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Live Actions debuted with the release of iOS 16.1, promising a new way to get relevant information where users want to see it. This feature works with every iPhone that supports the latest version of iOS.
This is different from Dynamic Island, which is only available for iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. Live Activities are designed as a well-timed notification on the lock screen that can be used for a variety of purposes, from sports score updates to stock price changes, food delivery, arrivals at attractions, and more.
How to enable interactive actions on supported iPhone devices
- Open Settings and navigate to Face ID & Passcode.
- Enter your passcode or Touch/Face ID to verify the user.
- Scroll down to the “Allow Access When Locked” section and turn on the toggle to take action.
After you grant access, apps that support interactive actions will appear on the lock screen with real-time updates — for example, Starbucks tells 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 interactive activity notifications for individual apps by opening Settings and scrolling down to the app you want. . There you can turn the Live Actions toggle on or off as desired.
Apple's built-in Timers feature in the Clock app is a built-in example that users can try out right away. Start the timer, put your iPhone to sleep, turn it back on — and there is a remaining countdown time.
Similarly, the Music and Podcasts apps will display progress and current playback information on the lock screen when these apps are in use.
For iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max users, interactive activities work in conjunction with the Dynamic Island feature. This allows you to display updated information at the top of the lock screen in a compact or extended area.
Users of the Apple TV app can “follow” a sporting event to receive updates Live Activity on the lock screen, including score and recent games. This works for Major League Baseball games for users in a number of countries, including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, as well as Mexico, Brazil, Korea, and Japan.
Pro basketball and soccer fans in the US and Canada can get live action updates on the latest NBA and Premier League games. This TV app feature is likely to expand to additional sports over time.
With the release of iOS 16.2, users will also be able to use Spotlight to search for a game and “follow” it from a summary information page — start update Live Activity. Updates can be disabled by re-search for the game.
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 approximately three hours before a scheduled trip, including any gate changes or delays.
Carrot Weather shows a rain/snow countdown and predicts levels and duration for its subscribers. Just Press Record, a $5 iPhone and Apple Watch app, uses Live Activity to let users update the status of a recording at no additional charge.
As with Just Press Record, not all apps require an additional purchase or subscription to use live action. Lyft and Uber, for example, will soon update car arrival times for customers via Live Activity free of charge.
In order to better showcase the variety of options through interactive activities, we will highlight some apps that cater to specific interests. At the time of this writing, there are over 170 third-party apps that support some form of Live Activity.
Fitness and Sports
SmartGym is a popular third-party app that helps users track their workouts. It also offers a standalone Apple Watch app that doesn't require your iPhone to be with you and integrates with the Health app.
Fat Burn Tracker is a free weight loss focused workout app that helps users achieve the most efficient heart rate and prevents 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 small subscription fee.
Slopes are designed specifically for skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, while Landscape: Mountaineering is for hikers and those who explore remote areas and mountainous areas.
MoneyCoach is a well-established but expensive money tracking and management app that syncs transactions across devices, including Ability to import Apple Card and other credit card statements.
Aimed at students, Subjects shows users their class schedule, homework and due dates, updated GPA, and offers the opportunity to collaborate with classmates. The app has an inexpensive monthly or yearly subscription.
Goodtask works with both iCloud Calendars and Reminders and Outlook and is highly acclaimed with an optional $10/year subscription.
Cardpointers is an app that helps users track credit card rewards. This helps users maximize rewards by reminding them which card to use in a given store or online site, and can help users find cards more suited to their reward needs and shopping habits.
Other apps that support interactive activities
Bookly offers statistics and timers when you open a book to read on your device, and helps users manage their “read” lists. It offers optional extra features for a monthly, semi-annual, or yearly subscription.
Marvis Pro offers widgets, Live Activity or Dynamic Island information, and lock screen controls for what's playing in Apple Music or from your music library. This is Last.fm-enabled donation software for $5 in-app purchases.
Pestle helps users collect, organize, adjust and execute recipes, whether online or even handwritten. It offers a monthly or yearly subscription, 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 be displayed in Live Activity or Dynamic Island, depending on your iPhone.
Designed for breastfeeding moms, Booby Track tracks feedings and provides helpful reminders for new moms right from your lock screen. This is a five-star free app that does not track users or send data.