How to Customize Your iOS 16 Lock Screen

One of the highlights of iOS 16 is the ability to customize your Lock Screen. You can choose from many more wallpapers, including an easier way to use your own photos. Maybe even more impressive, though, is the capability to change what information is displayed, as well as how. Let’s walk through the nuts and bolts of the revamped Lock Screen in iOS 16.

Getting Started With the iOS 16 Customized Lock Screen

To kick things off, just long-press your current Lock Screen on your iPhone. You can also get to these options through Settings > Wallpaper, but this is much easier. After you long-press, you’ll see your current wallpaper along with any others you may have created in the past.

Starting to Customize iOS 16 Lock Screen

At the bottom of the screen, tap either the blue plus sign or the Customize button. Next, you can choose from a pre-designed Lock Screen or create your own. You can incorporate photos, emoji and more options as you customize your iOS 16 Lock Screen.

Changing Your Clock Font, Photo Display and Depth Effect

Let’s say you want to use a picture for your wallpaper, along with the depth effect to make the subject of your photo pop out in front of the clock. You can choose from Suggested Photos or tap the Photos icon at the top of the menu to get started.

Photo Color Options

Once you’ve chosen your favorite photo (or photos, since the customization does allow you to rotate through several), you can change color wash of that image. Choices here include Natural, Black & White, Duotone and Color Wash.

Next, let’s make the clock display our own. Simply tap on the time display, and you’ll get several customization options. You can pick from eight different fonts and many various colors.

Clock Font and Script Options

If you prefer to read the time in a different script, simply tap the globe icon. You can choose from Arabic, Arabic Indic or Devanagari.

By tapping the three dots icon in the bottom right, you can also enable or disable the depth effect, if available. This is the feature that, in my examples, allows Dakota’s ears to pop out in front of the time.

Change What Information Your Lock Screen Displays with Widgets

Next up, the Lock Screen gets widgets. These come in two places: above the time display and just below it. Tap on either location to customize this part of your iOS 16 Lock Screen. You can choose one long widget for above the time, using options included with Apple’s stock apps as well as some provided by certain third-party apps.

Below the time, you can configure quite a bit more information. This is really useful on the iPhone 14 Pro with its always-on display, but honestly…it’s great even without that feature.


Depending on the size of the widgets, you can plug up to four separate pieces of information here. These can include widgets from Apple’s apps as well as third-party options. Quite a few apps have already updated with Lock Screen widgets, including Fantastical, CARROT Weather, and even the Halide camera app.

One important note, here, is that using widgets in the space below the time does automatically disable Depth Effect on your wallpaper. Presumably, Apple doesn’t think you’d want your pictures overlapping the widgets.

Once you’re happy with your Lock Screen, tap Add and choose whether you also want customize your Home Screen layout.

Assign a Lock Screen to a Focus Mode

Finally, you can also assign your customized iOS 16 Lock Screen to a particular Focus Mode. Simply tap the Focus button back at the wallpaper selection screen. Choose which Focus Mode you want to assign to that Lock Screen.

Link Focus

Once you’ve chosen the Focus Mode, it will turn on whenever you activate that particular Lock Screen. Apple doesn’t stop there, though. When you enable a Focus Mode with a linked Lock Screen, iOS 16 automatically changes your Lock Screen to match your preferences.

Even better, if you change your Focus Mode from another device (your Apple Watch, Mac or iPad, for example) and have Share Across Devices turned on, guess what happens. If you guessed that your iPhone takes the hint and changes to the correct Lock Screen, give yourself a pat on the back, sticker or cookie.

Very Thoughtfully Developed Personalization Options

Truly, I can’t come up with anything Apple overlooked in terms of the personalization options for the Lock Screen. It’s become my favorite feature of iOS 16, and I suspect I’m not alone there.

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