Trying out iOS 16 beta

The Apple hype machine is a key aspect of their success, and I am increasingly reluctant to add to it. Even so, this post is about aspects of their newest iOS release that I really like, and perhaps this post will be useful to others with Apple devices. I recently enrolled in Apple’s iOS 16 public beta and here are some thoughts.

Visual Lookup Tool. Apple’s newer iPhones have increasingly good cameras, which is a feature that I rely on a great deal and is one of the main reasons I choose to upgrade. iOS 15 introduced a method in Photos to automatically identify objects in photos and I use this all the time to figure out what something is in the natural world, including plants, birds, and insects. It’s very useful and replaces separate apps I used for this purpose.

In iOS 16, Apple takes this to a new level by allowing you to press and tap on an object in a photo, and then copy, paste, or share that object, stripped of the surrounding photo content. This includes creating a new, separate photo in the Photos app of just that selected object. Really cool, easy, and useful. Not foolproof (just like their portrait mode), but it works surprisingly well most of the time.

Lock Screen. iOS 16 allows you to do a lot of interesting things to customize the Lock Screen. I haven’t done a whole lot yet with it but the out of the box changes are welcome, such as a current time display that is in a significantly larger font that makes it easier to read.

Weather App on iPad. Technically this refers to iPadOS not iOS, but let’s not split hairs. Finally, something that should have been included from the beginning! Nice and useful visuals.

Health App. I especially like the added medication tracking features, including the ability to remind you whenever you need to take them. The app will also tell you if or when a medication doesn’t play well with another medication. I learned of a few of these interactions that I should have learned from my doctor that might explain some persistent side effects.

Message App. Finally, I am able to edit a message that I sent within the previous 15 minutes. Or even delete it. It works best when texting someone else who also has iOS 16 installed. I hate typos so this caters to that particular whim.

Notifications. I like that they now appear at the bottom of the screen and are better organized.

Of course, this is only a sampling of iOS 16 changes. There are many others that I simply haven’t tried yet. A final point is that the iOS 16 public beta is pretty glitch free / low risk so far in my experience, so I encourage you to give it a try, although as always, YMMV.

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