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4 Annoying iOS 16 Features You Can Fix Right Now

This story is part of Focal Point iPhone 2022, CNET’s collection of news, tips and advice around Apple’s most popular product.

There’s much to discover in iOS 16, Apple’s latest mobile software update for the iPhone. For starters, you can now unsend and edit text messages and easily crop people or objects from photos with a single tap. And there are several hidden features that you’ll probably want to know about too. 

But not every iOS 16 feature is universally loved. For example, the new iPhone home screen search button and unexpected photo pop-ups are quickly becoming reviled. 

Fortunately, most of these iOS 16 features and settings can be disabled or removed altogether.

I’ll help walk you through how to “fix” the most unloved new iOS 16 features. And while you’re here, make sure you’ve changed these clutch iPhone settings and brush up on two new Apple Maps features. If you haven’t yet, here’s how to download iOS 16 on a compatible iPhone (post-2017).

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Strip the new search button from your iPhone’s home screen

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Your iPhone’s search feature lets you quickly find a text message, third-party app, file, note or location — pretty much anything on your device or on the web. As you know, to get the search bar, you just swipe down anywhere on the screen, and it appears. 

With iOS 16, Apple adds another way to access Search from the home screen, via a small button right above your dock. 

However, the new search button is easy to accidentally trigger, because it’s near where your thumb might go when you swipe between your various home pages.

But, like many new features on iOS 16, you can turn this setting off. Simply launch the Settings app, go to Home Screen and toggle off Show on Home Screen to remove the search button from your home screen. 

The Search bubble should disappear, replaced by a few small dots representing your various home screens.

Search button on home screen of iPhone

Even if you remove the Search button, you can still access the feature by swiping down from anywhere on your home screen.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Stop unexpected (and embarrassing) photo popups on your iPhone screen

Apple’s artificial intelligence helps surface photos and videos in various places across your iPhone, as a reminder of family vacations, couple photos and holidays — but you may not always want your personal pictures to pop up unexpectedly, especially if they’re private, embarrassing or inappropriate.

With iOS 16, you can now prevent Featured Photos, as well as curated collections known as Memories, from appearing in photo widgets on your home screen and the Search and For You sections in Photos. 

To block these tailored photos, launch the Settings app, go into Photos and toggle off Show Featured Content. All featured content will no longer appear across your device — instead, it’ll only be available in your photo library and albums.

Featured Content disabled on iPhone

Once Show Featured Content is turned off, featured photos and memories across your device should disappear.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Keep from accidentally ending your own phone calls

The side/power button on the side of your iPhone allows you to quickly sleep and wake up your device, but if you accidentally hit it during a phone call, you’ll prematurely end your call. If that’s something you’ve encountered in the past, iOS 16 finally allows you to prevent that from happening.

In Settings, go to Accessibility > Touch and toggle off Lock to End Call to prevent the side button from ending your calls. If you do hit the side button accidentally, your screen will go to sleep, but you’ll stay on your phone call, uninterrupted.

Lock to End Call setting on iOS 16

This feature is hidden in the Accessibility section of your settings.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

Go back to using old iPhone lock screen notifications

Apple’s latest redesign brings widgets, customizable fonts and colors, a wallpaper gallery and stylized date and time to the lock screen, as well as one overlooked change to notifications. Instead of appearing at the top of your lock screen, notifications now appear at the bottom, which you can then tap on to appear full screen.

However, not everyone may be happy with this change. If you want to go back to the way notifications appeared on iOS 15, launch the Settings application and go to Notifications > Display As. You’ll then see three options:

  • Count: Notifications appear as a numbered count at the bottom of the screen.
  • Stack: Notifications appear in a stack at the bottom of the screen.
  • List: Notifications appear fully across your screen.

To go back to the old notification style, choose the List option.

Notifications on the lock screen

You can also pinch the notifications to switch between the three Display As options.

Nelson Aguilar/CNET

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