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iOS 16.2 Features: Apple Music Sing, always-on display and iCloud encryption boosts now available

Apple has launched iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 with a host of new features including Apple Music Sing, iPhone 14 always-on display improvements and improved iCloud encryption.

One of the more notable ‘dot’ updates in recent years also introduces the Freeform collaborative whiteboard app, changes to AirDrop and new lock screen widgets.

Here’s how to get iOS 16.2 right now and a summary of the new features.

How to download and install iOS 16.2

You know the drill by now. iOS 16.2 (and its iPadOS companion) can be downloaded over-the-air on your iPhone or iPad. Simply head to Settings > General > Software Update to access iOS 16.2. Below the release notes, you’ll see the option to Download and Install.

On our iPhone 12 Pro Max, the update size is 1.14GB, but that may vary depending on the handset you’re using. You’ll need a decent amount of battery life and it’s best to be connected to Wi-Fi to install the update. Also, it’s a good idea to ensure your iPhone is backed up before commencing the Instal.

Here’s what’s new in Apple iOS 16.2…

Apple Music Sing

Apple Music Sing is a full karaoke experience coming to Apple Music subscribers. There’ll be jumping lyrics, the ability to lower the lead vocal track, sing duets, and much more. Apple had said the experience is coming soon to iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, but now we know it’ll be within iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and tvOS 16.2.

You can read about Apple Music Sing here and check out this early hands-on video below.

iPhone 14 always-on display improvements

Some iPhone 14 users had complained the iPhone 14 Pro’s always-on display was a little too distracting because it showed a dimmed version of the wallpaper and allowed notifications to come through. The iOS 16.2 update enables users to disable notifications and the wallpaper to leave only the time and the Lock Screen widgets iPhone users have selected.

Advanced Data Protection in iCloud

Apple iOS 16.2 features the launch of the Advanced Data Protection standard for iCloud, which enables users to opt in to having 23 categories of data covered by end-to-end encryption. It means not even Apple will have access to the data for apps like Notes, Photos and even iCloud Backup. A concern for the Feds, but good news for user privacy amid an increase in attacks.


AirDrop time limit

Apple copped some flak for introducing a new AirDrop feature in China, which limited the ability to receive AirDrop files for ten minutes at a time. This was widely interpreted in assisting the Chinese government clamping down on protests being shared via the service. Regardless of the merits of the change it’s now being rolled out everywhere in iOS 16.2.

Users will be able to choose from Receiving Off, Contacts Only or Everyone for 10 minutes. Previously, the receiving option was “Everyone” and it remained on in perpetuity.

New Lock Screen Widgets

The Sleep widget for the Lock Screen, which is now available in beta versions, joins the existing Home Screen widget. There are a couple of options; the smaller square showing total sleep, and the larger rectangular widget showing a graph view.

As for Medications, it’s a similar story. There’s a square widget showing a pill and a larger widget informing users of the medications they have scheduled today. Apple has already added support for medication tracking within the Health app in iOS 16, but having these widgets visible on the Lock Screen might give people an added memory boost.

Apple News in Weather

Elsewhere, there’s Apple News integration within the Weather app, which makes perfect sense if you’re experiencing a newsworthy weather event like flooding or tornadoes, for example.


With iOS 16.2, Apple is finally launching the Freeform collaborative whiteboard app first previewed at WWDC 2022 in June. Our own Hannah Davies explains: “You can use your Freeform canvas to brainstorm ideas, diagram new projects, bring together assets or simply sketch and jot down your thoughts with others in real-time – as you would with a real whiteboard but with the added perk of it all being virtual.”

Live Activities from Apple TV app

“Live Activities for Apple TV app let you follow your favourite teams with live scores right on your Lock Screen or in Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max,” Apple says in the release notes for iOS 16.2. In the build up to the launch, Apple had been trialling more regular updates for Live Activities. It’s not clear whether this has made it into the final version.

Other iOS 16.2 improvements

In the release notes Apple also flags the following changes:

  • Improved search in Messages allows you to find photos based on their content, like a dog, car, person, or text
  • Reload and Show IP Address setting enables iCloud Private Relay users to temporarily disable the service for a specific site in Safari
  • News articles in Weather display information relevant to the weather in that location
  • Participant Cursors in Notes allow you to see live indicators as others make updates in a shared note
  • AirDrop now automatically reverts to Contacts Only after 10 minutes to prevent unwanted requests to receive content
  • Crash Detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models
  • Fixes an issue that causes some notes not to sync with iCloud after updates are made

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