Jun 08, 2022

3 Changes in Apple’s New iOS16 that Chief Digital Officers Need to Take Advantage of Right Now

By Hannah Reedy, Senior Product Manager, YML

The world is still finding balance in a post-pandemic world that created a rapidly evolving landscape. Companies across the globe are expediting their digital business strategy transformations to serve their customers through digital-first experiences. Apple is no exception, as their announcements in the latest WWDC 2022 conference show them leading the charge with iOS features to deliver personalization, streamline communication and sharing, and enhance Siri intelligence and security.

As an agency on the pinnacle of design and technology, we partner with Chief Digital Officers and executives to build experiences that transform their businesses — fast. We show, not tell, them how building a world class digital product ensures they’re better equipped to navigate, pivot, adapt, and thrive.

For CDOs intent on building products that drive impact on key business metrics, shipping more features more frequently, and implementing newer technologies that aligns with their consumer base, we’ve identified three specific product strategies with iOS 16 and iPadOS.

To activate, engage and convert users, your product team can leverage these key strategies with iOS 16:

  1. Drive engagement by optimizing content strategy to serve information that matters most to users in a timely fashion

  2. Activate consumers with personalization that empowers digital wellbeing

  3. Promote conversion in your digital product by offering Apple Pay

Product Strategy #1: Drive engagement by optimizing content strategy to serve information that matters most to users in a timely fashion

It is easy to fall trap to want to send multiple messages that will ultimately overwhelm your users. There is plenty of data to support this strategy; according to Invesp, “push notifications boost app engagement by 88%.” With many companies following the same strategy, we end up in a world where “[an] average US smartphone user gets 46 push notifications every day” according to CleverTap.

Source: MacRumors

Live Activities Notifications

iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 introduces Live Activities API that enables product development teams to keep users up to date with the most current information for an activity or event, such as a grocery delivery, a current workout, a live game, or an ongoing ride share — all from the user’s lock screen.

In today’s landscape, users either have to continue returning to the product to receive the information that they need or are hit with multiple push notifications within minutes of each other to keep them up to date with their activities.

Even industry leaders are impacted by the limited notification experience. For example, Doordash sends 6 sequential push notifications from the time a user is checking out to the time a user is receiving the food they ordered. Uber sends 4 notifications to let riders know the status of their ride.

TLDR: Use Live Activities Notifications to enable product teams to create smoother experiences that serve information to the user that can be accessed through their personalized lock screen. Our clients in food and grocery can leverage Live Activities that pairs with their fulfillment experience.

Product Strategy #2: Activate consumers with personalization that empowers digital wellbeing

Apple has taken liberties to enable users to customize their lock screen to make their phone immediately useful and more aesthetically pleasing as soon as they pick it up. With features like Lock Screen gallery, stylized date and time, Lock Screen switching, and Lock Screen editing, users have more control to experience their iPhones and iPads however they please.

The updated photo depth effect makes subjects in photos stand out against the rest of the lock screen background, making your phone look like something out of an Apple billboard. Notifications also got a makeover on the lock screen to roll in from the bottom so they don’t block the custom lock screens that will be designed by users. Along similar lines, another aesthetic update emphasizes album art when listening to Apple Music.

WidgetKit API

Apple took their lock screen enhancements a step further by allowing users to customize the widgets on their lock screen, including third party applications. As a part of WidgetKit, developers can now extend access to their applications via widgets placed on the lock screen. Apple users can consume information at a glance without needing to unlock their phone and open the application.

Rumors had been circulating regarding a new feature on iOS for an always-on display leading up to the WWDC 2022 event. After 9to5Mac’s review of the available developer beta, multiple references that confirm iOS 16 does indeed include support for an always-on display were discovered and will likely be introduced with the launch of the iPhone 14 Pro Max later this year. With the introduction of these lock screen enhancements and a probable introduction of an always-on display, Apple is revamping the way product leaders will need to define engagement with a digital product.

TLDR: Our clients in fintech can leverage widgets to display timely information about their accounts or call out actions they need to take to keep their financial health in check. Our clients in healthcare can leverage widgets to encourage additional physical activity or encourage sharing stats with their friends. Need a consultation on how your product can best leverage the WidgetKit API? Get in touch with YML.

Focus Enhancements

While Focus was a feature introduced as a part of iOS 15, one specific enhancement introduced as part of iOS 16 elevates the personalized lock screen theme enabling users to apply their Focus settings to their lock screens. Essentially, users can tie a preferred lock screen — and its various widgets — to a specific Focus. This aptly named feature empowers users to find work-life balance by only showing associated notifications, alerts, and messages for widgets and applications they select on the Lock Screen depending on the Focus they have applied.

Apple took the iOS 16 Focus enhancements a step further to address a gap in the original feature set to extend Focus filters that can be applied to third-party applications. With this addition, app developers will now be able to detect the Focus a user has applied to determine the correct experience to display. Using Siri’s enhanced intelligence, users will see recommended settings to set up for each Focus mode to encourage set up of the applications they want to see in each mode.

TLDR: Our fintech clients can donate intents to Siri to recommend that banking, investment widgets and notifications can and should still be visible when they’re related to a work mode.

Product Strategy #3: Promote conversion in your digital product by offering Apple Pay

Many key leaders in the e-commerce space are shaking in their boots with the new Apple Pay and Apple Wallet changes introduced as a part of iOS 16. Apple went on the offense against Affirm and Klarna with the introduction of Apple Pay Later. Users can now split an Apple Pay purchase into four equal payments spread out over six weeks with zero interest and no additional fees.

Shopify is also feeling the heat with the addition of Apple Pay Order Tracking, which gives shoppers detailed receipts with the ability to view order tracking information directly in the Wallet app, given Apple Pay was the payment method.

All clients must run, not walk, to implement Apple Pay as a payment method if they haven’t done so already to unlock enhancements that allow users to check out even faster with peace of mind about security.

Tracking and Pay Later will require a bit of code from your development team to get working, but once fully integrated, the experience of purchasing via Apple Pay offers both a seamless experience for users, and less effort to maintain your own order tracking system and interface.

TLDR: Our retail clients will be hearing from our product teams about the many benefits they will experience with the implementation of Apple Pay into their check out experiences.

Additional iOS 16 Updates to Watch


Expanded support for Keys in Wallet will be introduced in iOS 16. I am including a shameless plug for one of our clients, Polestar, who will definitely benefit from the ability to securely share car keys in Wallet through messaging apps. Not just Apple’s own messaging apps like Messages or Mail, they also will be able to share with third-party options like WhatsApp. We love to see Apple tossing Android users a bone at the benefit of the overall experience for all users.

Read more about the work we have done for Polestar in our case study.


Later this year, Apple has plans to release an app called Freeform to continue their theme of streamlined communication and collaboration. The product connects people via a virtual whiteboard that integrates seamlessly with FaceTime and lets users with Apple Pencil to easily collaborate from across the world.

Support on MacOS for design and digital collaboration tools has been limited, which begs the question…

Will Freeform be the next Mural or Miro?

Web Push Notifications in 2023

Apple has announced that their web browser, Safari, will support web push notifications in a release targeted in 2023. This unlocks the possibility of eliminating native support for companies who prefer web based experiences, but required native support for push notifications. This cuts the teams required to support a web and native product down from 3 teams to 1 team.

How can companies better invest their budgets without worrying about resources?


Apple is taking one step forward towards eliminating passwords completely with the introduction of Passkeys. Working with the FIDO Alliance for a cross-platform solution, Apple has created unique digital keys that can be created with Touch ID or Face ID. Our clients who are privacy oriented and are concerned with their customer’s privacy can rejoice as the keys are not passwords and nothing is typed in, which effectively eliminates the possibility of getting phished or leaked in a data breach.

What does a world look like without the need for password managers?


Connect with YML on how we can help you build your next digital experience that secures first-mover advantage before September 2022. Check out our case studies with Polestar (Volvo), PayPal, Thrive Market, and YETI to see the impact we’re making for brands through world class engineering, design and strategy.