5 elite new iOS 16 features I'm going to love getting free on my iPhone

There are some killer features coming in iOS 16. I can't wait for the public beta

iOS 16 lock screen
(Image credit: Apple)

As much as I enjoyed Apple's WWDC 2022 keynote, I know from previous years that some of the most interesting stuff isn't shown in the keynote. Instead, it's revealed over the next few days as developers get their hands on the next version of iOS and iPad OS. And some of the things they've discovered make me really excited for the iOS 16 public beta, which should arrive very soon: it's going to bring a whole bunch of useful features to every compatible iPhone.

Here are some of the highlights for me.

1. Handoff in FaceTime

Handoff, which enables you to move what you're doing from your phone to your Mac or iPad and vice-versa, is now in FaceTime – so you can start a call on your phone and Handoff to your Mac or iPad, or take a call from your Mac and put it on your phone so you can wander around while you chat.

2. Fitness tracking without an Apple Watch

If you have an Apple Watch you'll be very familiar with the excellent iPhone Fitness app, which enables you to set all kinds of goals and track your activity. In iOS 16, those features will no longer require an Apple Watch: you'll be able to use the sensors inside phones such as the iPhone 13 to track your steps, distance and workouts. You won't get the Apple Fitness+ features, as they're specifically for the watch, but it's a good option for anyone who doesn't have a smartwatch or activity tracker.

3. Paste Edits in Photos

This is one I know I'll use a lot: in iOS 16 you can copy all the edits you've made in one image and paste them into another, so if you've just done a bunch of adjustments to get one picture looking its best then you can repeat that for a whole series of shots.

4. Instant translation in the Camera app

Google app users will no doubt tut at Apple's tardiness, but iOS 16 now has Google Lens-style translation right there in the Camera app so you can point your phone at signs or menus to see what they say in your preferred language.

5. More Memoji

Memoji were everywhere in the keynote, and iOS has introduced some new poses: you can yawn, tell someone to talk to the hand or do a chef's kiss, among others. There are also new hair styles, new noses and some new lip shades too.

There are lots of other new features too including a redesigned video player, some FaceTime interface tweaks, an option to find duplicates in your Photos library and improved settings for your AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max (or your Beats), and I like the way you'll be able to share your Safari extensions across your devices so your adblockers and other add-ons are always there. There's even support for the Nintendo Switch pro controller and Joy-Cons for gaming.

These are all little things, I know, which is why Apple didn't dedicate valuable keynote time to them. But together they're going to deliver the best iPhone experience yet, and I can't wait to try the iOS 16 public beta when it drops in July. As much as I'd like these features on my iPhone right now, I've learnt from experience that some of my most important iPhone apps don't always work in pre-public beta releases. And July isn't that far away.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).