are some small treats awaiting you behind that irritating red dot on the settings app. The battery icon can now show us the percentage again. Hooray! Haptics have also come to the keyboard. If you don’t know what that means, it feels like a little wasp buzzing at you while you type. It’s better than it sounds, trust me.

There are also changes to the built-in apps. Translate now supports more languages. Just imagine an old woman speaking to you in nineteen languages… alright, I’ll stop stretching the metaphor now. Apple has also blessed us with multi-stop routing in its maps app, a feature Google Maps has had since dinosaurs were clunked by a meteor.

But it’s the weather app that’s seen the most love. Apple buying up Dark Sky a few years ago has meant a lot of extra functionality has now been rolled into the default app, and it’s brilliant. I have it set up to alert me when rain is predicted in the next hour at my location, and it actually seems to work. On top of that, there’s so much more detail to peruse. Hourly charts with precipitation, temperature, even the UV index – anyone that has my vampiric skin will understand.

The lock screen upgrades make the most difference though. You can adjust the font of the clock and even add little widgets, which are essentially shortcuts to apps. But beware, if you add widgets, you can’t get a cool effect where the clock is covered by an element in your wallpaper, like say, your dog. So, if you want your dog on top of a clock (and who wouldn’t) stay away from widgets.

By far the coolest wallpapers are the astronomy-themed ones, I think. Setting it up to whoosh into Earth as you slide the lock screen away will have you feeling like a speedy space-faring seagull. There are also whooshes for the Moon, if that’s where you reside, but nothing for the Martians. Sorry.

But overall, iOS 16 hobbles more than it should. Sure, the old lady is friendly, but her terrier won’t stop barking at you, and her shoes are on the wrong feet. The iPhone needs some fresh big ideas to make it feel innovative again. Apple has already made it into a polished product, but the world’s most profitable company can’t afford to rest on its derrière. As many old people have said, they can rest when they’re dead.