It’s no secret that Apple’s iOS 16 update is packed with useful features, but some of these Apple didn’t even mention. Not at the unveiling of the software in June and not even after the public release of iOS 16 in September. It’s actually surprising considering that a little-known new feature may actually be one of the most important updates iOS 16 has to offer for iPhones.
Some of the best new features that have escaped the radar aren’t even listed on Apple’s support web pages for iOS 16. Apple’s developer documentation doesn’t even mention the features below. But that’s part of the fun of getting a big new iOS update – there are a lot of cool things to discover for yourself.
1. Choose which app opens a link from Messages
When you tap to open most links in the Messages app, they open in whichever app they’re associated with. This is the case with all rich and non-rich links on iOS 16 and earlier. However, Apple has snuck into an obscure feature that lets you choose which apps to open links in, but it only works for some non-rich links.
To try it out, long press a non-rich URL to open quick actions. If you only see “Open Link”, it won’t let you choose an app. But if you see multiple app names, you can choose one of those apps. For example, the quick actions for linking a link to iCloud will show “Open in Safari” and “Open in ‘Shortcuts'”, while the quick actions for linking to a podcast’s RSS feed will show “Open in Safari” and “Open in ‘Podcast.’ “
2. Use Apple TV Remote as an app
If you use the Apple TV remote from your iPhone’s Control Center to control your Apple TV or AirPlay 2-enabled smart TV, there is an interesting change for you on iOS 16 that makes it more like an app than a a simple Control Center tool.
While you won’t find an app icon on the home screen, nor in Spotlight Search or the App Library, it behaves more like an app. Before, whenever you tried to switch apps from the remote, it would simply close the remote and send you back to the Control Center. On iOS 16, it actually lets you access the app switcher, so you can quickly switch back to the remote after using another app.
Even better, it now has a URL scheme – tvremote: // – so you can create your app icon in the Links app and add it to your home screen. When you do, it will also appear in Spotlight Search and the App Library.
3. Get instant unit conversions in messages
When you chat with others in the Messages app, you’ll likely see a unit of measurement, currency, temperature, or something else in a conversation, especially if you’re talking to someone from another country. On iOS 16, Messages lets you convert those drives to your favorites.
It works for temperature, currency, weight, volume, distance / length, area, angles, time zones and more. Some compatible units include Fahrenheit, Celcius, Kelvin, miles, kilometers, feet, inches, yards, quarts, pints, ounces, cups, pounds, teaspoons, spoons, horsepower, watts, radians, and liters.
If Messages can convert a measurement, the unit will be underlined. Then, simply tap or tap and hold the unit to get the most popular conversions for your location. Apple has information on using Live Text to convert drives in photos, but has never mentioned anything about conversions in Messages.
4. Type, sign, and add shapes in handwritten notes
Another welcome addition to iOS 16 that Apple has never discussed is the option to add shapes, typed text, and your signature to any handwritten note in the Notes app. It works exactly like Markup in other scenarios, like when drawing on a screenshot, annotating a PDF, marking an image in an email, etc. – only the menu looks slightly different.
To add a sketch or drawing to a note, tap the Markup icon (the pen) from the toolbar above the keyboard or at the bottom of the note. Then, tap the new plus icon (+) to find “Add Text”, “Add Signature” and “Add Shape”.
5. Copy and delete screens at the same time
One of my favorite iOS 16 features is something I’ve wanted for years: the ability to copy a screenshot to the clipboard and delete the image with a single button. If you are someone like me who keeps a lot of unwanted screenshots in Photos, you will probably love it.
First, take a screenshot and tap its thumbnail to open the editor. Then, edit the screenshot as needed and hit “Done”. You will see a new “Copy and Delete” option in the menu. Tap it and the screenshot will go directly to the “Recently Deleted” album in the Photos app where it will eventually be deleted from your device and you can use the paste function in any app to add the screenshot image.
6. Create and manage contact groups
Surprisingly, one of the biggest and most valuable features Apple has provided us with iOS 16 is nowhere mentioned by Apple anywhere: creating and managing groups of contacts, now called lists, in the Contacts app. It’s actually the most significant update of the Contacts app ever, and the only thing Apple talked about was merging duplicate contacts.
Previously, you could only create and edit contact groups from the Contacts app on macOS or iCloud.com. The only thing you could do on your iPhone on iOS 15 and earlier was show and hide the groups you set up on your Mac or on the web, unless you were willing to use a third-party app.
Now you can create, rename, edit and delete lists, as well as add and remove contacts from them, and it couldn’t be simpler. But if you don’t know, you may never notice if you keep using Contacts like you did before.
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