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Tech Matters: Useful new iOS 16 features you should try

By Leslie Meredith - Special to the Standard-Examiner | Sep 21, 2022

Photo supplied

Leslie Meredith

Yes, iOS 16 is available to download. You’ll need an iPhone 8 or more recent iPhone to do it. We’ll walk through the download process and then turn to the new operating system’s most useful features.

Before you start the download, make sure your phone’s backup feature is enabled so that in the unlikely event something goes wrong, you won’t lose anything on your phone. Check by going to “Settings,” tap on your name, “iCloud,” “iCloud Backup” and “Back Up Now.” Keep this feature on by default.

Are you ready to download? Almost. Make sure your iPhone is connected to power and your battery is at 50% or greater. Connect to Wi-Fi. You’ll need at least 5 gigabytes of free storage space. If not, move off photos and videos to the cloud or an external device. You can also delete large files and unused apps by going to “Settings,” “General” and then “iPhone Storage,” where you’ll see a list of large files to select from.

To download iOS 16, go to “Settings,” scroll down and tap “General” and then “Software Update.” If you don’t see iOS 16 at the top of your screen, that means you’re behind in updates. Scroll down to see “Upgrade to iOS 16” and tap it. The installation should only take a few minutes. Now it’s time for the good stuff. The customizable lock screen seems to be the favorite new feature, but here are additional ones I find most useful.

iOS 16 brings you the ability to edit messages after you’ve sent them. Whether it’s autocorrect gone wrong or an ordinary typo, you can now fix your text maybe even before it’s read. Once edited, there will be a tiny “edited” notation below the message, a standard practice in social media. The recipient will be able to see previous versions if they hold down the notation. You will also be able to recall a message. But the clock will be ticking: you have 15 minutes to edit what your message says and two minutes to unsend it. You can also mark messages as unread after you’ve read them, which is useful when you don’t have time to respond immediately.

Improvements continue in the Messages app with the ability to restore previously deleted messages. There’s now a Recently Deleted folder in Messages. Go to your message list and tap “Edit” in the upper left corner, which opens a dropdown menu. Select “Show Recently Deleted.” You’ll then see a list of the messages you’ve deleted and the number of days until they’re permanently deleted. Check the ones you’d like to recover or easily select all to recover or delete.

Apple Mail now lets you schedule your emails to be sent in the future. After composing an email, press down on the send arrow to see your options, including a time tonight, tomorrow or set your own time by using the calendar and the clock feature.

Here is one of my favorite features that represents new functionality within the Photos app. There’s no official name for this, but it is essentially a quick way to remove the background from a photo and use the cut-out in another app. There are entire apps devoted to doing this and of course Photoshop, but iOS 16’s built-in feature makes it simple and faster than relying on another app.

Just open an image in the Photos app and hold down on it. You’ll see a faint outline drawn around the main object or objects. You copy and paste it into an Instagram post, a text message or any other app that uses a photo. You could also send the clip to your email for even more applications. My daughter, a special education Ph.D. student, was especially excited about this one as a quick way to simplify pictures for the visually impaired.

Photos now gives you the ability to delete or merge duplicate photos, a great resource for those running out of storage space. Give it a try by opening the Photos app, tap “Albums” at the bottom of the screen and then scroll down to “Utilities.” Select “Duplicates” and you’ll see duplicate matches with the option to merge. Tap “Merge” to delete the duplicates. Behind the scenes, the software combines relevant data like captions, keywords, and favorites into one photo with the highest quality. Discarded duplicates will show up in the Recently Deleted album so you can check on what was discarded and recover any shots.

Leslie Meredith has been writing about technology for more than a decade. As a mom of four, value, usefulness, and online safety take priority. Have a question? Email Leslie at asklesliemeredith@gmail.com.

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