iOS 16 Lets You Customize Your iPhone Lock Screen More Than Ever Before

Apple announces at WWDC today that the next iOS update will enable you to spruce up your iPhone lock screen with widgets, colors, fonts and more.

Katie Collins Senior European Correspondent
Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
3 min read
Craig Federighi presents at WWDC 2022

Apple's Craig Federighi promises more customizations for your lock screen.

Apple/Screenshot by Katie Collins/CNET

Your iPhone's lock screen has long been a place to outwardly personalize the look of your phone, but have you felt like the customization options are a little... limited? Well, no longer. 

Apple announced during its WWDC 2022 keynote on Monday that it's giving the iPhone lock screen its biggest-ever overhaul with the upcoming release of the iOS 16 mobile operating system.

Watch this: iOS 16 Introduces Live Events on Your Lock Screen

"New lock screen remains undeniably iPhone while also giving you new ways to make it more personal, beautiful and helpful than ever," Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, said as he introduced iOS 16 during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference. 

The event takes place all this week, but it kicked off letting Apple customers know what changes they can expect via software updates later this year.

The new lock screen options are designed to make your phone more immediately useful and more aesthetically pleasing when you pick it up. The new features to customize the interface are more akin to those that are already available on the Apple Watch. A new depth effect will make subjects in your photos stand out against the rest of the background. And you'll be able to switch out the backgrounds to make images of your pets or loved ones pop even more. 

If you're indecisive, you can even create a wallpaper gallery that allows you to switch between lock screen images with ease, or have them set to shuffle at different intervals throughout the day.

Change the look of your lock screen with iOS 16.

Apple/GIF by Katie Collins/CNET

Switching up your lock screen promises to be easy. You press and hold to test and customize, swiping to test different colors, filters, fonts and time options. Apple also promises that when you're listening to music that the album art will take up more real estate on your lock screen than it typically has in the past.

Beyond aesthetics, you'll also now be able to add widgets to your lock screen, giving easy access to more information about the temperature, an activity or your calendar at a glance. Notifications will now roll in from the bottom of the lock screen so they don't block your photos. You'll also be able to get live updates (on your ride, food delivery or workout progress, for example) thanks to Apple's new Live API, which will let app makers build these live, glanceable experiences.

Apple is also extending its Focus mode, introduced with iOS 15 last year, to the lock screen of your phone. You'll be able to set different focus lock screens for personal and work scenarios, giving you the best chance of concentrating on what you're supposed to be doing.

Until now, Apple has kept the look of the lock screen fairly uniform, but these changes are going to give iPhone users more control than ever over how their phone looks. Which customization feature are you most excited to try? Let us know!

For more, follow along with CNET's live coverage of WWDC. Plus, here's everything to know about WatchOS 9, MacOS Ventura and Apple's new M2 chips.