This week’s photos are from a walk out to the North Bank off the coast of Wirral, UK.
It’s June which means it’s WWDC (World Wide Developer Conference) time. In the Apple calendar this is the start of the year. Apple announce major updates to their operating systems ranging from macOS to iOS to watchOS. Previously on Hello Computer I’ve looked at iOS 15 and iOS 14. This year I’m looking at everything they announced. I’m curious about what new features can help me, an autistic non-binary person with anxiety and depression.
There are two big features of iOS 16 that stand out for me. Lockscreen and Focus mode changes.
The Lockscreen now has widgets like Apple Watch complications. In fact they run the same code so any nice complications you have on your watch will soon be coming to your iPhone. They provide quick access to important information like the weather forecast, your activity rings, task list progress, emails, etc. An iPhone with an always-on Lockscreen using display technology from the Apple Watch could be on its way. Apple sometimes shows you half the story and you get the rest at the iPhone launch in September.
In iOS 15 Apple added support for automatic changing of Homescreens based on your current Focus Mode. You could have a Focus Mode for work which hides your games from the Homescreen. Later when not at work you can switch to Play and your productivity apps are hidden revealing your games. Now in iOS 16 you can do the same with your Lockscreen.
“Connect your Lock Screen to your Focus so the look and feel of your iPhone match how you want to use it in the moment. With a swipe, you can go from your Personal Focus to your Work Focus with widgets showing upcoming meetings and to-do lists.”
Lastly in an attempt to minimise notifications Apple have created the Live Activities API. It will keep you on top of activities from sports to news to workouts. Hopefully this will reduce notifications so when you do check your evening summary there’s only interesting things in there.
Focus Mode changes
In iOS 15 Apple added Focus Mode. This feature is essentially an advanced version of Do-Not-Disturb. You can create a Focus Mode for work that kicks in at a set time and hides Homescreens, notifications and messages from people unrelated to work. Annoyingly you had to go through and tick off every app in the list when creating a new mode. They’ve fixed that now in iOS 16 so it will be much easier to create Focus Modes.
Focus Filters are the big change. The kids would say this is next level Focus Moding. Your ‘work’ Focus Mode could not only hide apps and notifications but also Safari tabs unrelated to work or messages from friends rather than clients. If I’m writing I could hide almost everything to lock down my device into a pure almost offline writing experience. While this will hopefully be available when iOS 16 launches it will take time for all your favourite apps to fully support it.
“Focus filters help you set boundaries in Apple apps like Calendar and Messages, as well as third‑party apps, by hiding distracting content. So you can keep emails from your work inbox out of sight when using the Personal Focus.”
Other iOS 16 tidbits
New dictation features blend voice and touch. The keyboard stays open so you can speak a bit then type then speak a bit more. You can break up paragraphs and create a more flowing document rather than a block of dictated text. Dictation will, finally, automatically add punctuation to the text.
Live Text in video. iOS 15 added Live Text which lets you copy text right out of an image. iOS 16 will do the same but for video. They’ve also added a translate button to images for quicker access. Handy for when you quickly need food because your blood sugar is dropping and you’re anxious.
iCloud Shared Photo Library automatically shares photos with family members based on face detection.
Safety Check offers victims of domestic abuse ways to quickly break free of those who may track them. There’s an Emergency Reset feature that signs them out of everything that isn’t the device in their hands.
Reminders now has the ability to save, create, or share lists as templates to reuse them for routines, packing lists, and more. I do this in Todoist and its nice to see it in Reminders.
Finally you can now lock the Hidden folder in Photos. Before you could hide the hidden folder but if left unhidden it’s basically a folder called “Secret pics I don’t want you to see.” Now you can lock it behind FaceID or TouchID. This folder is great if you want to take photos to document transition, experiment with your identity, or document weight loss without the worry of someone seeing them. I do wish Apple would give people the ability to scan your photo library for nudes or automatically put them into this folder. I document my weight changes and I have no idea if I forgot a photo that may one day popup in a “Remember when…” highlight.
watchOS 9 features 4 new watch faces, a better Siri UI, old watch faces are updated for larger watch displays and there’s a whole host of new fitness features.
Apple have made the Fitness app available to anyone. Before you needed an Apple Watch to use it and to use Fitness+ which is Apple’s subscription workout app. Now anyone can use it to track their workouts and use Fitness+. You can share fitness stats with friends too if you want to be competitive. The Workouts app has more running metrics to better understand how you run so you can avoid injuries. There’s also triathlon support to auto switch between sports.
Unfortunately no tethered GPS support to track breast stroke swimming in open water. I’d personally love this as my watch often thinks it took me an hour to swim 10 metres. I’m sure Apple could do a thing where if your phone is close it can use that as the GPS tracker instead of the watch.
The Sleep app tracks more sleeping stages like REM to better understand your sleep. One day maybe our devices will be able to say “You didn’t sleep well last night because you had … at … which can cause …”
AFib History maintains a history of heart AFib alerts so you can share them with your doctor. It’s great. You can export them as a PDF and email them over. Really useful if you need it.
There’s a Medications app to track your medications and vitamins. You can set reminders for when you need to take them. On a recent iPhone you’ll be able to scan your medication into the app. Older phones will require you to enter the information manually. Once done the app will tell you if there’s a chance your medications may interact badly so you can discuss that with your doctor.
Medication logging. Log when you’ve taken your medications from a reminder or log medications right in the Health app. Interactive charts help you understand when you’ve taken your medications and give you insight into your medication adherence. Learn more about your medications Educational content on medications you’re taking gives you more context, including how to pronounce the name, what the medication is used for, how it works, and potential side effects.
Lastly there’s ‘Invitations for Health Sharing’.
Invite your loved ones to share their health data securely with you. Once they receive your invitation, they can choose which data to share.
A nice little feature to share your medical information with those you trust.
macOS Ventura, pronounced Ven-tour-a apparently. The Mail app gets a big update. I’m not sure if I’ll switch to it from Spark but I’ll give it a look. They’ve added the ability to undo sent emails and remind you of emails that you haven’t had a reply to. You can also schedule messages and there’s a ‘Remind me’. Useful for ADHD as it reminds you of emails you opened but didn’t get back to.
Safari has new ‘Shared tab group’ so you can plan events, shop and things with friends and family.
Passkeys is a big bold move from ASCII character based passwords to a more secure system. This will hopefully create a reduction in anxiety about passwords as they can’t be phished or leaked and are very secure.
A few last things…
AirPods now feature Personalised Spatial Audio. You can use the camera to map your face so the audio experience is better. Amazing.
iPadOS 16 and macOS have a bold new window management system called Stage Manager. It lets you have an overlapping multi-window setup on iPad OS. It could be game changing for productivity on the platform. It’s also coming to macOS.
Overall there’s some exciting new features coming to help with productivity and health. The Public Beta, if you feel brave, will probably be in July. I would advise caution and wait for the final release in September, or even 16.1 just to be safe. iOS 16 will be available for iPhone 8 and up. They’re dropping support for the 6 and 7.