Written by Nick Heer.

Apple Releases iOS 16

Apple is, I think, rightly proud of the new Lock Screen options, which is a little funny because the best part of this update is how much it permits users to customize for themselves.

Federico Viticci in his usual longform review:

To be fair, we’ve always been able to customize the Lock Screen, even in the very early days of the iPhone and iPhone OS 1.0.

The customization we have in iOS 16 includes wallpapers – and in fact goes above and beyond anything Apple ever offered for wallpapers on iOS – but that’s only one component of a larger system. A good way to think about it is the following: customizing the Lock Screen is now very similar to customizing your watch face on the Apple Watch.

Apple insists on calling different Lock Screen variants a “Wallpaper Pair”. If you add a widget to your current Lock Screen, it will ask whether you want to “set [it] as a Wallpaper Pair”, which never feels normal no matter how often I have seen it the past few months.

Speaking of widgets, there are some baffling limitations. The widget row below the clock can best be thought of as four cells, and widgets for it can be one or two cells wide. But a widget two cells wide must live in the first two cells; a user cannot place a one-cell widget to the left of a two-cell widget.

That said, this is a phenomenal update. My iPhone feels more like my own iPhone, not just any one of a billion. I can finally launch the camera app I actually use from the Lock Screen. There are many smaller changes in iOS 16 that are worth this update — and many that I find questionable, like the new scrubber bars, and the many widths of Lock Screen elements — but these customization options are an impressive achievement. They allow more individual personality without losing a sense of iOS-iness.