9 Best Hidden Features in iOS 16: What You Need to Know
Apple’s latest software release for the iPhone — iOS 16.1 — came out on Oct. 24, about a month after the release of iOS 16. The update includes several bug fixes and security updates, as well as a couple of cool new features like Live Activities and iCloud Shared Photo Library. Apple also took the hint and redesigned the battery meter icon in the status bar.
Though the big features in iOS 16 make the headlines, they’re only the beginning of everything that’s new. Once you get deep into your iPhone settings, there are lots of hidden features to make your experience even better.
If you want to take a closer look at some of the hidden gems that iOS 16 has to offer, like password-protected photo albums and easily accessible Wi-Fi passwords, here’s what you need to know.
Pair Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons with your iPhone
Apple has long allowed you to pair third-party controllers, like the PS5 Sony DualSense and Xbox Core Controller, to your iPhone and iPad, in order to more comfortably play mobile video games like the Apple Arcade library, Minecraft, and Call of Duty. Now you can add another console controller to that list.
If you own a Nintendo Switch, you can now pair your Joy-Con controllers to your iPhone or iPad running iOS 16. To start, hold down the little black pairing button on the Joy-Con until the green lights start running back and forth. This means the device is in pairing mode. Next, open your iPhone and go to Settings > Bluetooth and select the Joy-Con from the list. Repeat this step with the other Joy-Con
Hidden and Recently Deleted albums are now password protected
The Hidden album in the Photos app is clearly not hidden, seeing as anyone can easily find it. That makes it impractical to adequately hide private photos and videos. While Apple does have the option to make the Hidden album “invisible,” anyone with access to your phone could make it visible again and view everything inside.
Thanks to iOS 16, you can now lock the Hidden album. You don’t actually need to do anything to toggle this feature on. If you want to check it out, launch the Photos app and go to the Albums tab at the bottom of the screen. If you scroll down, you’ll see a tiny lock next to the Hidden and Recently Deleted albums. To view the contents of those albums, you’ll need to use your Face ID or your passcode.
View and share saved Wi-Fi passwords
Apple has allowed iOS users to share Wi-Fi passwords for a while now, but only by placing two Apple devices near each other. And if that feature didn’t automatically work, you couldn’t just dig out the password from your settings. Plus if you wanted to share a saved Wi-Fi password with someone else, like an Android user or someone on a computer, you had to remember the password. Until now.
In Settings, go to Wi-Fi and tap the tiny information icon to the right of the network you want the password for. To view the network password, tap the Password section and then use Face ID or enter your passcode to view it. You can then tap Copy to copy the password into your clipboard and share it.
Find and remove duplicate photos and videos
Maybe you’ve saved the same photo multiple times or downloaded a video more than once, resulting in duplicates littering up your photo album. It may not be a problem if you’ve got storage to spare, but if you’re running out of space, you can now remove every single duplicate easily with iOS 16.
In Photos > Albums, you should see a new Duplicates album under Utilities. Apple scans through all of your photos and shows you any photo or video you’ve saved more than once in that album. From there, you can either delete any duplicates or simply press Merge, which will keep the photo with the highest quality (and relevant data), and then move the others to the trash.
Although you’ll probably want to go through each set of duplicates, to ensure that they’re actually exact copies and not similar photos, you can also hit Select > Select All > Merge to remove every single photo and video that Apple thinks is a duplicate, all at once.
Hang up a phone or FaceTime call with Siri
Siri does a lot of things. You can use the virtual assistant to send a text message, get directions or play music — but one thing she’s never been able to do is to hang up a phone call. Weird right? Now that’s finally a possibility with iOS 16.
In Settings, go to Siri & Search and first make sure Listen for “Hey Siri” is toggled on. If it is, you should see a new option underneath — Call Hang Up. Go into that option and toggle on Call Hang Up. When you’re on a phone call or FaceTime video chat, simply say, “Hey, Siri,” and ask her to hang up your current call.
Copy and paste photo and video edits
If you use the editor tool in the Photos app, you’ll be happy to learn that you can now copy and paste edits, including saturation, contrast, and brightness, between photos. If you edit one photo or video and are happy with the look, you can paste those same exact edits to any other photo or video in your camera roll.
To do this, launch the Photos app and open a photo that’s been edited in full-screen. Next, tap on the three-dot menu in the top-right corner and then hit Copy Edits. This option will only appear if the photo has been edited within Photos, not any third-party photo editor. Finally, go to the photo you want to copy these edits over to, tap on the three-dot menu, and then hit Paste Edits. After a second or so, you should see the photo edits appear.
Bring haptic feedback to your keyboard
The iPhone has long had haptic feedback. It’s what you feel underneath your fingertips whenever you attempt to delete an app from your home screen or enter the incorrect password on your lock screen. Strangely enough, haptic feedback has never been available for the stock iOS keyboard — until now.
If you want to enable a slight vibration for every single key you type in, go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics > Keyboard Feedback and toggle on Haptic. The sound option you see is the loud and annoying clacking sound you might hear when you type in something and your phone isn’t in silent mode, so you can keep that disabled.
Pin your favorite tabs in Safari
Safari caps your open tabs at 500, and if you’re nearing that limit, it might be pretty darn hard to find the exact tab you’re looking for. You could scroll endlessly, but there’s now an easier way to find the exact tab you’re looking for.
In Safari, if you press down on an open tab, you now have the option to hit the Pin Tab. This will move that tab to the top of Safari, where it will exist as a tiny tab preview, permanently pinned there, which you can then tap to view.
If you press down and unpin a tab, it will move to first in your grid of open tabs.
Use Face ID while you’re lying down
If you’ve ever tried to unlock your iPhone while it’s vertical like when you’re lying on your side, you might have noticed that it doesn’t work. You have to place your iPhone in portrait orientation, or upright, for Face ID to work. With iOS 16, you can finally use Face ID to unlock your iPhone when it’s in landscape orientation. However, for this to work, you must have an iPhone 13 or 14 running iOS 16.
For more on iOS 16 and the iPhone, see why some aren’t happy with the new battery icon and discover the three things you should do first after installing iOS 16.
Source: Nelson Aguilar from CNET