I'm already using Live Activities as a shortcut for apps and settings in iOS 16.1

Live Activities widget in iOS 16.1
(Image credit: TechRadar)

iOS 16.1 hasn't been available for long, but already developers are taking advantage of its tentpole feature, Live Activities, by creating shortcut widgets on the redesigned Lock Screen on your iPhone - and I'm sold.

For anyone unclear, Live Activities is a widget placed at the bottom of an iOS 16.1 Lock Screen on an iPhone, which can show live data, such as the status of a takeaway, or live scores for a football game. However, developers are already finding out other ways to take advantage of this.

An app called Lock Launcher, is free to download on the App Store but there's a one-off fee of $4.99 / £4.99 / AU$5.99 to unlock more features. The app previously allowed you to create widgets for the Home Screen that could let you access WiFi settings and apps from a favorite list. With the appearance of Live Activities in iOS 16.1 however, you can now do the same directly on the Lock Screen.

A launchpad of possibilities

Lock Launcher app options in iOS 16.1

(Image credit: TechRadar)

From launching WiFi and 5G settings to Photos and websites, it's already freeing up the widgets at the top of the Lock Screen for me. There have been countless times when I've had to go to WiFi settings to force-connect it to the home network, but it's always required 4 taps to get there. Now, it's just one. But Lock Launcher goes even further for this widget.

You can also change the icons for the apps and settings to help match whichever Lock Screen you've made, so if you wanted to change WhatsApp to a facemask, you can.

And there's yet another benefit if you own an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max. You can also summon this widget within the Dynamic Island wherever you are, so you can quickly access apps, settings, and more.

I'm already finding this useful on my iPhone 13 Pro, and it's not even a week since iOS 16.1 debuted. Yet again, it's also making me think about how this can help on an iPad Pro display, and how many apps and settings I can add there, but I imagine I'll be waiting for the debut of Lock Screen widgets in iPadOS 17.

In the meantime though, Lock Launcher has been a big timesaver for me, and if you've been trying to find ways of cutting down the taps to reach your Bluetooth settings, this app will achieve that in droves.

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter called 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.