It will launch for iPhone users with an iPhone 8 or newer models, and it adds quite a few features that weren’t available when iOS 16 launched back in September.
Here’s what’s coming.
Access Apple Fitness+ without Apple Watch
IPhone users with iOS 16.1 will be able to subscribe to and access Apple Fitness+ even if they don’t have an Apple Watch.
Fitness+ is a subscription service with guided workouts and meditations that costs $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Apple is offering three months of Fitness+ free with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
If you work out on Fitness+ without an Apple Watch, you won’t be able to see metrics like calories burned, or your real-time heart rate.
Clean energy iPhone charging
The iOS 16.1 update will also include Clean Energy Charging. Apple says this will let users optimize charging for when cleaner energy sources are available, helping to decrease your iPhone’s carbon footprint.
Clean Energy Charging is an option you can select in Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging. Under the Clean Energy Charging option, Apple says, “In your region, iPhone will try to reduce your carbon footprint by selectively charging when lower carbon emission electricity is available. iPhone learns from your daily charging routine so it can reach full charge before you need to use it.”
iCloud shared photo library
IOS 16.1 will let you create an iCloud Shared Photo Library instead of a standard shared iCloud album.
This will allow you to invite up to five other people, or six in total, to a library where you can all add, delete, edit or favorite photos and videos.
The Camera app will offer a new toggle that allows users to choose to send photos to the shared library automatically. So, if you’re on vacation and taking a bunch of pictures at the beach with a group of friends, everyone can snap pictures with this option turned on and see all of the photos in the shared album.
Live Activities for third-party apps
Once you update to iOS 16.1 your lock screen will feature Live Activities, which shows information from sports games, ride-sharing apps like Uber, or updates on a food delivery order. So, you might see how long it’ll take for dinner to arrive at your house, with information on how soon it’ll arrive. Or, as the screenshot below shows, the score, inning and count of a baseball game with updates on plays. It’ll be most useful on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, which have always-on displays so you can glance to see new information. You’ll start to see some apps on Monday but it requires developer adoption, so additional apps will come later.
Here’s what it looks like:
Support for Matter accessories in the Home App
IOS 16.1 will add support for new Matter accessories to the Home app, which lets users control smart home accessories.
Matter is a new connectivity standard that’s trying to make it easier to use all of your smart home accessories, together, no matter who designed them. The idea is to let smart home devices connect with home hubs, whether the hub is made by Apple, Google or Amazon. It means you should be able to go to the store and buy a smart bulb, for example, without worrying if it’ll work with your system at home, so long as it supports Matter.