Archive for September 13, 2022

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Launching Apps From iOS 16’s Lock Screen

Sami Fathi:

The app called “Launchify” lets users configure one or more iOS 16 Lock Screen widgets that directly open any app of their choosing. Users can create a widget to quickly open Messages, Twitter, the Phone app, or Apple or Google Maps, for example.

While iOS 16 includes a redesigned Lock Screen with new customization features, Apple does not allow users to replace the flashlight and Camera app shortcuts with custom apps.


Finally, you can open Halide right from your lock screen!

Halide 2.8 — our iOS 16 update, with 7 different lock screen widgets and other enhancements is out now[…]


Sunsetting Dark Sky

Dark Sky (via Hacker News, MacRumors):

As previously announced, the Dark Sky iOS app will no longer be available beginning on December 31st, 2022 and, as of this date, already purchased versions of the app will no longer provide weather data. The Dark Sky API and website will continue to function until March 31st, 2023.

So far I am finding Apple’s weather service to be less accurate than The Weather Channel.


Folks here said the new Weather app has the same info. I upgraded to iOS 16 about a year before I normally would just to check this. And nope, it doesn’t have the one feature I use Dark Sky for – the one feature no other weather app has: the ability to see what the weather was yesterday.

It’s what Dark Sky calls “Time Machine”.

Lee Bennett:

I’ve LOVED the Dark Sky app for years. I am led to understand Apple’s native weather app is improved in iOS 16 (I haven’t updated yet), but based on reviews, the Dark Sky UI I’ve grown to love isn’t even remotely approximated in Apple Weather app.


Update (2022-09-26): Adam Engst:

My gripe with the daily graph screen is that it defaults to temperature rather than remembering what you had previously viewed. I’m less interested in temperature than precipitation most of the time, so I’d have to switch to the precipitation forecast manually every time. The workaround is to scroll down to the display of a particular metric on the main screen and tap that to jump directly to that metric’s graph screen. Better, but still fussy.

Welcome as these features are, I don’t see myself using them. Apple’s Weather app may have integrated Dark Sky’s capabilities, but I don’t love its interface, particularly with the individual metric cards, which are difficult to parse quickly.

Update (2022-12-23): Virtual-Stretch7231:

Right now I have heavy snow (Dark Sky agrees) the Apple app says it’s drizzling.

There have been so many instances like this and I’m really sad to see Dark Sky go down at the end of the year.

Lee Bennett:

Here’s a prime example why it’s so sad that Apple is killing off Dark Sky app. Sure, the core features and data are now baked into Apple’s native Weather app, but it can’t show you a visualization of the cold blast most of the US is about to endure.

Update (2023-01-05): See also: Hacker News.

Update (2023-05-17): Marcin Krzyzanowski:

[Apple’s] take over of the Dark Sky didn’t go that well after all. Since Apple took over, it has an outages every few days/weeks now.


Update (2023-09-04): Nikhil Nigade:

Whatever source Apple is using for the predictions should be ceased, it’s been highly inaccurate through 3 full seasons now, with no signs of improvement.

I am still seeing poor accuracy with Apple’s Weather app since the switch.

Safari 16

Jen Simmons (Hacker News):

Safari for iOS 16 includes support for still images compressed using the AVIF format. Developed by the Alliance for Open Media, AVIF is an alternative to image formats like JPEG, PNG, GIF, or WebP. It offers multiple color spaces, lossless and lossy compression, and more. Support for AVIF will also come to macOS Ventura and iPadOS in October.


Safari 16 adds Apple Pay support for Merchant Tokens, a more efficient way to support recurring payments, and support for multi-merchant payments, a way to pay multiple merchants of record in one transaction. Safari 16 also supports Order Tracking to enable merchants on the web to provide detailed order and shipping information in Wallet. Apple Pay can now be used in all WKWebView.


Safari 16 brings support for Web Inspector Extensions, enabling you to enhance Safari’s built-in web developer tools.


WebKit now supports Shared Workers. It’s similar to Service Workers, running JavaScript in the background, but its lifetime is slightly different. Your Shared Worker runs as long as the user has any tab open to your domain. All the tabs open to the same domain can share the same Shared Worker.


Update (2022-09-23): Matt Sephton:

Pasting text using 3-finger pinch gesture no longer works in iOS 16 Safari? It zooms the page content the same as 2-finger pinch. So annoying.


So I have about 10 tabs I like to regularly open when I open my browser now they load one at a time and only when I click on the next one... Before the update today it would load them all in the background. What the hell this sucks !


watchOS 9

Apple (MacRumors):

Apple today launched watchOS 9, which brings new features and enhanced experiences to the world’s leading wearable operating system. Apple Watch users now have more watch faces to choose from, with richer complications that provide more information and opportunity for personalization. In the updated Workout app, advanced metrics, views, and training experiences inspired by high-performing athletes help users take their workouts to the next level. The Sleep app includes sleep stages, and for users diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib), the new FDA-cleared AFib History feature provides deeper insights into a user’s condition. The new Medications app makes it easy for users to conveniently and discreetly manage, understand, and track medications.

Alex Guyot:

What leaves me feeling so conflicted is that, ultimately, all of the above features were pretty bad. No one used the Friends interface, Time Travel wasn’t particularly useful, third-party Glances were kneecapped by their lack of interactivity, and communicating from an Apple Watch has always just been way more work than pulling out your iPhone. Apple was right to kill all of these features in their time, but I still can’t stop missing the days when my Apple Watch was searching for more variety in purpose than it exists with today.


This direction has led to years of remarkably tight annual updates. Everything (with the exception of watch faces) in each new version of watchOS is solid. Every improvement is well thought out, helpful, and useable.

I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. Each year, Apple delivers a high quality and effective watchOS update. I just don’t think this operating system is as finished as these updates seem to imply that it is. There was merit in the ideas of early watchOS, even if the execution wasn’t quite there yet.

Alex Guyot:

At this point in time, I struggle to understand why Apple keeps stuffing significant new features into the Health app. Especially in the modern era of iOS where we can delete unused first-party apps, I wish Apple would be less afraid to just spin up new apps on iOS that match their watchOS counterparts. The Medications interface in Health is entirely different from the rest of the app, so it’s already like Apple is hiding an app inside of a different one. It would be far less confusing and more convenient for users if Medications was a first-party iOS app just like it is on the Watch.


The camera lookup feature is impressively accurate. I tried it against a variety of items that I found in my house, from pill bottles to spray bottles to ointments. Never once did the app fail to identify exactly what the medication was, as well as the strength and unit of measurement if defined on the container.

Alex Guyot:

Banner notifications make watchOS feel like a software platform again rather than a high-end Fitbit. The ability to create and edit calendar events and reminders, and to discover and follow new podcasts, aid in this vibe shift as well. I hope we continue to see more features like these in the coming years.

Joe Rossignol:

In a new support document published today, Apple detailed specific features that are disabled or affected when Low Power Mode is turned on[…]