The first major update to iOS 16 is here, bringing with it several new features users have been waiting for.
Most notable in iOS 16.1 is the introduction of iCloud Shared Photo Library, first announced at WWDC in June but then delayed when iOS 16 was launched in September.
Now, you can have an entire library of images, automatically synced and shared with up to five other people. It can be a great way for couples and families to share access to snaps without having to manually send anything, or worry about duplicate shots using up space on multiple iCloud accounts. The process is streamlined and pretty customizable, so you only have to share what you’re comfortable with. Just make sure you understand the potential pitfalls of sharing your photos this way.
iOS 16.1 also adds Live Activities for those with the latest iPhone 14 Pro, meaning third-party apps can utilize the Dynamic Island and Lock Screen widgets to display live updating information, like sports scores or travel updates.
Apple has added support for several other new features with iOS 16.1, too. The Home app now works with Matter, a new connectivity standard that should make it easier for smart home gadgets to work together across different systems. The Wallet app now includes key sharing via Messages and other chat apps. Apple Fitness+ now works even without an Apple Watch, using your iPhone for tracking. There are some UI tweaks in the Books app.
The update also fixes various bugs, mainly addressing those in Messages, CarPlay, and Dynamic Island. As usual, there are also security updates which aren’t disclosed in any detail, but could potentially plug some important vulnerabilities in iOS. It’s always smart to stay up to date for this reason if nothing else.
Yu can update by following the prompts in Settings > General > Software Update. Trigging the process manually is usually the fastest way to get the latest updates – automatic updates are staggered and sometimes don’t kick in for over a week after a new update drops.
Meanwhile, iPadOS 16 also launched in the past couple of weeks, so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already. And don’t forget we released iOS 16: The Unofficial Guide as a standalone PDF download you can use (or gift) to stay on top of all the latest features.