The fifth developer beta for iOS 16 is now available, and it includes the return of a long-abandoned feature that has caused quite a bit of chatter around Apple circles. Apple has given users the ability to add a battery percentage indicator to the iOS status bar, a feature that was removed with the launch of the iPhone X back in 2018.
Watch my hands-on video as I step through the pros and cons of the new battery percentage status bar indicator, along with other new changes and features. Be sure to subscribe to Cellular on YouTube for more videos like this.
In iOS 16 beta 4, the battery percentage returns as an option for the status bar. Ever since the iPhone X, the first phone with a so-called notch, Apple removed the ability to view the battery percentage from the status bar on the Home Screen and while within apps. The battery icon remained in the status bar while on the Home Screen, but only provided a visual representation of the approximate battery life remaining using size and color.
Users needed to invoke Control Center to view the exact battery percentage on iPhone X and above models up until now.
In iOS 16 developer beta 5, the option to add the battery percentage back to the status bar on a full time basis. To enable battery percentage on your iPhone, go to Settings → Battery, and enable the Battery Percentage switch.
The battery is now represented by a fully filled in battery glyph that remains full until the battery reaches 20% remaining. When the battery reaches 20%, the battery glyph’s interior turns red, and is significantly reduced to indicate the small amount of battery remaining. Up until then, even if you only had 21% life, the battery would appear completely full visually.
The battery glyph appears white when on a dark background, and white when on a light background. The battery percentage appears directly on top of the glyph as a numerical value, devoid of an actual percent sign.
Swiping down in the upper right-hand corner of the status bar reveals the same battery UI on previous versions of iOS, with the battery percentage (with percent sign), and a visual representation of the battery state of charge. It’s a pretty inconsistent UI at this point, but that is to be expected given that this is a beta.
If your iPhone enters Low Power Mode, you’ll notice that battery percentage is automatically enabled, and you don’t have a choice to turn it off.
As I noted on Twitter, I’m not a big fan of this UI, because the battery indicator on the status bar appears full until the battery drops to 20% or below:
Again, this is a work in progress. So we shouldn’t overreact about this. It’s nice that Apple is at least considering giving users a choice, and hopefully a refined version will appear in the shipping version of iOS 16 later this fall.
New Copy & Delete Option for screenshots
If you take a Screenshot, tap on the screenshot overlay, and tap Done in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll see a new option on the sheet that appears to Copy and Delete the Screenshot. This is handy if you only wish to paste said screenshot, and have no desire to keep it in your photo library. This is a welcomed new addition, and props to Apple for including more advanced features like this.
Lock Screen Now Playing UI
The Now Playing UI on the iOS 16 Lock Screen has gone through a whole slew of refinements and changes in iOS 16, and the trend continues in beta 5.
You’ll find a new waveform visualizer on the Now Playing interface when music is actually playing. This is handy for those times when you can’t actually hear the music at the moment — perhaps the volume is down, or your headphones are out of your ears — but want to still recognize that playback is occurring.
There are also brand new button animations for the transport controls on the Lock Screen Now Playing UI. You’ll notice that these updated animations also appear in the Control Center Now Playing UI, as well as the updated volume slider.
The currently-playing song title and artist name is now aligned with the minimized album artwork (which appears smaller than before) on the Lock Screen. You’ll also see a slight animation on the song title when skipping to the next track that we didn’t see before.
Lossless and Dolby Atmos metadata has been relocated to the same line as the genre and year details underneath the artist name. The Apple Digital Master logo and text is also moved to the area beneath the track list.
There’s a new Shared Library Badge option in Photos when you have a Shared Library enabled. This badge, which appears in the upper right-hand corner of photo thumbnails, makes it easier to tell if a particular photo appears within a shared library.
New splash screens
- New Find My splash screen
- New Home splash screen
- New Photos splash screen
New tappable AirPods firmware version details
When venturing into AirPods settings, you’ll find that the Version pane is now tappable. Tapping Version reveals a new page that contains both the version and case firmware release numbers, along with a link (currently non-working) to the firmware details page on Apple’s website.
Updated text on 2-factor authentication pop-up
When receiving a 2FA pop-up for an Apple ID Verification code, new text on the pop-up notes the following security warning:
Don’t share this code with anyone. Apple will never call or text you for this code.
These codes are temporary and expire after a few minutes, so the security threat is only during the time that the code is active.
Updated sound when pinging from Apple Watch
A new sound occurs when pinging your iPhone via the Apple Watch Control Center. It’s the same overall tune, but occurs in a different key. I find it a little less abrasive than the previous tone.
Volume button slowness seems to have cleared up
By far, one of the most annoying problems with iOS 16 beta 4 was the unresponsive volume buttons bug. There seemed to be a long delay between button presses, and at times the volume controls were unresponsive and/or extremely laggy. Beta 5 seems to have hopefully resolved this issue, but I’ve only been using it for about a day.
iOS 16 beta 5 is packed with several new features, but the most outstanding (and controversial) new change is the reappearance of the battery percentage in the status bar. What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments.