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The Amazing New Lock Screen Features in iOS 16

In iOS 16, Apple overhauled the Lock Screen. As a result, you can customize to your heart’s content, choose widgets, customize colors and fonts and use emojis, photos, and built-in wallpapers for a unique look.

This guide walks you through the Lock Screen changes in iOS 16. 

Editing the Lock Screen

If you’re familiar with widgets and editing the Home Screen, the Lock Screen won’t be much different.

To get to the controls:

  • Unlock your iPhone with Face ID or Touch ID
  • Swipe downwards from the middle of your screen to access the Lock Screen
  • Long press on the display

Two options appear at the bottom. Tap on the + sign to create a new Lock Screen, or tap Customize to edit the current Lock Screen. 

You can also swipe through your current Lock Screens if you want to make changes. Tap on the lock screen to exit and swipe up to access your Home page.

Wallpaper Customization

Tapping the + button creates a new Lock Screen where you can choose the wallpaper you want.

Scroll through the category options at the top of the screen to see everything Apple offers. You’ll have options such as Photos, Emoji, Weather, Astronomy, and Color, and in the featured category, you’ll find some of the more popular wallpaper options in featured and suggested.

Let’s look at a few options, and then you can customize your own.

Photo and Photo Shuffle

The Photo category allows you to choose any photo from your collection or look at the featured images Apple has determined that will work with layered time effect and looks particularly good as wallpaper.

Choose Photo Shuffle if you want to use multiple images throughout the day. For example, you can select People, Pets, Nature, and Cities, or choose just the ones you want. You’ll also have the option to select the frequency at which they shuffle—hourly, Daily, On Tap, or On Lock. You can even choose the Photos manually.


Emoji Wallpapers

With the Emoji option, you can select up to six of your favorite emoji, or maybe you want to choose one. These create a tiled background with some of the emojis shown larger and some smaller, but this can be changed.

At the bottom, you can display your emojis in a Small, medium, or Large Grid. You can also opt for Rings or Spiral. 

Tap the three dots in the lower right corner to choose a background color. The pre-selected color appears in the upper left corner, tap on it to select from the color wheel, and the slider along the bottom will choose the opacity of the color.

Weather Wallpaper

Choosing the Weather Lock Screen shows the current weather in your area. It shows Live Weather, so if it’s raining, you’ll see that on the screen, and if it’s cloudy, you’ll see the cloud animation.

There are no other adjustments available. If you don’t see the animation, it could be that you have an older device that doesn’t support it.

Color Wallpaper

The color wallpaper allows you to select a plain color for the background. It will use a bit of a gradient which can look nice.

Select one of Apple’s preset colors or choose any color from Grid, Spectrum, and slider options. Opacity can be adjusted with any color using the slider.

The gradient options are along the bottom. Choose from Vibrant, Tone, Vapor, Bright, or Solid. As you can see, they completely change the look. 

Time Customization on the Lock Screen

You can choose different fonts and colors for the time. Like the wallpaper, you can choose from pre-selected colors or select one of your own. Once you have found your design, tap on the X to finish your customization.

Tints and Styles

On any photo background, you can change the color of the tint. You can select from Natural, Black and White, Duotone, and Color Wash. Duotone and Color wash allow you to change the style color.

In addition, images with People can use Studio lighting to emphasize the person and fade the background.


There are so many options to choose from. Take your time and select the option that works best for the photo you choose.

Widgets on the Lock Screen

What makes the Lock Screen so unique is the widgets you can add in iOS 16. 

There are two widget boxes you can edit. There is a widget box above the time and a widget box below that you can add up to four different widgets.

These widgets aren’t as complex as the ones in the Today View and Home Screen, but they can be helpful.

Tap the box above the time, and you’ll see all the available widgets. Events, Stock Market, fitness, and many others depend on your iPhone apps.

Tap on the box below the clock, and depending on the size of the widget you choose, you can select up to 4 widgets. As you can see on mine, I have 2.

Live Activities on the Lock Screen

Apple has introduced a new type of notification called Live Activities. These Live Activities can be tracked right from your Lock Screen. Doing things like track the progress of food delivery, Uber ride, or sports game. Below you’ll see screenshots from an app called Sports Alert. I only used the free version in this example.

Multiple Lock Screens

Like Watch Faces on the Apple Watch, you can set up multiple Lock Screens and swap them out with a swipe.

Just long press on the Lock Screen. Now swipe left or right to see all the Lock Screens you created.

Focus Mode on the Lock Screen

Each Lock Screen you create can be associated with a different Focus Mode. Long Press on the Lock Screen and then tap on Focus. Choose which Focus mode you want to associate with this Lock Screen.

Now when this Lock Screen is displayed, you’ll see at the bottom which Focus Mode is turned on.

Setting a Separate Lock Screen and Home Screen Wallpaper

Once you have customized all your options, tap ” add ” in the upper right corner. You’ll receive an option to Set Wallpaper Pair, or you can choose to customize the Home Screen.

You can also go into the following:

  • Settings
  • Wallpaper
  • Add new wallpaper
  • Or customize your current setup by tapping on Customize

To Delete a Lock Screen Wallpaper

  • Unlock iPhone
  • Press and Hold on the Lock Screen to enter Wallpaper Gallery
  • Swipe the wallpaper Up to delete
  • Tap the Red Trash icon
  • Tap Delete to Confirm


Wow, that’s a lot of information, but once you start customizing your Lock Screen, you’ll get the hang of it. You can always change it or delete the Lock Screens at any time. 

Need help with your device? I’m always available for a  Free Consult.

Like Video instead? Head to my YouTube channel for more great tips.

Hi, I'm Ellen!

I help mature adults master their iPhone and iPads, even if they aren’t  techie! 

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