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Why Apple's Live Activities Will Be iOS 16's Best Feature

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 8/9/2022 Brady Snyder
© Provided by ScreenRant

iOS 16's overhaul of the iPhone Lock Screen is set to debut this fall, but later this year, an even more impressive feature will make its way to Apple's smartphones — Live Activities. The changes were announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, an event centered around developers and software. Though the previews of Apple's mobile operating system provide a glimpse of the features the company has been working on behind the scenes, some features require support from third-party developers. While Apple has developed an assortment of widgets based on its own application that can be permanently added to the Lock Screen, this is just a small part of widespread widget support. To be useful on a day-to-day basis, widget support on the Lock Screen needs support from third-party developers, and that's what will make the Live Activities feature great.

Certain features of the upcoming iOS 16 version were highlighted by Apple at its keynote event earlier in the summer, but more information is uncovered through multiple beta software periods. To make third-party development possible, a developer beta software version is released to authorized developers shortly after the operating system upgrade is announced. This gives developers the time they need to ensure their software will work properly with the update, and will maximize functionality in connection with the latest features. After the developer beta software period runs for a few weeks, a public beta software period is made available to anyone who signs up with their Apple ID. Out of all the features that can be tested with a beta version of iOS 16, it seems clear that Live Activities is the feature that's worth the wait.

Related: iOS 16’s ‘Sleep’ Wallpaper Mode Is An iPhone Always-On Display Preview

It's easy to confuse the Live Activities feature with the changes brought to the iOS 16 Lock Screen, which adds increased customization and personalization options to iPhone wallpapers. This, at times, has overshadowed the Live Activities that will come to the iPhone later this year. That's in part because Live Activities aren't currently added in the iOS 16 developer or public betas, and won't be added to the first version of iOS 16 when it releases in the fall. Not all features announced at WWDC release with the first software upgrade, and delays are somewhat common for large feature changes. However, with the fourth developer beta, Apple added a Live Activities API — allowing developers to start working on their Live Activities widgets. Even though Live Activities won't be ready for a fall launch, they're set to make a massive impact on an iPhone's daily use later this year.

Live Activities Are Smarter Widgets

Live Activities are essentially app widgets that appear on the Lock Screen when they're needed, and disappear when they aren't. This provides current, up-to-date information accessible at a glance. The premise is found on current iPhones today through the Now Playing widget, which permeates the Lock Screen anytime media is playing. Live Activities will extend this concept to other apps, including third-party ones. There are actions taken daily on a smartphone that require constant attention, like checking the status of an order or following a game, and these can be viewed at a glance with Live Activities.

The addition of Live Activities to the iPhone in iOS 16 marks the biggest integration of third-party applications at the operating system-level in the history of iOS. Third-party applications are required to follow a set of rules to be listed on the App Store, and are largely separate from iOS. With Live Activities, these can be integrated with the iPhone Lock Screen, in some cases. For example, if someone requests an Uber or orders food on their iPhone, the status of these requests can be viewed straight from the Lock Screens. Sports fans can check the score of their favorite team's game or event from a Live Activities widget on the Lock Screen as well, and these are just the start of the possible uses for Live Activities. Though it is yet to be seen how Live Activities will be integrated with iOS — it is still firmly in the development stages — it figures to be one of the most impactful changes to the iPhone's operating system in recent years.

Next: How To Create & Quickly Swap Lock Screens In iOS 16Source: Apple


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