How to Customize Your Lock Screen in iOS 16

Originally published at: How to Customize Your Lock Screen in iOS 16 - TidBITS

iOS 16’s marquee feature is the option to create multiple custom Lock screens, each with its own wallpaper, clock font, and widgets. Here’s how to take advantage of it.

2 notes:

  1. I believe that all regions have access to all numeral types. In the USA, I can tap the globe icon and see the 3 choices.

  2. I don’t believe that it’s possible to center a large lower widget between 2 small ones. It appears that the large widget must touch either the right or left edge of the area.

the one customisation missing is the ability to remove the flashlight and camera toggles on the lock screen. nifty for those who want them but i’m always accidentally triggering the flashlight and would like to eliminate that.

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Yep, those both sound right. Widget placement needs work.

Great point. I hope they do that for iOS 17. I like the buttons, but I’d like some customization options.

Apple seems to be slowly converting private APIs into public ones. For instance, “live” content used to be exclusively for Apple’s own purposes, like the timer display on the Lock screen. Now that’s a Live Activity, which will be open for all developers soon. So it only makes sense that those buttons will get the same treatment eventually.

I am disappointed, and befuddled, that in order to customize my lock screen I have to create a new one, and presumably then have at least two of them. Seems like an unnecessary complexity – why can’t I just have one and customize it too? C’mon Apple…

After you create the new lockscreen, you can delete the inflexible one.

I am disappointed by two issues:

  1. The inability to use an existing lockscreen as a template for a new one ( a duplicate command would make this possible).

  2. Treating the lockscreen and home screen wallpaper as a tandem set. I have a wallpaper, not necessarily related to the lockscreen that I wish to use with every lockscreen. Having to search out and crop the photo that forms that home screen is a pain. (The wallpaper is a double waterfall cropped so that the two falls lie between columns of apps).

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Thanks, Alan. In my case the Lock Screen image I’ve had for years is no longer present in Photos, but still shows up on the Lock screen. I love it, for sentimental reasons, and don’t want to lose it by deleting that screen, so I’m stuck.

And I completely agree about how odd it is that the Home wallpaper and Lock wallpaper are linked/paired. Makes no sense to me, and as you said, makes for extra work.

I agree it’s funky to have to link a Home screen wallpaper to a Lock screen. I’d suggest making an album with images you want to be able to access easily for one or the other; that way they’re easy to find using the Albums tab.

I really like the linked lock screen and home screen wallpapers. I use a stack of photos that changes hourly as a lock screen at the moment, and the home screen has a blurred version of the photo as wallpaper (and you can turn off the blur if you wish). But you can still choose a separate home screen wallpaper if you wish.

That said, I miss some of the old wallpaper images that used to exist in iOS.

Can someone help me with the first step “create a new Lock Screen by touching and holding the Lock Screen until it appears in the Lock Screen switcher?”

When I press on the screen it just unlocks (facial recognition) and pressing just causes my artwork to move around in a weird way. I never get the switcher.

I have not been able to figure out how to “lock” my lock screens so that a bad actor (or curious child) cannot indiscriminately change my lock screens.

For example, a bad actor could hard press the Lock Screen — no FaceID required — and then add widgets (such as my calendar’s upcoming meetings) or other information available through widgets.

Am I missing a setting to lock down the lock screens?

With the phone unlocked and on your home screen, pull down from the top left as if you wanted to look at notifications. This will pull down the lock screen image. Now long press on any blank area on the lock screen to go into customization mode.

In settings / Face ID & passcode, you can turn off both Today view and lock screen widgets in the section “allow when locked”.

But - I just checked. When my phone was locked and I covered the notch area so it wouldn’t see my face (and my watch off my wrist so the watch wouldn’t unlock the phone), a long-press of the lock screen does nothing. You have to unlock the phone in order to edit or switch lock screens.

[edit] I also tested by facing the phone away from my face when the phone was locked so it wouldn’t unlock, just to make sure that it wasn’t the touch on the notch that was stopping the long-press on the Lock Screen. It still wouldn’t allow me to edit the Lock Screen at all.


I just tested too – same thing. The long press doesn’t do anything if the camera is blocked and after a couple of times the passcode screen comes up.

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Thank you!

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So now how do you reduce the cartoonishly large font size that is used to display the time?

It’s a pity that if you use Photo Shuffle the depth effect can’t be activated.

Also depending on the size of your photo library, it can take a while before Photo Shuffle becomes available - it’ll say that it’s “processing” for a while.

FYI, anyone with an iPhone SE 2020, it appears that you can only have one customizable lock screen which has to be set up in wallpaper settings.

I didn’t use the automatic photo selection - I chose the shuffled photos myself from my library.

The same way you chose the size of the text in the status bar at the top. (You don’t.) The size is the size.