After months of testing, iOS 16 is finally out in the wild today as a stable public release. It’s filled with welcome new (or new to iPhone) features, like a customizable Lock Screen with widgets and the ability to edit and undo iMessages. But not all features are ready for launch day.
This isn’t actually particularly weird for Apple, which has a history of rolling out new features over time. They announce a bunch of new bells and whistles at WWDC, then meter them out throughout the year. This time, a couple of heavy, server-based features still need time in the oven, like the new Shared iCloud Library. We can only hope they’re available by the time iOS 16.1 rolls around; that update should launch alongside iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura, hopefully in October.
Until then, here are the details on five cool new iOS 16 features you can’t use yet.
A chunk of the new Lock Screen experience is going to be missing on your iPhone when you install iOS 16. When, er, live, Live Activities will show you real-time updates on things happening on your phone. Think of them like a supercharged form of notifications, able to show you something like how far away your Uber ride is without you having to unlock your iPhone. Neither the Live Activities feature nor its third-party app API will be available until the iOS 16.1 update.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
This one is a bummer. Apple finally took the effort to solve the shared photo library problem by allowing up to six people to share some or all of their photos automatically with one another. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a bit longer before you can actually set up a shared iCloud Photo Library with your family members. No concrete word on when this will launch, outside of the decidedly vague timeframe of a “future iOS 16 release.”
Freeform is a new app that’s Apple’s vision of a shared board: an infinite canvas where different users on a FaceTime call can collaborate live. During Apple’s WWDC, the feature felt extremely ambitious, so it isn’t surprising Apple wasn’t able to make it work by iOS 16’s official launch. It will launch later in the year alongside iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura.
Game Center features
Apple is making yet another push for Game Center, but its promised new features didn’t make the launch of iOS 16: Game Center’s new Contacts integration won’t roll out right now, nor will its new activity dashboard and profile system, so you’ll have to wait to see what games your friends are playing and their achievements. The SharePlay support, which will let users start playing multiplayer games automatically on a group FaceTime call, is delayed too.
Matter is a new standard for smart home devices that will work seamlessly across multiple ecosystems, so you won’t have to go looking only for HomeKit-certified devices. This is a great move for the overall smart home ecosystem, but Apple isn’t going to add Matter support in iOS 16 and tvOS 16 until later this year.