iOS 16.2 for iPhone is expected to launch next week with these 12 new features

iOS 16.2 is expected to be released next week after nearly two months of beta testing. With last-minute additions like Apple Music Sing and advanced data protection, the software update now contains more than a dozen new features for the iPhone.

Below, we’ve rounded up several of the new features that came with iOS 16.2, including Apple’s new whiteboard app Freeform, a couple of new lock screen widgets, the ability to hide the background and notifications on the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display, and AirDrop. New setup, SharePlay support for Game Center, improved live activities, and more.

Apple Music Sing

Apple music sing bg 1
Apple Music Sing is a new karaoke-like feature on the Lyrics screen in the Apple Music app that lets you sing along to tens of millions of songs. This feature allows users to lower the vocal volume in a song and then take over as the singer.

Apple Music Sing is compatible with devices with the A13 chip or later, including iPhone 11 and later, select iPads, and the latest Apple TV 4K.

Advanced data protection

Apple Advanced Security Advanced Data Protection Screen greenblue
iOS 16.2 introduces an optional Advanced Data Protection feature that, when enabled, extends end-to-end encryption to many additional categories of iCloud data, including Message and Photo backups, Notes and Reminders, Voice Memos, and more.

Advanced Data Protection is currently limited to US users and will begin rolling out to the rest of the world in early 2023, according to Apple.

Free application

Free application icon
iOS 16.2 includes the new Apple Freeform digital whiteboard app on iPhone. The app provides an infinite canvas on which you can draw and insert sticky notes, text boxes, shapes, images, videos, links, PDFs, and more. The app is also available on iPad and Mac, and you can collaborate with others in real time via FaceTime and iMessage.

Freeform is more useful on the iPad since the device supports the Apple Pencil, but you can still use the capacitive stylus on the iPhone.

Two new widgets for the lock screen

Medication Tool for iOS 16 2
There are two new lock screen widgets for Sleep and Medication on iOS 16.2. With the Sleep widget, you can view your most recent sleep sessions and sleep stages, while the Medication widget allows you to quickly access your medication schedule.

New always-on display options

Always in display options
Starting with iOS 16.2, you can hide the background and notifications in Always On Display mode on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. This results in the lock screen having a solid black and minimal appearance in always-on mode, similar to Android.

The new “Show wallpaper” and “Show notifications” toggles are in the Settings app under Display & brightness → Always on display.

Live action sports scores via the Apple TV app

nba live activities iOS 16
iOS 16.2 adds support for live activities for sports scores via the Apple TV app. This feature allows iPhone users to view live scores for MLB, NBA, and Premier League games at a glance on the Lock screen and on Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro models.

During a Premier League match, for example, Dynamic Island displays a scoreboard that updates live with the number of goals scored by each club. When long pressed, the dynamic island expands to show elapsed time and play-by-play movement. When the iPhone 14 Pro is locked and on all other iPhone models, the result appears in the Lock Screen logo.

To use the feature with an iPhone running iOS 16.2, open the TV app and tap the Continue button for a supported game. Apple says the feature is available for NBA and Premier League games for users in the US and Canada, and for MLB games for users in the US, Canada, Australia, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and South Korea.

New AirDrop setup

AirDrop iOS 16
iOS 16.2 replaces the previous “Everyone” setting in AirDrop with a limited “Everyone for 10 minutes” option to reduce unwanted requests from strangers. Now AirDrop automatically reverts to Contacts Only after 10 minutes.

New home applications engineering

homekit standoff
After updating to iOS 16.2 and opening the Home app, an update is available for the app with a new core structure. Apple says the new architecture improves app performance, efficiency, and reliability for controlling smart home accessories. This comes after the Home app gained support for Matter extensions in iOS 16.1.

Other new features

  • SharePlay support in Game Center lets you play multiplayer games with people you’re on a FaceTime call with.
  • iOS 16.2 enables support for 5G networks in India on iPhone 12 and later, starting with carriers Airtel and Reliance Jio.
  • The built-in Weather app now features an Apple News section.
  • Improved search in the Messages app lets you find images based on their content, such as a dog, car, person, or text.

There are a few other changes and improvements in iOS 16.2, as noted in the full release notes.

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