Cupertino, California – Almost every year around this time, our smartphones remind us to always be ready for change.
This is because Apple and Google announce updates to the operating systems that power our iPhone and Android phones. Soon, the software that powers the hardware will have design changes and new features—in other words, new things to learn.
Apple on Monday unveiled the new version of its iPhone operating system, iOS 16. It will include new features such as a redesigned lock screen and the ability to edit text messages. Last month, Google released Android 13, which features a simplified wallet app for storing credit cards and important documents like immunization records. The two companies also said they are working on improving their text messaging apps.
New operating systems for iPhone and Android are coming to our phones this fall as free updates.
Apple and Google often accompany these software updates with ostentatious promises and rhetoric. “Today we are taking our platforms further than ever before,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a pre-recorded video of the event to announce the new program.
However, in reality, many of the changes – notably the ability to retroactively modify text – are incremental improvements that feel like they should have come a long time ago. Next, the most important modifications that we must pay attention to.
Apple is revamping the iPhone lock screen
Apple has indicated that it is making a change to the first thing everyone sees when using the iPhone: the lock screen.
In the past, people could only change the wallpaper of their locked screens. However, with iOS 16, iPhone users can customize this lock screen by choosing different fonts and colors on the clock. On the lock screen, you can also pin interactive modules (“widgets”), which are essentially shortcuts to apps like your phone’s calendar and fitness tracker.
These customizations can help us design phones according to our lifestyles. Keep in mind that the new software will allow the iPhone user to customize various lock screens for different scenarios.
For example, your work lock screen might display a background of your office building and contain a calendar widget with the next meeting time. The personal time lock screen can display your dog’s wallpaper and exercise tool. The idea is that people will be able to switch between locked screens to better meet their needs throughout the day.
The Google Wallet app is supplemented by the Apple app
The pandemic has accelerated the use of mobile purchases, with many people starting to make contactless digital payments to avoid dealing with cash. Apple has been offering a solid offer for electronic payments for more than five years with its Wallet for iPhone program, which lets you make purchases with credit cards and carry important documents like boarding passes and medical information.
Google, the company that has struggled to commercialize its mobile payment technology, took the opportunity to delve deeper into payments with Android 13 last month. For years, Google Pay has lagged far behind Apple’s because few Android users understand how to use the technology.
Last month, Google renamed its digital payments app Google Wallet. The company has simplified the technology by including a wallet shortcut on the Android lock screen. It also plans to expand the program beyond credit cards to include documents such as boarding passes, movie tickets and proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
Google and Apple are expanding their messaging apps
Anyone who has texted a phone knows the digital divide between green bubble calls and blue bubble calls.
When a text message is sent from an Android phone, it appears as a green bubble on the recipient’s screen, with images and videos often pixelated and distorted. This is caused by a green bubble message being sent through the phone carrier’s network, which automatically degrades the image quality.
In contrast, blue bubble messages are sent between iPhone users via iMessage, an Apple-owned messaging service, which maintains a high-quality look for photos and videos.
With Android 13, Google is trying to create its own blue bubble experience. The company is adding a technology called Rich Communication Services to its messaging application, thanks to which it is possible to send high-resolution images and large files. It will also allow the creation of group chats, like most modern messaging apps.
Meanwhile, Apple is making changes to iMessage so that iPhone users can edit or retrieve messages after sending them. Retroactive message editing, which will save us the embarrassment of weird autocorrect errors or the occasional out-of-pocket message, has been a coveted feature for years.
Both companies are working to enhance user privacy
These days, no software update would be complete without a major tech company declaring that they care about our privacy. This is because tech companies want users to feel safe when sharing personal data, especially now that regulators in Europe and other countries are becoming more strict about these companies on this issue.
So, of course, Apple and Google have said that they will provide more protection for user data in upcoming operating systems.
Apple, a company that has long allowed iPhone users to give family members and romantic partners access to their location data, has announced that it will offer greater control over the sharing of such data if an intimate relationship goes awry. Their new software feature, Safety Check, will allow you to quickly review and revoke access to this type of data so they can protect their information from abusers.
Google said it will give users more control over the data they share with third-party apps. In the next version of Android, people can give apps access to only certain photos instead of the entire camera roll, a measure of protection against malicious apps masquerading as photo-editing software.
If many of these mods seem to be coming for a long time, it’s because they are. Just as smartphone hardware upgrades are becoming more and more gradual, the software is also slowly improving…albeit without offering anything special.
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