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Live Activities debuted with the release of iOS 16.1, promising a new way to get up-to-date information where users want to see it. The feature works with all iPhones supporting the latest iOS.
It is separate from Dynamic Island, which is only for iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Live Activities is designed as a timely lock screen notification that can cover a wide variety of uses, from sports score updates to stock price changes to food deliveries to rideshare arrivals, and even more.
How to Enable Live Activities on Supported iPhones
- Go to Settings, then Face ID & Passcode.
- Enter your password or Touch/Face ID for user verification.
- Scroll down to the “Allow access when locked” section and turn on the switch for live activities.
Once you’ve given access, apps that support live activities will appear on the lock screen with real-time updates, such as Starbucks notifying you when your order is ready. These notifications appear at the bottom of the screen on supported iPhones and are not yet available on other Apple devices.
You can enable or disable live activity notifications for individual apps by opening the settings and scrolling down to the app in question. There you can enable or disable the “Live Activities” switch as you wish.
Apple’s built-in Timers feature in the Clock app is a built-in example that users can try right away. Start a timer, put the iPhone to sleep, turn it back on – and the remaining time runs out.
Similarly, the Music app and the Podcasts app will show progress and current playing information on the lock screen when those apps are in use.
For iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max users, Live Activities works in conjunction with the Dynamic Island feature. This allows updated information to appear at the top of the lock screen, in a compact or expanded area.
Apple TV app users can “follow” a sporting event to get a live activity update on their lock screen, including the score and recent games. It works for Major League Baseball games for users in multiple countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, as well as Mexico, Brazil, Korea, and Japan.
Professional basketball and soccer fans in the United States and Canada can get live activity updates on watched NBA and Premier League games. This functionality of the TV app is likely to be extended to other sports over time.
With the release of iOS 16.2, users will also be able to use Spotlight to find a game and “follow” it from the resulting information page, which will trigger the Live Activities update. Updates can be disabled by searching for the game again.
Third-party apps such as Flighty and Carrot Weather have already taken advantage of this feature: Flighty, for example, offers flight updates for subscribers starting around three hours before a scheduled trip, including any gate changes or delays.
Carrot Weather offers rain/snow countdown and predicted levels and durations for its subscribers. Just Press Record, a $5 app for iPhone and Apple Watch, uses Live Activities to update users on recording status at no additional cost.
As with Just Press Record, not all apps require an additional purchase or subscription to use Live Activities. Lyft and Uber, for example, will soon notify customers of car arrival times using Live Activities for free.
To better showcase the variety of options with Live Activities, we’ll highlight some apps that cater to specific interests. As of this writing, there are over 170 third-party apps listed as supporting some form of live activity.
Fitness and sports
SmartGym is a popular third-party app to help users track workouts. It also offers a standalone Apple Watch app that doesn’t require the iPhone to be with you and integrates with the Health app.
Fat Burn Tracker is a popular free weight loss-focused workout app that helps users achieve their most effective heart rate goals and prevent overtraining or fatigue. It works with Apple Watch Series 3 or later and most Bluetooth heart rate monitors.
FotMob will track football scores around the world, but it requires a modest subscription fee.
Slopes is aimed specifically at skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, while Landscape: Mountaineering is aimed at hikers and others exploring the backcountry and mountainous regions.
MoneyCoach is a well-rated but pricey money tracking and management app that syncs transactions between devices, including the ability to import Apple Card and other credit card statements.
Goodtask works with calendars and reminders from iCloud and Outlook, and is highly rated for its optional $10/year subscription.
Cardpointers is an app that helps users track credit card rewards. It helps users maximize rewards by reminding them which card to use when in a particular store or online site, and can help users find cards that are better suited to their rewards needs and spending habits. ‘purchase.
Other apps that support live activities
Bookly offers statistics and timers when you open a book to read on your device, and also helps users manage their “to read” lists. It offers optional additional features for a monthly, semi-annual or annual subscription.
Marvis Pro offers widgets, live activity or dynamic island information, and lock screen controls for what’s playing on Apple Music or from the music library. It’s giveaway software, with Last.fm support for a $5 in-app purchase.
Pestle helps users collect, organize, adjust and execute recipes, online or even handwritten. It offers monthly or annual subscriptions, or a single “lifetime” in-app purchase.
Coffee Book is a caffeine tracker, brew diary and barista trainer for coffee lovers. The Brew Timer will appear on Live Activities or the Dynamic Island, depending on your iPhone.
Booby Track is for breastfeeding moms, tracking feeds and providing helpful reminders for new moms right from the lock screen. This is a five-star free app that does not track users or return data.
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