- Apple’s big iOS 16 update is now available for download, but not all of its features are ready yet.
- Some features won’t be available until another update is released later this year—likely iOS 16.1.
- Apple previously released features that were sometimes broken, and this approach prevents bugs from reaching iPhone owners.
Not all of the features announced as part of the big iOS 16 update are available at launch, but experts agree that Apple made the right decision to release them later in the name of quality and stability.
iOS 16 is the latest version of the software that powers Apple's iPhones, including the brand new iPhone 14 lineup. But Apple decided to remove some features from the initial iOS 16 release to give it more time to work on them, with the company confirming that they will be released later this year instead. It's a decision that means hotly anticipated features like Live Activities aren't available yet, but the delay is one that experts believe was warranted.
"The delayed launch of features is a bit messy this year," independent app developer Will Bishop told Lifewire via direct message when asked about Apple's staggered launch. "Ultimately, I prefer the approach of shipping better software later, rather than bad software now."
A Question of Quality
When Apple first announced iOS 16 during its WWDC22 event in June, it made a great deal of noise about the new features that iPhone users should look forward to. Since then, some of those features have been delayed until later this year, while others were given a similar release date at the time. So why announce features that weren't yet ready, and why did some features appear in beta versions of iOS 16, only to be removed? The hotly anticipated iCloud Shared Photo Library is one such feature. Apple initially let people beta-test it before removing it from later releases.
To some, including app developer Damien Petrilli who wrote on Twitter that this delay proves Apple's annual release cadence is unsustainable. The iOS 16 update comes a year after iOS 15, which itself was released a year after iOS 14, and so on. Apple has already been forced to delay iPadOS 16—an update original expected in September 2022—for a whole month to allow it to iron out bugs. If Petrilli is correct, might we see more delays like this in the future?
If we do, most experts agree that wouldn't be a bad thing for iPhone users around the globe. Technology analyst Jeff Kagan, told Lifewire in email, that he believes Apple is doing the right thing even if some people would prefer a different approach. "Early adopters prefer an early release, even if there are problems," he said. "The average user prefers no problems and is willing to wait."
Worth the Wait
People will need to wait for various features, including Live Activities, the aforementioned iCloud Shared Photo Library, and a new digital whiteboard feature called Freeform, among others. All of them, bar Matter support which Apple is waiting on the final specification for, could have launched by now.
Live Activities, however, is tied to a new iPhone 14 Pro feature—the Dynamic Island—that hadn't been announced yet. All iPhones will get Live Activities, but they behave differently on the new Pro model phones. Apple may have held the feature back to avoid outing the changes too early (though it still leaked).
Users hope the features will be worth the wait, not just for Live Activities support but for everything that didn't make the iOS 16 release date. And if experts are right, Apple is using the extra time to polish those features and iron out any bugs that might otherwise have been in the hands of real people everywhere. As Kagan said, that's the most important thing for the vast majority of Apple's huge iPhone-carrying community.
In fact, Kagan suggests those people might want to take Apple's lead a step further. "That is why I recommend never upgrading the iOS on your phones, tablets, or computers until months later," he said. "Give the company a chance to find and fix problems that get in the way of the user experience."