iOS 16 — this new iPhone feature just made my life easier

A photo of the iOS 16 timer lock screen widget
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

iOS 16 is going to bring a lot of changes to your iPhone once it goes live, but sometimes it's the smallest details that really make a difference. And it's one of these tiny improvements that I've been making the most of since installing the iOS 16 beta on my phone.

One of the tools I use most often on my iPhone is the timer in the Clock app, whether it's for timing my pour-over coffee, checking how fast a phone charges for a review, making sure I don't burn my dinner or something else. If you'd asked me a few weeks ago if there was anything missing from this feature, I'd have said no. But the new Timer widget that appears on the lock screen when in use is a game changer for me.

Previously, the lock screen would only show you how much time was remaining, and in quite a small font at the top of the screen. Here's how it looks on an iPhone running iOS 15.

A screenshot of the iOS timer running on the iOS 15 lock screen

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

And this is how it looks on iOS 16.

A screenshot of the iOS 16 timer lock screen widget

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As you can see, it's much larger, shows up above your notifications like the media player does, and most importantly, offers pause and cancel buttons. Before now, if you wanted to suspend the timer, you'd have to go back into the app or go through the Control Center. You could only stop the timer before by going back into the app. This makes both far easier to access if you've put your phone down or are using other apps while timing something.

A photo of the iOS 16 timer lock screen widget

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

This is something certain Android devices can do, like Samsung phones with their timer pop-up and lock screen widget. But for the millions of iPhone users out there with no interest in switching, this is a great upgrade.

Of the iOS 16 features I've been using, I still think the new haptic keyboard feedback is even better from a daily usability standpoint, particularly given it's basically a standard feature on rival Android phones. But the new timer widget on the lock screen comes in a close second, and will no doubt prove useful to lots of people for lots of reasons.

Next: The iPhone 14 Pro should blow away the iPhone 14 this year. Here's why. 

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.