The must-have iOS 16.1 update makes sharing iPhone photos with family easier

iPhone 14 Pro iOS 16.1 update
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Apple recently rolled out iOS 16.1 to eligible iPhones, which includes easier photo sharing via iCloud, access to Apple Fitness+ workouts without an Apple Watch, and a new notification type: Live Activities.

iOS 16.1 lets you create a shared family photo album on iCloud

Also available on iPad following iPadOS 16, the latest iPhone update adds the iCloud Shared Photo Library feature. With this addition, up to six people can share a single photo library using iCloud. Members of an iCloud Shared Photo Library can add, favourite, edit and caption photos, or delete them if they so choose.

iPhone iOS 16.1 iCloud Shared Photo Library
Adding photos to a shared library.

Activated through the Photos app, you can add users to a library via message or direct link, which then allows others to contribute. At this stage, you can only host one shared library at a time, but it helpfully only contributes towards the host user’s iCloud storage limit, not all participating members.

iCloud Shared Photo Library is a clever idea that will undoubtedly streamline photo sharing while on holiday or attending a family event.

Apple Fitness+ is no longer restricted to Apple Watch owners

Apple Fitness+, the company’s subscription workout service, used to require an Apple Watch in order to participate. Once you factor in the cost of the watch, a subscription, and an iPhone or Apple TV, it all adds up. Now, with iOS 16.1, you can do Fitness+ workouts on an iPhone without needing an Apple Watch as well. If you opt for a watch-less workout, you do forgo heart rate measurement and accurate metrics, but it’s nice to have the option.

iPhone iOS 16.1 Apple Fitness+

To coincide with the reduced barrier to entry, three months of Apple Fitness+, valued at $14.99 per month, comes with the purchase of a new iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. Additionally, more workouts are frequently added to the service, which currently has more than 3,000 activities in total. Good news for Swifties as well because several new workouts feature Taylor Swift’s music to commemorate her latest album, Midnights.

Live Activities notifications come to iPhone lock screens and Dynamic Islands

Static phone notifications will soon be out of fashion if Live Activities has anything to do with it. As the name suggests, the new notification provides real-time updates from apps that support the feature. While the current list of supported apps is small, Apple promotional material indicates it will be ideal for tracking sports scores or exercise – anything where a static notification would be obsolete by the time you check it.

iPhone 14 Pro iOS 16.1 update Live Activities Dynamic Island
The Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max is about to get a lot more use.

It appears as a rounded rectangle on your lock screen, meaning you don’t even have to unlock your phone to keep track of your chosen real-time app. If you have an iPhone 14 Pro, Live Activities will also appear in the Dynamic Island (the notch at the top of the display) when using the device. In theory, this should make it possible to track one app via Live Activities while using another, creating multitasking possibilities.

Which iPhones can update to iOS 16.1?

As you’d expect, the latest iPhone 14 range supports iOS 16.1, so here’s a list of all the compatible devices:

  • iPhone 14 (base, Plus, Pro, and Pro Max)
  • iPhone 13 (base, Pro, Pro Max)
  • iPhone 12 (base, mini, Pro, Pro Max)
  • iPhone 11 (base, Pro, Pro Max)
  • iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max
  • iPhone X and iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd gen)
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

There are also some other nice-to-have features following the iOS 16.1 update. Namely Matter support, ready for when the cross-brand smart home protocol goes live, and more visual battery indicator options to help you know when it’s time to charge.

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