iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Should you update?

Apple unveiled its next-generation iPhone operating system, iOS 16 at its WWDC event on June 6, 2022 . Impressively, iOS 16 packs a raft of new features and improvements for iPhone users. Right from an all-new personalized lock screen to an iCloud shared photo library, the new iOS 16 is fused with some pretty cool and exciting features. 

The Cupertino tech giant has also introduced iPadOS 16 , watchOS 9, macOS 13 Ventura, the latest M2 Processor , and an all-new M2 MacBook Air at the same event.

In this article, we’ve compared iOS 16 and iOS 15 . This will give you an exact idea of how the latest iOS 16 differs from iOS 15. Also, we’ve mentioned the new features that iOS 16 brings to iPhone users. Lastly, we’ve summed up the comparison with our advice on if you should update your iOS 15-powered iPhones like iPhone 12 or iPhone 13 to iOS 16, once the polished version lands this fall. 

So, let’s get started.

iOS 16 vs iOS 15

iOS 16 Release date

Apple announced iOS 16 at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 6, 2022. Currently, iOS 16 is available in developer beta and will be available to download as a public beta in a few weeks (in July). The stable version of iOS 16 will be available this fall, alongside the iPhone 14 series. 

iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Compatibility

Talking about the iOS 16 compatible devices, the iPhone 8 and later models are supported by the 2022 iOS version. It’s worth mentioning Apple has dropped the iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, and the original iPhone SE off its list of iOS 16 compatible devices. Also, since Apple has discontinued the iPod Touch 7th gen , it won’t get iOS 16. 

Let’s have a look at the complete list of iOS 16 compatible devices:

  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
  • iPhone XR, XS, XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 2020
  • iPhone 12 , 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro , iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 , 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 2022

For reference, iOS 15 is compatible with iPhone 6s, iPhone, 7, Original iPhone SE, iPod Touch 7th Gen, plus iPhone models supported by iOS 16. 

iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Lock Screen

Last year, iOS 15 brought an array of changes and improvements to the iPhone apps that enhanced the look and feel of the iPhone. Having said that, the lock screen still looked basic and kinda boring. With iOS 16, Apple has introduced an all-new Lock Screen with some pretty cool features that look beautiful and deliver a personalized experience. As soon as your boot an iPhone with iOS 16, you’ll be greeted with a revamped, pretty, and engaging lock screen.

In iOS 16, photos can be placed in front of the date and time info that looks more pleasing than ever and give you a sense of depth. Additionally, the iOS 16 lock screen allows you to go beyond and do much more. First, you can customize the lock screen elements, including your wallpaper, date, and time. When you press and hold your iPhone’s lock screen, you’ll get an editor that allows you to change the color and style of the lock screen elements. For example, you can change the font color of the date and time to complement your lock screen wallpaper. Second, with iOS 16, you can add widgets to the lock screen to see the important information at a glance. 

Next, you can also create multiple lock screens and switch between them by swiping on the screen. For example, you can set a lock screen for work like calendar widgets and another one for personal use like smart home widgets.  Moving further, there’s a Live Activities feature so that you can check the latest score of a game, track deliveries, and much more. Also, when you’re listening to music, you’ll see a full artwork on the lock screen, above the playback controls. Lastly, there’s a Photo shuffle option that automatically changes the pictures on your lock screen. The new Lock Screen gallery includes an impressive range of Apple collections like Pride and Unity, a live Weather wallpaper, Astronomy wallpaper, and more. 

So you see, the Lock Screen is one of the major differences between iOS 16 and iOS 15. The iPhone’s lock screen in iOS 16 feels more personal, helpful, and beautiful than in iOS 15. 

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iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Notifications

iOS 15 brought some super cool changes to iPhone Notifications with larger app icons & contact photos of people and a Notifications Summary feature that offers a helpful summary of the notifications received along with Focus modes. These features simplified the iPhone Notifications and ensured that your screen isn’t bombarded with unwanted notifications all the time. And, iOS 16 brings one of the most significant updates to Notifications on an iPhone. Interestingly, the Notifications on the lock screen will now roll from the bottom and can be hidden at the bottom of the lock screen so that it doesn’t cover up the beautiful image that you’ve just customized. This iOS 16 feature will come in handy for users who have trouble browsing notifications single-handedly on the Max variants of the iPhone.

iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Messages

With iOS 15, Apple had introduced some nice additions to the Messages app on iPhone. It includes the Photo Collections feature that displays the multiple images from a sender as a glanceable collage . The next is the “Shared with You” section that automatically stores the content sent to you over Messages in the corresponding app . The latest iOS 16 brings some of the most useful updates to the Messages app that users were badly waiting for a long time now. First, if we compare Messages on iOS 16 vs iOS 15, the latest iOS allows you to edit a sent message. Therefore, you can quickly correct an embarrassing typo before the recipient reads it. 

That’s not all. If you think that you shouldn’t have sent a message to a particular contact, iOS 16 allows you to quickly undo the sent message. Lastly, there’s a Mark as Unread option in the Messages app so that you can reply later to that message. 

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iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Focus Mode

Focus Mode on iOS 16 vs iOs 15

Debuted with iOS 15, Focus Mode is a supremely useful feature that lets you specify which apps and contacts can reach you. You can choose from DND, Work, Personal, and Sleep modes. This year, iOS 16 extends the Focus mode to the lock screen and other apps like Safari to help you find more balance. The Focus mode on iOS 16 is more powerful and allows you to tie a lock screen wallpaper and widget to a particular Focus. For instance, you can have one lock screen for work and another one for personal. That’s not all. iOS 16 also embeds the Focus mode within apps (Mail, Calendar, Safari, Messages) via Focus filters. For example, when you’ve opened the Messages app, you can use the Focus filter feature to display messages based on your Focus mode. As a result, it will only show you work-related chats from colleagues. 

iOS 16 vs iOS 15: SharePlay

SharePlay has been one of the most exciting features of iOS 15. It allows you to listen to songs in sync via Apple Music , watch your favorite movies & TV shows together, or share your screen to show how you use a certain app when you’re on a FaceTime call.  With iOS 16, Apple brings the SharePlay feature to Messages. Therefore, you can watch a Disney Plus movie or listen to your favorite songs while chatting with your friends in the Messages app. 

So, when we compare SharePlay on iOS 16 vs iOS 15, the latest iOS allows you to use SharePlay in FaceTime as well as the Messages app. On the flip side, iOS 15 supports SharePlay only on FaceTime. 

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iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Live Text 

Translate text in photo

Another ultra-popular and loved feature of iOS 15 is Live text . It uses on-device intelligence to recognize text inside a photo, allowing you to scan & interact with text inside a photo, screenshot, or web image. You can pull email addresses, phone numbers, and more information from a photo. Until now, this feature was exclusive to photos. iOS 16 brings the super-exciting and handy Live Text feature to videos. Therefore, with iOS 16 on your iPhone, you can pause a video on any frame and interact with the text. In addition, you can quickly convert currency, translate text, and do much more without having to leave the camera or video app. 

iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Visual Look Up and Image isolation

In iOS 15, Visual Look Up helps identify certain objects like art, flowers, landmarks, breed of dog, and more by pointing your iPhone’s camera at it. iOS 16 adds recognition of more subjects like insects, birds, and statues. Additionally, the latest iOS adds visual look-up enhancements where you can tap and hold on to the subject of an image to isolate it from the background and place it in apps like Messages, social media, or a photo or video editing app. Although it might not sound like a big feature, when you’re working on media projects or presentations, this iOS 16 feature makes moving media buttery smooth. 

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iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Mail

Mail in iOS 16

Apple Mail hardly gets any important updates and capabilities that put it on par with third-party apps . That’s the main reason why Apple users often have a third-party mail app set as default on their devices . iOS 15 introduced some privacy features that could hide your location, online activities, and whether or not you’ve read an email. However, these features weren’t enough to fulfill user requirements. 

Until now, the Mail app has always been in the background. Fortunately, things are not the same with the introduction of iOS 16. Apple Mail is finally catching up with the third-party offerings with its new tools and controls. With the Schedule Mails option, you can schedule your important messages ahead and also cancel the delivery in case you don’t want to send that message. Next, Remind Later and Follow Up Suggestions features ensure that you never miss replying to an important mail. Furthermore, the Undo Send feature allows you to unsend an email after you’ve sent it. 

That’s not all. With iOS 16, when you search in the Mail app, it will deliver more accurate, relevant, and complete results. Moreover, Mail will also scan your messages to detect if you’ve forgotten to include an important part of the message like an attachment. 

In short, if we compare the Mail app on iOS 16 and iOS 15, Apple has added some of the most awaited and supremely useful features in the latest iOS. 

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iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Maps

iOS 15 brought a bunch of upgrades and improvements like a 3D globe with enhanced details like new road colors, 3D landmarks, elevation data, commercial districts, and more. In addition, we got the Night-time mode with a moonlit glow, 3D city-driving experience with new road details, and the ability to pin our favorite/nearby public transit stops and station information to the iPhone and Apple Watch . These features offer iPhone users, brand-new ways to navigate and explore. 

Inspired by Google Maps, Apple has added a superb feature to Maps called Multistop routing. It helps you to plan journeys with up to 15 different stops in advance, all without having to put any additional information into Maps. Impressively, with automatically route syncing, you can plan your trip on your Mac, and then sync it with your iPhone when you’re ready to step out. Moving further, Maps on iOS also has new transit updates that give you an idea of your journey’s cost and add transit cards to your Wallet, see low balances reminders, and top up the cards, without leaving the Apple Maps app.

iOS 16 vs iOS 15: Wallet

Apple Pay Later and Order Tracking

iOS 15 allowed users to securely unlock, lock, and start their cars (from supported car manufacturers) without taking out their iPhones from their pockets or bag. In addition, iOS 15 made it possible to add hotel keys and passes, and easily access them with a simple tap on the iPhone. And now, iOS 16 has some pretty cool additions and upgrades to Wallet. First, ID cards will be available in more states and have more privacy features. Moreover, you can easily and securely share car or hotel keys with apps like Messages and Mail. Next, you can protect your identity and age. So, if you don’t want to share your exact birth date with an app or for signing up, you can share that you’re above 21. 

Moving further, iOS 16 introduces a brand new feature Apple Pay Later that allows users in the US to split the cost of an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments. Therefore, you can make a purchase and set up a six-week payment schedule, with zero interest. This will allow you to make purchases without having to pay the full amount at once or disturbing your budget. Additionally, iOS 16 offers a way to keep a track of your upcoming payments in the Wallet app. Lastly, with the Apple Pay Order Tracking feature, you can track Apple Pay orders, and receive detailed receipts & order tracking information in the Wallet.

So you see, there’s a whole lot of improvement and upgrades to Wallet with the latest iOS 16. 

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Additional Features of iOS 16

1. iCloud Shared Photo Library 

iCloud Shared Photo Library

iOS 16 brings a new iCloud Shared Photo Library feature that makes it super easy and convenient for families to share and relive their memories. It offers a seamless way to share a collection of photos and manage them in a shared iCloud library that up to 6 users can collaborate on and enjoy. Each user can add, delete, edit, or favorite the shared photos or videos. You can select the existing photos from your libraries or use the new toggle in the Camera app to share pictures directly to the shared library. 

2. Safety Check 

Apple has also introduced a new iOS 16 privacy tool, Safety Check, to help people in abusive relationships. Using this iOS 16 feature, a user can quickly revoke privacy permissions that he/she has granted to others. This includes passwords, location information, messages, iPhone apps, and more. Additionally, Safety Check allows a user to easily sign out of iCloud on his other devices. 

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3. Dictation offers a new on-device experience  

Apple has also made some changes to Dictation with the latest iOS 16. It includes an all-new on-device Dictation system that keeps the keyboard open so that you can easily switch between voice and typing. Additionally, iOS 16 even does memoji dictation. 

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4. The next-gen CarPlay

iOS 16 also introduces the new generation of CarPlay that makes deep integration with a car’s hardware. On iOS 16, CarPlay provides content for multiple screens within the vehicle for a consistent and unified experience. Additionally, with deeper integration, iPhone users can control the radio, change the climate, and do much more. Furthermore, CarPlay now supports widgets to give you at-a-glance information from Music and Weather right on your car’s dashboard.

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Should you upgrade to iOS 16 this fall?

Frankly speaking, there’s no doubt that iOS 16 brings some powerful upgrades and niceties for iPhone users. Right from the Mail and Maps additions to the introduction of exclusive features like iCloud Shared Photo Library, Live Text to video, Apple Pay Later, and Safety Check, iOS 16 is simply awesome, and therefore, it’s worth upgrading. Moreover, for an early adopter or a tech-savvy, who just can’t wait to get his hands on the upgraded iPhone operating system, you can definitely move to iOS 16. The public beta version of iOS 16 will land in July, with the full release in September with the upcoming iPhone 14 Series. 

On the flip side, it’s worth knowing that the initial versions of iOS 16 might cause some performance issues on older iPhones like iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 . So, if you’re someone who doesn’t want to deal with those bugs and glitches like overheating or lag, you can wait for some time. After all, Apple will fix bugs and refine its features for iOS 16 in its subsequent versions. Also, once the polished version of iOS 16 is out, Apple will drop support for iOS 15 in some time and you’ll have to update to the latest version. 

Are you planning to update to iOS 16 this fall? Or you’ll be staying with iOS 15? Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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