After months of beta testing, Apple on Wednesday confirmed September 12, 2022, as the final release date for iOS 16 and watchOS 9. The upcoming releases will add several new features to iPhone and Apple Watch.
iOS 16 and watchOS 9 release date
Apple has been beta testing iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and watchOS 9 since their announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Since then, the company released eight beta builds to developers, with recent releases focusing on bug fixes and stability.
For those running a beta, Apple dispatched the iOS 16, watchOS 9 and tvOS 16 release candidates — likely the final versions before the operating systems’ public launches — Wednesday after its Far Out event.
For the general public, iOS 16 for all compatible iPhones will arrive September 12. watchOS 9 for Apple Watch Series 4 and newer models will land on the same day. Apple previously said it will delay the final release of iPadOS 9 until October, when it will launch alongside macOS Ventura.
iOS 16 revamps the Lock Screen experience
The biggest highlight of iOS 16 is the customizable new Lock Screen. Apple software chief Craig Federighi said iOS 16 includes “the biggest update ever to the Lock Screen, completely reimagining how it looks and how it works for you.”
You can add widgets to the Lock Screen to quickly access important information. Additionally, you can create multiple Lock Screens and link them to different Focus modes. Live Activities, another key new Lock Screen feature, will arrive later this year.
iOS 16 also will improve the messaging experience, with the Messages app gaining several new features. This includes the ability to edit or undo sending a message. You can even mark a conversation as unread.
The Photos app also will gain some underrated but significant enhancements in iOS 16. It will let users copy edits across multiple photos or extract a subject from one image and paste it into another using Visual Look Up.
Apple is also introducing a new Lockdown Mode in iOS 16 for “extreme, optional protection.” It is recommended for users who believe they could be subjected to a sophisticated cyberattack.