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iOS 16 Rumors: Release Date, Compatibility and Everything Else We've Heard – CNET

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We’ll likely see Apple’s next big software update next month.
Mary King
Associate Editor
Mary is an associate editor for CNET Core Tech based in Charlotte. She recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she served as an editor at The Daily Tar Heel and reported on North Carolina culture for newspapers across the state. You can usually find her decked out in UNC merch and streaming lo-fi hip-hop while she writes.
Apple released iOS 15.5 to developers this week and although it has some neat features, like the addition of a “Send” and “Request” buttons for the Cash section of Apple Pay, bigger updates could be on the way later with iOS 16. Apple’s rumored next major software update doesn’t have an official release date yet, but we’re expecting to get a reveal at Apple’s WWDC, now scheduled for June 6-10
In the meantime, we have questions. Will older devices, like the 2016 iPhone 7, get iOS 16? How will the update compare to iOS 15 (which brought a slew of exciting features, including a tool that lets you scan text from a piece of paper)? 
Here’s everything we’ve heard so far. Keep in mind that Apple has yet to confirm any of the new operating system’s features. We’ll update this article with new rumors and leaks as we find them. 
Read more: iOS 16 Wish List: New iPhone Features We Hope Apple Debuts at WWDC
Apple usually announces the next iOS at its annual WWDC conference and releases a public beta soon after. It’s safe to say we’ll learn more details at WWDC, where Apple showed off iOS 15’s upgrades last year. 
We could very well see iOS 16 roll out in September, as the next iOS typically arrives at the same time as the next iPhone. Last year, for example, Apple released iOS 15 on Sept. 20, about a week after the iPhone 13 event. Should Apple’s iPhone 14 event take place this September, as iPhone events usually do, iOS 16 would likely be quick to follow.
Even as Apple churns out a new iOS every year, the operating systems are compatible for most old models, with iOS 15 working smoothly on the 2015 iPhone 6S. But the French website iPhoneSoft claims a developer at Apple leaked that iOS 16 will work on iPhones that have an A10 processor or higher. That’s the iPhone 7 and up — and not the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus or the SE 2016.
iPhoneSoft also says iPadOS 16 “will probably not” be compatible with the iPad Mini 4, iPad 5, iPad Air 2, or 9.7- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro. 
A hallmark of the iPhone user experience is the grid of small app squares that dot the home screen. But LeaksApplePro suggests that iOS 16 is bringing “big widgets” to the table. The image that LeaksApplePro tweeted appears to show apps displayed in larger squares and rectangles than usual, leaving room for more information such as the day’s weather, specific reminders and the song that’s playing. The image has been met with some skepticism, with some saying the Apple TV remote logo is inconsistent with the remote’s appearance. 
As for other features, iOS 15 brought upgrades like grid view and call scheduling to FaceTime — and it’s possible that with iOS 16, Apple could opt to make FaceTime look even more like Zoom in this era of telework and videoconferencing. And as tech giants push the metaverse hype and rumors of an Apple VR or AR headset fly, it’s possible that iOS 16 could incorporate some meta elements, though Apple CEO Tim Cook has carefully avoided using the word.
It’s a little far out, but it never hurts to be prepared. Downloading a new operating system eats up quite a bit of space on a phone, so you’ll want to get rid of storage suckers like old photos, videos and apps. Then you need to back up your phone so you don’t lose anything important should the update go awry. If you’re wondering how to do that, our checklist from the iOS 14 release provides a step-by-step guide.
To try out the public beta once it comes, you’ll need to enroll in the Apple Beta Software Program. (Note that last year, CNET contributor Jason Cipriani cautioned against installing the iOS 15 beta too quickly.)
Looking for more information about the latest from Apple? Check out CNET’s rumor roundup for the iPhone 14. If you’re on the hunt for new ways to use your iPhone now, take a look at these iOS 15 settings to change and hidden features.

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An aspiring novelist and a random blogger, Nitish is also a porky-mouthed banter specialist when it comes to football (soccer), films, TV Series, History and socio-economic issues. He travels, indulges in music and plays outdoor sports to get his creative juices flowing.