October 1, 2022

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Lock Screen in iOS 16 – Guide

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The lock screen in the new iOS 16 can be configured to a much greater extent than before — and to show more information.

One of the main features of the new iOS 16, which became available on Monday, is that you can finally make changes to the lock screen other than just changing the wallpaper.

It might be especially useful on the new iPhone 14 Pro models with the always-on screen option, but we think many older iPhone users will also appreciate the greater customization options here.

Finding the settings menu for the lock screen is not necessarily very logical.

Instead of going into the settings menu, you have to rest your finger on the screen on the lock screen itself, after which you can choose to customize the current lock screen or create an entirely new one.

If you choose to create a new one, you will be presented with a selection of suggested backgrounds, including a selection of photos from your gallery. Most often these are photos taken using the portrait mode of the iPhone, the new iOS is able to separate the head from the background and place the head in front of any text or widgets.

It’s undeniably a bit neat, but it also requires a bit of a theme so all the other content doesn’t end up behind a big head. You can also choose to crop the theme by pinching your fingers on the screen.

You can also choose from a few new and partially interactive backgrounds, such as weather and astronomy. However, these will request location access via GPS, which can cost a lot of battery life on a phone, so it’s good to be aware of that.

You can find the lock screen settings by pressing your finger on the lock screen.  From there, you can swipe right to create a new lock screen.

In practice, there are three fields that can be customized on the main screen. In the top field with the date, you can add a widget, for example the UV index for the day, how many active calories you burned today or the next calendar entry.

In the Clock field, for the first time, you can choose a different font (from eight options at the moment) and you can choose a color for all the content on the screen. The default is that the color adapts to your chosen background image, but you can totally choose if you want to.

Finally, you can customize a separate line of widgets, which is very reminiscent of those that we had the opportunity to put on the home screens in a previous iOS version. Here, however, Apple is so strict that you only get one line to handle, so you can only choose interface elements the size of the “double” icon.

At the moment, the number of third-party apps that have added support for these tools is also limited, but there will likely be many, many more to come. For example, Google announced that there will be widgets for Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search, and more.

Setting options for the three different fields that can be customized on the lock screen

You can also customize what should be shown in the different tools by clicking on them (practically twice, because the first click selects only the row of tools itself). The share widget, for example, allows you to select one post or an index, maybe three if you choose double width on the widget.

The Battery widget is set to “Auto” by default, but you can also choose to always show the battery status of one stable device, such as a watch or a pair of headphones.

Some options for various widgets, plus a focus link on the right.  For example, if you have smart home sensors, you can choose to display the status of one in the widget's row.  There will likely be more opportunities here in the future.

Here, in practice, it’s just about trying to find the combination that suits you best – but it must also be said that it’s a bit annoying that these tools aren’t interactive in any way. They only display information, and if you press on them, they will open the corresponding application or function.

Not adding long press functionality here sounds like a “missed opportunity” from Apple. Certain types of information are also not displayed if you don’t unlock the screen using facial recognition first, such as the calories burned above.

You can also choose to set up your lock screens for Apple’s so-called Focus. For example, you can have a clean lock screen with as much work-related information as possible when you’re at the center of work, while on the weekend your focus is on a better screen without calendar entries and engagement rates.

You can set the corresponding focus using the focus button at the bottom of the screen – or you can leave it entirely if you’re like us and don’t use this iPhone function at all. If you create multiple lock screens, you can of course easily switch between them manually by going into the lock screen menu and choosing the one you want.

Want to try more things in iOS 16?

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