This past Monday, September 12, 2022, Apple released version 16 of iOS, along with upgraded versions of tvOS and watch OS. Unusually, an accompanying version of iPadOS will not be released until some time in October.

At the time of release, Information Systems & Computing (ISC) suggested that all University users considering upgrading their devices to iOS 16 adopt a “wait and see” approach and continue to use earlier versions of iOS. This short wait allowed for any initial bugs and compatibility issues in iOS 16 to be identified and either fixed or avoided.

At this time, iOS 16 is cleared for general use by Penn constituents. ISC recommends that those with niche needs of untested apps or features continue to exercise caution in updating their iOS devices. iOS 16 is available for the iPhone 8 and above, along with the iPhone SE (2nd generation and above).

ISC and other University constituents have extensively tested iOS 16. They have not discovered any compatibility issues with various Penn systems and many current University apps, including the apps and services listed here:

  • Duo Mobile
  • LastPass
  • PennO365 and associated apps (including Teams)
  • Gmail
  • PennBox
  • Dropbox
  • PennZoom
  • Slack
  • PennFlex Phone (Webex)
  • Penn Mobile
  • Canvas
  • LinkedIn Learning
  • Workday
  • AirPennNet
  • University Client VPN (GlobalProtect)

The iOS 16 upgrade should not affect any data on the device being upgraded. Still, as with any operating system change, ISC strongly recommends performing a backup before upgrading. ISC also recommends connecting devices to a power source for the duration of the upgrade process, which generally ranges from 30 to 50 minutes. Lastly, ISC recommends updating all apps via the App Store before upgrading to iOS 16.

Significant Changes in iOS 16

Lock Screen changes

Many of the significant updates to iOS 16 revolve around changes to the lock screen. The most highly-touted of these changes is the ability to edit the lock screen. By touching and holding somewhere on the lock screen, options to edit and add additional customized lock screens appear. From there, you can add widgets, themes, and other features to lock screens, as well as select which you would like to use as the “active” lock screen.

Other changes to the lock screen include notification displays, which now scroll up from the bottom rather than the top (notifications still scroll from the top when devices are unlocked). In addition, improvements to iOS Focus mode work in tandem with multiple lock screens such that devices can be configured to automatically display specific lock screens during specific Focus modes such as Driving, Sleep, Do Not Disturb, etc.


Messages adds the ability to both edit and recall text messages after they are sent. It is worth noting, however, that both devices need to be using iOS 16 or above and Messages for this feature to work as expected. If the recipient is using SMS or iOS versions earlier than 16, recalled messages will only disappear from the sender’s device, not the receiver’s, and edited messages will send a new text saying “Edited to ‘edited version of text.’” Finally, the ability to edit and recall is also affected by other iPadOS and macOS devices both sender and receiver may have. Messages also adds the ability to start SharePlay sessions from within the app.

iCloud Shared Photo Library

A new feature to Photos is the iCloud Shared Photo Library. A Shared Photo Library is a communal iCloud photo library that gives multiple individuals access to add, edit, tag, and delete photos. Each AppleID can participate in only one iCloud shared Photo library, which can be shared between up to 6 AppleIDs—one “host,” on whose iCloud account all photos are stored, and five other individually invited AppleID. All users of an iCloud shared photo library have full permissions to it, so care is recommended when choosing whom to share with. Photos can be moved from an individual to a shared library easily, and a share option on the Camera app allows photos to be directly saved to the iCloud shared library if desired.

Apple Pay changes

One addition to Apple Pay in iOS 16 is the Apple Pay Later service, which allows users of Apple Pay to pay for purchases in four installments instead of all at once. Apple reports that using Apple Pay Later itself is fee-free, although there is likely to be some penalty for a default. At the moment, Apple Pay Later appears to be restricted to online or in-app purchases that accept Apple Pay. In addition, Apple Pay appears to work in non-Safari browsers on iOS 16.