The lock screen on my phone was beautiful before the new operating system was released. It had a background image and a handcrafted selection of notifications.

Apple kicked it like a child.

That is all a metaphor. It would be odd to have a sandcastle on my phone. Apple made some changes to the lock screen with the release of iOS 16 last week that have made me feel bad.

We all agree that the lock screen's function is more important than a quick glance at notifications. It's possible that Apple bungled that setup in order to accommodate the Dynamic Island feature that's exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro. The new default fonts for the clock can take a hike if that change wasn't bad enough.

After a week of using the new lock screen, it just isn't working for me.

Bottoming out

The philosophy seems to have been to make the lock screen more attractive to users. These areUI features that you can drag and drop around the lock screen in order to create something both pleasing and useful. If you want to show the weather, phone battery life, or even the latest Facebook updates on your lock screen, you can do that with awidget.

That is fine. People who don't want to do that are the only problem. The lock screen is less functional than before. By default, the middle third of the lock screen is where the widgets should reside. Push notifications, like new text messages and food delivery alert, used to be there for those who have used an Apple device. They are cramped at the bottom of the lock screen.

iPhone lock screen screenshot showing notifications bunched together at the bottom of the screen after iOS 16 update

Just show me all of those notifications at once like you used to. Credit: Screenshot: Apple

I now have the middle portion of the screen that doesn't offer anything, while all my notifications are sequestered down to this phantom zone where you can only really read one at a time. It looks bad, but it makes the phone less pleasurable to use.

The Dynamic Island is a notch killer that is almost meant to make you want an iPhone 14 Pro. The feature that turns the selfie cam housing into a digital swiss army knife can replace some of the functions of push notifications, which would at least partially address my grievances. The problem is that I don't have a lot of money to spend on a new phone, but I'm happy with my current one.

Via Giphy(opens in a new tab)

The new lock screen has a few problems, one of which is the bad default clock fonts. The first thing you see when you pick up the phone is a thick sans-serif fonts. It's so large that my eyes are drawn to it whenever I boot up the phone.

Please don't shout at me.

iPhone lock screen font customization

You can choose a better, thinner font here. Credit: Screenshot: Apple

The bad news is that you can't change the lock screen's appearance. You can get a menu by holding the lock screen. The good news is that it is easy to do this while maintaining the background image that I have been using for more than six years.

It is a cool picture of a football player smoking a cigarette and drinking Fresca in the locker room during a Super Bowl in the 1960s. My favorite picture is this one. He looks great. When I want to change the lock screen on my phone, I have to choose a new wallpaper first.

I downloaded the image again and chose it from my library. It took more effort than it should have to crop the zoomed in version that I had to pinch to make it work.

iPhone lock screen customization menu

Why does this take so much work? Credit: Screenshot: Apple

It didn't fix the notifications problem but it gave me the ability to preserve the look I wanted. There is a void in the middle of the screen.

I am begging Apple to let me put the notifications back where they belong. Let me build a new one.