While iOS 16 is packed with great new features, not everything Apple announced at WWDC will make it to your iPhone when iOS 16.0 arrives Monday. Of course, some just don’t work on older iPhones. But others just aren’t destined to be part of the initial release on Monday, September 12. Instead, you’ll see them later this year in iOS 16.1, 16.2, or maybe even a later update. Here are the iOS 16 features that we know you just have to wait a little longer to get.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
One of the most anticipated features of iOS 16 is the ability to have a single shared photo library in iCloud. You have been able to share albums for a long time, but one library shared by family members and where photos and videos automatically go is something many have wanted for a long time.
We thought it was a particular inclusion in the initial iOS 16 release but broke down at the last minute and disappears from the release candidate after being included in previous beta releases. Apple hasn’t said when the feature will return, but the iOS 16 website now says “coming out later this year,” so we’re guessing iOS 16.1 in October is a safe bet.
When iOS 16 was unveiled at WWDC in June, Live Activities was a real highlight. You can think of them as notifications that persist and are dynamically updated by the associated apps. Follow a sports competition? Why get a whole bunch of notifications every time the score changes, when you could have one notification showing a live, continuously updated score? The same goes for food or package delivery, ride-hailing apps, fitness activities, and more.
The Live Activities API was supposed to be in the first iOS 16 release, but a post on the developer site announcing the API for developers confirmed that “Live Activities and ActivityKit will not be included in the first public release of iOS 16.” instead, the “later this year” feature, which sounds like iOS 16.1 to us, will at least give developers more time to submit their Live Activities apps to the App Store.
Matter is a new cross-compatibility standard for smart home that should have come a long time ago. Simply put, a device that is Matter certified will work with Apple Home, Alexa, and Google Home, among others. The Home app in iOS 16 is getting a major update, including a welcome new interface, lots of performance and reliability updates under the hood, and support for Matter.
The new app is still coming, but Matter support won’t come until later this year. Still, Apple is one of the early adopters here: The first devices to ship with Matter support and the first software updates to make older devices compatible with Matter will also come later this fall.
Game Center Features
Game Center is getting support for SharePlay, which will let you play a game right away during a FaceTime call, and it will integrate with Contacts so you can quickly and easily see the Game Center profiles of all your contacts (if they allow it) in the Contacts app. It’s not clear what the delay of these features is, but they’ll be coming in an update to iOS 16 later this fall.
Free form app
Apple announced a new first-party whiteboard and collaboration app called Freeform as part of its iPadOS 16 demo at WWDC, but the app is truly cross-platform. You can download it for iPad, Mac or iPhone and collaborate freely with your colleagues via the cloud wherever you are. It’s basically a big flexible canvas that lets you drop almost anything on it — PDFs, notes, images, audio, web links, and more — and see them all in preview. Then you can add notes or draw anywhere with Apple Pencil support, and see where others are working with live cursors.
Freeform was a “later this year” thing from the start, but when Apple decided to skip the release of iPadOS 16 and make the first initial release of iPadOS 16.1, it really put a stop to it. At the moment we don’t know exactly when Freeform will be released, but it will certainly be some time after iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura, and possibly even 2023.