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Top 6 iOS 16 Features for Lawyers

by Erik Mazzone |

If you are one of the many, many lawyers who has an iPhone tucked away in a pocket or bag, you have probably noticed by now that Apple released a new operating system for the iPhone, iOS 16. The updates with the new number (as opposed to the decimal additions like are the big ones. The ones where Apple packs in a lot of new features and injects your aging phone with a shot of new life.

iOS 16 is no exception; there is a ton of new features to explore. There are plenty of good summaries of the new features available at the touch of a Google search, so I am not going to cover all of the updates, but instead, I’m going to share the top six that may be of particular interest to iPhone-using lawyers.


1. Unsend texts

If you are anything like me, you have sent an improvident text message or two in your time. Maybe it was hastily sent, or misspelled, or just sent to the wrong person. The nature of texting is that it is less formal than email (I will pause here to allow time for eyes to roll at the notion of email formality). Texts are fast, convenient communication meant to be dashed off quickly.

The price for that speed and convenience is the increased likelihood of errors. For those occasional times when you fire off a text and then immediately realize that you shouldn’t have, Apple’s Messages now allow you to “unsend” the errant text. It’s a mulligan for all the texts you realized were wrong 3 seconds too late. One word of warning: if your recipient has already received and read the text, it can no longer be unsend. 


2. Send email later

We’ve all had this experience. It is the end of the day. You need to email a client or other key stakeholder an update. You do not have time for the lengthy conversation they are going to want to have but you do want to at least get them the email tonight, even if the discussion has to wait until tomorrow. You finish the email, press send and before you can close your laptop and get up from your chair to head home, your phone rings. Without even looking, you already know it is the recipient of your email. And you sent it so recently, you cannot plausibly have gotten away from your desk. You are trapped.

What you really needed was time after you sent the email. Time to close your computer, walk to the car, and get on your way home before the office phone rings. 

iOS 16 includes the ability to send your email later. You write the email when it is convenient to write and then you schedule the send for a time that works for you. Then when the inevitable phone call or email response comes in 3 seconds after the message has been sent, you have already moved on to your next activity, guilt free.


3. Email reminders

On the same theme of email tools making your life a little easier, iOS Mail will also now allow you to choose to be reminded later about a message in your inbox. Here’s how it works: you receive an email, it is important, and you want to respond to it, but not right at this moment. If you file it in a folder, you will never see it again. If you just leave it in your inbox, it will get buried under all the new email and you will never see it again. 

Now, you can just swipe right on the message and you will be offered the option to be reminded again (in an hour, a day, etc.), which allows Mail to re-notify you about the message coming in, so it’s like you’re receiving it for the first time at the exact time you choose. 


4. Passkeys

Somewhere out there a lawyer is reading this article at their desk with a nice flat screen monitor. Ringing around that nice monitor is a series of little yellow sticky notes, like the petals of a 3M branded sunflower. And on those notes are scrawled a variety of things, including the one password the lawyer uses for everything.  

No judgment. (Well, a little tiny bit of judgment.) Passwords are a pain. Lawyers are busy. Being security minded about passwords is sometimes just a bridge too far.

The technorati understand our failings and have accepted, finally, that we are never, ever really going to get passwords right. Enter passkeys. Passkeys is what Apple calls an authentication method in which we get all the security of long unique passwords without having to actually go to the trouble of creating and keeping those passwords. Passkeys is about password-less future of security. It was developed based on the FIDO standard with Google and Microsoft.

Passkeys replaces passwords with a passkey (a unique identifier stored on your phone or other device) that can only be accessed via biometric (like your FaceID) authentication. Essentially, it is a supercharged password that your phone creates and stores for you and you only need your face to unlock. It’s most of the security with none of the hassle. It is just rolling out to apps and websites now, so expect to see a bunch more of it in the coming months.


5. Safety check

This is especially for family lawyers and others who work with victims of domestic abuse. Safety check is a new feature that allows users to immediately revoke access that other people have to their location sharing (which Apple now calls Find My). The user just navigates to the iPhone Privacy & Security settings, and there is a prominent button allowing “Emergency Reset.” Once engaged, the emergency reset automatically and immediately terminates any location sharing from the device. There is also within that screen, a “Quick Exit” button, so if a user is exploring the emergency reset function, they can immediately exit from the settings app back to their home screen if someone is looking over their shoulder.


6. Lockdown mode

Lastly, there is Lockdown mode. Lockdown mode, according to Apple, is “extreme, optional protection that should only be used if you believe you may be personally targeted by a highly sophisticated cyberattack.” And by sophisticated cyberattack they mean, criminal syndicate or state actor. This is the nuclear option for protecting your phone.

Engaging Lockdown mode will drastically reduce the functionality of the phone, cutting off the phone’s vulnerabilities mostly likely to be targeted by a cyberattack. It will be safe, but it will be a lot less useful. Think of it as a digital safe room. It is handy to have but you hope you never have to use it. 

There are a bunch more great features packed into iOS 16. Hope this list gets you started on finding the ones that work for you.





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