iOS 16.2 is expected to be released next week following nearly two months of beta testing. With last-minute additions like Apple Music Sing and Advanced Data Protection, the software update now has over a dozen new features for the iPhone.
Below, we’ve recapped many of the new features coming with iOS 16.2, including Apple’s new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets, the ability to hide the wallpaper and notifications on the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display, a new AirDrop setting, SharePlay support for Game Center, Live Activities enhancements, and more.
Apple Music Sing
Apple Music Sing is a new karaoke-like feature on the lyrics screen in the Apple Music app that lets you sing along to tens of millions of songs. The feature allows users to lower the volume of the vocals in a song and then take over as the singer.
Apple Music Sing is compatible with devices equipped with an A13 chip or newer, including the iPhone 11 and newer, select iPads, and the latest Apple TV 4K.
Advanced Data Protection
iOS 16.2 introduces an optional Advanced Data Protection feature that, when enabled, expands end-to-end encryption to many additional iCloud data categories, including Messages backups, photos, notes, reminders, voice memos, and more.
Advanced Data Protection is currently limited to U.S. users and will start rolling out to the rest of the world in early 2023, according to Apple.
iOS 16.2 includes Apple’s new digital whiteboard app Freeform on the iPhone. The app provides an infinite canvas for you to draw on and insert sticky notes, text boxes, shapes, photos, videos, links, PDFs, and more. The app is also available on the iPad and the Mac, and you can collaborate with others in real time via FaceTime and iMessage.
Freeform is more useful on the iPad given the device supports the Apple Pencil, but you can still use a capacitive stylus on the iPhone.
Two New Lock Screen Widgets
There are two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications on iOS 16.2. With the Sleep widget, you can view your most recent sleep session and sleep stages, while the Medications widget can let you quickly access your medication schedule.
New Always-On Display Options
Starting with iOS 16.2, you can hide the wallpaper and notifications in always-on display mode on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. This results in the Lock Screen having a solid black, minimal appearance in always-on mode, similar to Android.
The new „Show Wallpaper“ and „Show Notifications“ toggles are located in the Settings app under Display & Brightness → Always On Display.
Live Activities for Sports Scores via Apple TV App
iOS 16.2 adds Live Activities support for sports scores via the Apple TV app. The feature allows iPhone users to view live scores of MLB, NBA, and Premier League games at a glance on the Lock Screen, and in the Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro models.
During a Premier League match, for example, the Dynamic Island shows a live-updating scoreboard with the number of goals scored by each club. When long pressed, the Dynamic Island expands to show the time elapsed and play-by-play action. When an iPhone 14 Pro is locked, and on all other iPhone models, the score is shown in a Lock Screen banner.
To use the feature with an iPhone running iOS 16.2, open the TV app and tap on the „Follow“ button for a supported game. Apple says the feature is available for NBA and Premier League games for users in the U.S. and Canada, and for MLB games for users in the U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and South Korea.
New AirDrop Setting
iOS 16.2 replaces AirDrop’s previous „Everyone“ setting with a limited „Everyone for 10 Minutes“ option to cut down on unwanted requests from strangers. AirDrop now automatically reverts to „Contacts Only“ after 10 minutes.
New Home App Architecture
After updating to iOS 16.2 and opening the Home app, an update to the app is available with new underlying architecture. Apple says the new architecture improves the app’s performance, efficiency, and reliability for controlling smart home accessories. This comes after the Home app gained support for Matter accessories in iOS 16.1.
Other New Features
- SharePlay support in Game Center lets you play multiplayer games with the people you are on a FaceTime call with.
- iOS 16.2 enables support for 5G networks in India on the iPhone 12 and newer, starting with carriers Airtel and Reliance Jio.
- The built-in Weather app now features an Apple News section.
- Improved search in the Messages app allows you to find photos based on their content, like a dog, car, person, or text.
There are a few other changes and optimizations in iOS 16.2, as outlined in the full release notes.