Apple took its sweet time adding an always-on display feature to its phones, introducing it to the iPhone 14 models with this year's iOS 16 update. However, not everyone liked Apple's approach to always-on displays, which have been a mainstay of Android phones for some time.
If you think the always-on display on your iPhone 14 Pro is too busy, you're going to want to grab iOS 16.2 when the software update becomes available this month. A new version of the iOS 16.2 beta just landed with developers, and it gives users the options to turn off some of the features that appear on your screen when always-on mode is enabled.
Currently, the always-on feature for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro Max dims the phone's lock screen. The clock and lock-screen widgets you've added to the lock screen still appear, but so do your wallpaper plus any notifications that show up. That's a stark contrast to the way most Android phones present their always-on display, which features the clock and maybe a few other notifications or widgets.
The iOS 16.2 beta 3 update introduces a way for your iPhone to adopt Android's more minimal approach. You can now toggle off both the wallpaper and notifications for your always-on display, leaving just the time, data and widgets on a blackened screen.
You'll be able to access this feature by going into the Display and Brightness section of the Settings app. Select Always-on Display and you'll now see separate toggles for allowing the wallpaper and notifications to appear on the screen. They join an existing toggle that lets you turn off the iPhone 14 Pro's always-on display altogether.
Personally, I like Apple's different take on always-on displays, which I think helps them stand out from how Android phones implement the feature. I also appreciate how the always-on feature takes advantage of the iPhone 14 Pro's ProMotion display to scale all the way down to a 1Hz refresh rate so that the always-on feature doesn't come at the expense of your battery life. But I can understand why some people might feel Apple's approach was too much.
In addition to the change to the always-on display, iOS 16.2 introduces a new Freeform app for real-time collaboration across different Apple devices plus a Dynamic Island upgrade that will keep the Wi-Fi icon and signal bars in view on your iPhone 14 Pro screen when you play music. Additional changes include expanded ProMotion support, tweaks to Live Activities and a feature that brings weather-related news stories into the Weather app.
Apple watchers have tipped mid-December for the full release of iOS 16.2.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.