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iOS 16: This is how you can customize your lock screen

16 iOS lockscreen
Image: Apple
(Post image: © 2022 Apple)

Up until iOS 15, the iPhone lock screen was pretty boring – you didn’t have your background image, the time, the date, and more. With iOS 16, however, the customization options have been drastically expanded. Here we show you everything that can be configured.

But what changed Apple in iOS 16 really on the lock screen. In short, with the latest version, everything is a whole lot more customizable. Everything can be adjusted, from the font and the time to the color effect of the background image. A big innovation is that you can now place widgets. However, these are less comparable to the widgets on the home screen and more comparable to the complications of the Apple Watch.

As you can see, a lot has happened that it is easy to lose track of the new possibilities. That's why we're taking you by the hand in this guide and showing what you can now do with your lock screen.

This is how you start the editing mode

Some things, such as the wallpaper displayed on the lock screen, can still be set via the system settings or the share sheet in the Photos app. In the meantime, however, there is also a separate editing mode for the lock screen. To get to this, simply hold down an empty area of ​​the lock screen for a long time.

This zooms out and you end up in the lock screen gallery. A selected lock screen can be adjusted or a completely new lock screen can be created. As you can see here, a lock screen can be linked to a focus mode. Among other things, I linked a lock screen configuration to my focus mode for work. Then, during working hours, a purple background image (since that's the primary color of my employer's logo) and a different selection of widgets are visible.

iOS 16 lock screen gallery

Screenshots: TechnikNews

Important to mention at this point: Everything I have mentioned so far and will address applies solely to the iPhone and iOS 16. The iPad lock screen did not get these innovations. But what isn't there yet may be next year or the year after that.

Lock screen in iOS 16: wallpapers

When setting up the lock screen, most people will probably start with the background image. There are still options to view an Apple creation or a custom snapshot from the Photos app. But it doesn't stop there in iOS 16.

Put your own photos

Most likely, you are used to using a photo from your own collection as a background image. As previously indicated, you can still do this, finding the relevant option in the system settings, in the Photos app or in the new lock screen gallery behind the plus icon.

iOS 16 lock screen background overview

This is the new view for setting a background. (Screenshot: TechnikNews)

Now you can select an image in several different ways. You have the choice between the items "Photos", "People" and "Random" - we will come to the latter option in detail later. In addition to this, Apple implemented a series of suggestions. This mainly contains photos for which the operating system was able to calculate a foreground and background so that the foreground can be placed in front of the time. With a recording from my suggestions it looks like this:

iOS 16 lock screen depth effect

Screenshots: TechnikNews

It is practical that you have filters available in the "Photos" menu to be able to find recordings more quickly. If you click on “People” you will automatically end up in the person filter.

Before a photo is finally set as wallpaper, a color effect can be applied by swiping to the right and left. You can then use the three-point menu to change the color or switch on the previously described depth effect for photos that support it. It has to be a portrait shot. As before, iOS must be essprocan only recognize a foreground and background.

iOS 16 lock screen color effect

Would you prefer it to be black and white? (Screenshot: TechnikNews)

After saving, you will be asked if you want to save the same background image on the home screen.

Graphics from Apple

Of course, iOS 16 also contains images provided by Apple. These are either static or dynamic.

Apple offers a total of six different options for static graphics. The rainbow fish at the very end of this series is striking. Exactly this picture appeared as wallpaper at the presentation of the first iPhone, but it was never delivered. Now it has been scaled and it is finally part of the game in iOS 16.

On the other hand, we now have dynamic backgrounds from the Astronomy and Weather categories. The latter reflects the current weather, which means that when it rains, for example, raindrops will be pattering across the screen. Since the weather app acts as the data source for this, it must be installed. With the astronomy images you have the choice between the earth with the current location in focus, the moon and the solar system. When looking at the earth, it is noticeable that the clouds adapt to the current weather.

iOS 16 lock screen Apple

Apple's wallpapers. (screen shots: TechnikNews)

generate background images

What is completely new is that you can create a background image according to your own wishes. Here, too, two different features are available.

Generate iOS 16 wallpapers

Screenshots: TechnikNews

On the one hand it is possible to select a color to turn it into a gradient. Again, you can swipe left and right to switch between a handful of color effects. Or you can select "Emoji" in the background overview. Then the graphic is composed of up to six user-defined emojis. Here, too, the arrangement and the background color can be adjusted by simply swiping.

Photo shuffle

Last but not least we have the photo shuffle. As the name suggests, iOS 16 automatically sets a wallpaper here based on a provided plan.

The whole thing works like this: You decide whether you want to see people, nature photos or self-defined pictures. Furthermore, it must be configured at which intervals the change should take place. That's it already. This function is set up in just a few seconds and at the same time ensures that there is some variety on the lock screen.


With iOS 14, Apple introduced the new type of widgets for the home screen. Since iPadOS 15, the iPad has also mastered the ability to display the small tiles at any position on the start screen. The same technology was taken for iOS 16 and extended to the lockscreen. The lock screen offers space for up to five different widgets, which are similar to the complications on the Apple Watch.

There are three different types: rectangular widgets, square widgets and plain text widgets. A maximum of four square widgets can be positioned below the time, and one text widget fits exactly above the time. You can edit this arrangement by opening the lock screen gallery and then pressing "Customize".

iOS 16 lock screen widgets

This is what the new widgets look like. (screen shots: TechnikNews)

After an area has been selected for editing, an overview opens with all available widgets. If an app that should actually have a lockscreen widget does not appear in it, downloading the latest version and opening it briefly will help. As soon as a widget has been assigned a slot, a short tap takes you to its settings. There, in the example of the Streaks app, you define which task you want to see the status of.

Live activities

With an upcoming iOS 16 update, apps will be able to offer Live Activities. These are widgets that are automatically displayed at the bottom of the lock screen and can report the current status of a football game, for example. However, two live activities are already available in the current version: the media player and the timer.

Time style and color

In order to give the lock screen the finishing touches, Apple integrated several fonts for the time. These are accessed by tapping the time in widget area edit mode. A color can also be stored there, which is applied to the time, date and all widgets.

Download iOS 16

iOS 16 has been available for download for a few weeks now. You can install it via the system settings and the sub-items "General" and "Software update".

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David Haydl

David lives in Graz and has been there for around half a decade TechnikNews, also editor-in-chief for some time. He regularly provides the site with news, test reports and the like TechnikNews Weekly, which was his idea to launch. He likes to spend his free time outdoors, listening to a lot of music (and clearly too loud) and some podcasts on all kinds of topics, and also likes to go running. He enjoys the time that remains with his charming girlfriend or in front of the TV.

David has already written 1220 articles and left 116 comments.

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