Your iPhone has lock screen widgets that give you quick access to information regarding your schedule, the weather, and more. You can even tie these widgets to specific Focus Modes so that different widgets appear (or disappear) depending on what you’re doing. These were added in iOS 16.
Using the Lock Screen Gallery
Tap and hold your lock screen to show the lock screen gallery, then tap on the plus “+” icon to add a new lock screen.
Now select a wallpaper to appear on your lock screen. Tap on the “Photos” option to use an image you have taken or saved to your device. You can also use emoji, the weather, the position of the planets, and more.
With your wallpaper chosen, modify your lock screen by tapping on the various elements. You can tap on the date to change what information is displayed here, which will add more information to the date display like how much energy you have burned or upcoming calendar events.
You can also tap on the time to choose a specific font and color scheme, and swipe left and right on the wallpaper to change how your background is displayed with filters.
Finally, tap on the “Add Widgets” box to add a single row of widgets to your lock screen.
Widgets are similar to Complications on Apple Watch, some are even identical. These include Activity rings and individualized weather metrics for air quality, temperature, and UV index. Many of these appear as smaller circles, of which you can fit four on a single lock screen.
Others take the form of double-length rectangles, including a more detailed weather forecast, upcoming reminders, news headlines, and information about markets and stocks. You can fit two of these, or one rectangular and two smaller circular widgets.
When you choose to use widgets, you forego the ability to use the “Depth Effect” with your wallpaper. This can be toggled using the “…” ellipsis button while customizing a wallpaper.
This effect makes it possible to overlay some elements of an image over the clock, for a more dynamic feel. It looks impressive, but it’s not particularly useful and widgets are arguably more useful.
Tie Lock Screens to Focus Modes
While selecting a lock screen from the lock screen gallery, tap on the “Focus” button to tie your chosen lock screen to a particular Focus Mode. Assuming you’ve set up Focus Modes already, this lets you show relevant information while specific Focus modes are active.
So you can set up a “Work” lock screen that triggers during work hours and displays calendar appointments or stock information, a “Fitness” lock screen that turns on when you start a workout on your Apple Watch with fitness rings or Watch battery information, and a custom “Downtime” lock screen with controls for smart devices around the house and the news headlines.
The lock screen gallery and its associated widgets are available with the iOS 16 update. If you don’t see these options, make sure you’ve updated your iPhone (and that your device is compatible with iOS 16). Once you update and have your lock screen set up, you’re ready to check out other iOS 16 features worth your time.