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iOS 16: Five features I can't live without now (and how to use them)

These iOS 16 features will change how you use your iPhone on a daily basis.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer on

iOS 16 has been out for a few weeks now, giving all of us time to get settled in with all of the new features -- and eagerly await small updates to fix bugs and battery life issues. 

Even though I've been using iOS 16 since June when it first launched in beta, it wasn't until the official release that I could start working many of those features into my daily use. 

Also: How to get your iPhone ready for the new iOS 16

Below are a few of the iOS 16 features I simply cannot live without and how to use them.

Five features I can't live without and how to use them

1. Haptic Keyboard

Android phones, for as long as I can remember, have slightly vibrated with every tap and touch on the keyboard. The gentle physical feedback is a quick and easy way to acknowledge a key press has been registered, and I love everything about it. 

The iPhone, however, has only ever had that super annoying click sound. But first of all -- who doesn't constantly have their phone silenced? And second, if you have sound on, who wants to be that person? 

Well, with iOS 16 there's a new accessibility feature that turns on haptic feedback for the keyboard, and it's amazing. Never used an Android phone to know what you're missing? That's alright. You're about to experience a whole new world. 

Open your iPhone Settings app, then go to Sounds & Haptics > Keyboard Feedback, and slide the switch next to the Haptic option to the On position. Now, open any text message or tap on any text field, and feel the sweet bliss that is haptic feedback.

Screenshots of Settings, Sounds & Haptics, and Keyboard Feedback.
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

2. Remove image from the background

This one is just plain fun, and I've started to see younger iPhone users using it in a unique way -- to create custom iMessages stickers. 

When looking at a picture in the Photos app in iOS 16, you can remove a subject from its background -- like a fancy Photoshop user -- just by long-pressing on the subject. 

Once your iPhone has done all of the handiwork, you'll see a shimmer travel down the object letting you know that it's ready. You can either lift your finger and tap the Copy button, or drag and drop it into another app.

See: iOS 16's hidden Photoshop-like feature: Where to find it and how to use it (and why you're going to love it)

Finger removing part of image on iPhone.
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

3. Edit messages to remove embarrassing typos

Apple added the ability to edit or completely delete errant iMessages in iOS 16, but let's be honest, we're all only really using the new edit feature. Or at least I am, multiple times a day. It's somewhat embarrassing, the amount of typos I send and go back to fix. 

To use the new Edit or Undo Send feature, you'll need to be using Apple's iMessage platform (sorry green bubbles, text messages won't work). If you notice you sent a message with a typo and you want to fix it, you have 15 minutes from the time it was sent to do so. However, if you want to delete a message, you only have two minutes to completely remove it. 

If you're within the allotted respective window, long-press on the message, and then select the appropriate option. It's that easy. 

When you're done editing the message, the recipient will see an edit log of all your changes. And if you decided to delete a message, they'll only see an alert letting them know a message was removed. 

See: iOS 16: Here's how easy it is to edit or delete messages in the Messages app

Text message on iPhone.
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

4. Lock Screen Widgets for glanceable info

I really like the new Lock Screen widgets to provide always-on (at least on the iPhone 14 Pro line) access to information. 

Personally, I've been using widgets from the Stats app to monitor my Tesla's charge level, but also the calendar app's "up next" widget to see what's next on my daily agenda, the Fitness rings widget to see how close I am to closing my rings on a given day, and the weather app's current temperature widget. 

To create your own custom lock screen in addition to adding your own widgets, wake up your iPhone and unlock it, but don't swipe to go to your home screen. Instead, long-press on the lock screen until you get to the edit screen. Create a new lock screen or begin adding widgets to your current one by tapping in the respective boxes, and then select the app you want to add. 

Easy peasy. 

See: iOS 16: How to get the most out of your iPhone's new lock screen

iPhone iOS 16 lock screen.
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET

5. Undo Send in Mail

In the same vein as editing iMessages, the ability to Undo Send in Mail within the first few seconds after hitting send has already saved me from a few embarrassing, "Whoops, here's that attachment I forgot to add" emails over the last few weeks. 

The next time you send an email in the Mail app, right after hitting the Send button, look in the middle of the bottom of the screen, and you'll see Undo Send. Tap it before it disappears, and the compose email window will spring back up. 

The default amount of time you have to undo sending that message is 10 seconds, but you can change it to 20 or 30 seconds by opening the Settings app, then going to Mail, and scrolling to the very bottom of the page where you'll find Undo Send Delay.

Undo Send button on iPhone.
Jason Cipriani/ZDNET



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