Apple recently released its first iOS 16.1 beta and it brings some improvements to existing features, brings features to previously unsupported devices and adds features that were promised at its WWDC 2022 developer event back in June. Those interested need to keep in mind that the features mentioned below are still in beta, meaning that there is no guarantee that they could show up on the final release of iOS 16.1. Users hoping to try out the 16.1 beta 1 update also need to keep in mind that the current update is only available to registered developers, while the stable update could be released next month.
It’s worth noting that according to XDA Developers, the iOS 16.1 update will break the software update mechanism so is not recommended for regular users to try out, until Apple fixes it.
Here’s a list of new features and changes found in iOS 16.1:
Battery Percentage Indicator
Apple has finally added the status bar battery percentage indicator on all iPhone models such as the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 miniand the more recent iPhone 13 mini. In an earlier report, we failed to understand why this much-awaited feature never reached older devices and it’s still unclear why that happened. The good news is that the iOS 16.1 beta 1 brings the battery percentage feature to these devices.
A report by MacRumours confirms that the latest beta adds support for the indicator on older models. The percentage indicator was removed with the launch of the iPhone X and the introduction of the display notch which houses the TrueDepth camera that is needed to unlock iPhone models that use Apple’s Face ID 3D facial recognition authentication system. Apple has somewhat remedied the issue with the introduction of the new Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone Pro Max models. The software feature displays notifications using an animated bubble around the revamped TrueDepth camera and changes shape depending on the notification or content being displayed. But for everything iPhone 14 Plus and below, the battery percentage display is a much-awaited feature that has finally arrived.
Matter is a new smart home standard that basically aims to connect to all types of devices from different brands and platforms (including Apple, Samsung, Google and Amazon). In the iOS 16.1 beta 1 release notes we have finally begun to see Apple support home accessories compatible with Matter. Everything is in the early stages and this includes support for pairing Matter home accessories along with integrating the same with Apple Home. We should expect to see more updates in future releases.
Clean Energy Charging
Clean Energy Charging mode was unheard of until it first appeared in an official press release during the rollout of iOS 16. Apple mentioned that it “aims to decrease the carbon footprint of the iPhone by optimising charging times for when the grid is using cleaner energy sources”. It appears to be a more efficient way to charge your iPhone, but will only be available in the US, for now. When available, the toggle will appear in the Settings app in the Battery section.
Apple Wallet can be deleted
First reported by 9to5Mac, iOS 16.1 beta 1 lets users delete the Wallet app. This could be beneficial for users in India who can currently only use the Wallet app for saving passes and tickets (again from supported third-party apps). With Apple Pay yet to arrive in India, users on iOS 16.1 will finally be able to uninstall the app entirely.
Live Activities, minor changes
The Live Activities API which will let developers implement support for Apple’s Live Activities notifications that pop up at the bottom of the lock screen and show information about live activities such as navigation routes, food deliveries, ride-sharing details and more, has also been added as part of the latest beta. Other minor changes include a new icon which shows the icon for connected headphones instead of the AirPlay icon. There’s also a slightly redesigned menu while saving or deleting a screenshot that now has icons next to each option. Users can also personalise the lock screen faster by showing lock screen and home screen wallpaper customisation options after tapping and holding the lock screen to view the customisation menu.