iPhones and iPads get tons of new features today thanks to software updates.

Apple releases iOS 16.1 – expanding functionality which arrived with the iPhone 14 lineup last month – and iPadOS 16, which comes ahead launching new tablets this week.

Starting with iPhone, here are the main new features you can expect when you download the update.

Shared photo libraries

This feature is just in time for any families going on half term holidays, allowing you to create a shared photo library with up to five other people.

It builds on the idea of ​​existing shared photo albums with additional options that allow everyone to add, edit, favorite, caption and delete photos.

You can also add past photos to a new library instead of starting from scratch, and a switch in the camera app will let you send a new shot right into it if you want.

Charging with clean energy

Here’s one for the climate-conscious – a switch that will selectively charge your phone based on the availability of low-carbon electricity.

Apple says the idea is that charging times will be optimized based on when the grid uses cleaner energy sources, though initially this will only work if you’re in the US.

It’s worth noting that this new feature will be enabled by default when you get the update – if you don’t want to compromise, you can turn it off in the settings.

Fitness without hours

Apple offers a subscription to its Fitness+ service for £9.99 a month, which offers exercise and meditation routines.

Until now, you needed an Apple Watch to use them, but now all you need is an iPhone.

While you won’t get the same real-time feedback without wearables like calories burned and heart rate, stretching and meditating along with videos on your phone will work just fine.

Live activity has expanded

You noticed big changes to your iPhone’s lock screen when iOS 16 launched last month, with Live Actions among the additions.

These are widgets that aim to provide real-time updates from specific apps on the lock screen, rather than sending a series of individual notifications.

Today’s update makes them more accessible to non-Apple apps, so expect to see more options from live sports scores to a widget that shows how close your Uber driver is.

For the iPad, new features like shared photo libraries are the same, but there are some custom things.

The new iPad Pro will be Apple's most expensive tablet.  Photo: apple
The updates will arrive the same week as the new standard and Pro iPad models. Images: Apple

Stage director

This provides improved multitasking on the iPad, making it feel more like a laptop. Programs can be resized, stacked, and moved just like on a regular desktop.

You can connect your iPad to an external display if you have one of the newer Air or Pro models, again in the same way as with a laptop.

Weather application

It seems unbelievable, but in all this time, the iPad has never had a built-in weather app like the iPhone.

That finally changed today, bringing pretty much the same design as the phone.

Improved handwriting

If you have an Apple Pencil, the notes app will try to improve your handwriting.

If you enable the option, the program will make the written words more direct and neat.

And lots of latest iPhone add-ons

The iPadOS 16 update is largely based on iOS 16 and therefore comes with many new features that iPhone users have been enjoying since last month.

This includes the ability to edit and delete texts in the Messages app, improved focus modes to filter notifications from specific apps, and a redesigned Podcasts app.