Live Activities is an iOS Lock Screen feature that keeps you updated about things happening in real time. If you’re wondering about how it works, which apps support Live Activities, and how it is different from the widgets on the Lock Screen, this guide is for you. Read along to find answers to all these questions and effortlessly use Live Activities on iPhone.
What is Live Activities on iPhone?
According to Apple, “Live Activities is a new feature that helps users stay on top of things that are happening in real-time, such as a sports game, workout, ride-share, or food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen.” Wait, did that confuse you further? Let me break that down in simpler terms.
For example, you order food from Grub Hub, keep your phone aside, and get back to work. Now, when you want to check the order status, Live Activities enables you to do so from the Lock Screen or Dynamic Island itself.
The need to unlock your iPhone to check the progress of your order is eliminated. Both your time and effort are saved. Apple will also share the API of Live Activities with developers, which will help them implement this feature in their apps.
Live Activities will be available for all iPhones running on iOS 16.1 or later and for apps that share real-time activities such as sports scores, ride-shares (Uber, etc.), Food delivery apps, workout tracking apps, etc.
So, are Live Activities and widgets the same?
Not exactly. Live Activities use a different mechanism in comparison to widgets. The updates a Live Activity receives are through remote push notifications or from the app itself through ActivityKit. On the contrary, widgets use a timeline mechanism.
How to turn on Live Activities in iOS 17 and 16
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
- Tap Face ID & Passcode.
- Enter your passcode to continue.
- Scroll down and toggle on Live Activities under Allow Access When Locked.
Apps that support Live Activities in iOS 17 and 16
There are a plethora of third-party apps that have extended support for this intuitive feature, and the number just keeps growing. Here’s a look at some of the most popular ones.
- Apollo for Reddit – Follow real-time Reddit thread comments.
- Aviary – Undo Tweets (up to 30 minutes) or view Tweet edits.
- FotMob – Live soccer scores.
- SmartGym – Show details of a workout in progress.
- Liftin’ – Keep track of a workout with rep counts, rest timers, and more.
- Steps – See real-time workout progress.
- Landscape – Track your climb with real-time stats and a rolling elevation graph.
- Slopes – Pause and resume tracking your skiing or snowboarding activity.
- Calzy – Keeps track of a calculation.
- Sticky Timers – Keep track of multiple timers simultaneously on Dynamic Island.
- Forest – See time left on the task at hand.
- MoneyCoach – Tracks your spending.
- Just Press Record – Record/pause audio with one tap on Lock Screen or Dynamic Island.
- Structured – Daily Planner – View countdown for focus timer.
- Subjects – Students can track class schedules, homework, etc.
- TV Remote – Gives quick access to some remote control buttons.
- Flighty – Get details about upcoming flights three hours before departure.
- CardPointers – Track credit card rewards.
Other fun apps
- Carrot Weather – Check details about specific alerts, like rain, storm, etc., from Lock Screen or Dynamic Island.
- Soor – View lyrics of currently playing Apple Music songs in real-time.
- Pestle – Shows the current step of a recipe with a timer.
- Crouton – Display recipe timers and steps for each recipe.
- Lumy – Track any sun event from the Lock Screen.
- Tide Guide – Track real-time tide height and solar or lunar altitudes.
- PosturePal – Keeps track of posture and notifies if it is incorrect.
- GPS Tracks – Track a route for navigation and set a waypoint.
A new Sports category has been added to Apple News. This section will help display schedules and scores for professional and college sports. Users can add teams to their favorites and not miss out on updates. However, the Live Activity for sports feature will only be available to four countries: the USA, UK, Canada, and Australia.
How to use Live Activities on iPhone
The feature’s operation depends upon the app and permissions given. For instance, you’ll have to manually add your favorite team in the Sports category of Apple News. And later, you’ll auto-recieve live notifications on the Live Activities widget displayed on the Lock Screen.
In some cases, like in the Apollo for Reddit app, you’ll have to tap/toggle on the Start Live Activity button in the options menu. You can refer to our guide if you are still facing issues with Live Activities on your iPhone.
No. If you remove the Live Activity from the Lock Screen, it doesn’t end the original activity. For example, suppose you remove the Live Activity displaying the time remaining for your pizza to be delivered; it won’t cancel the order.
A Live Activity can remain on the Lock Screen for a total of 12 hours. A Live Activity can run for up to eight hours unless the app or the user decides to end it. It can remain on the Lock Screen for another 4 hours in the ended state, after which the system will remove it from the Lock Screen.
With each passing day, doom scrolling has become a more common phenomenon. Unlocking one’s phone is one of the contributing factors to this. Sometimes I unlock my phone to check my order’s status but get engrossed in social media notifications, etc. I also tend to forget the primary purpose of unlocking my phone because of the several notifications I’m spammed with from apps and companies.
I believe Live Activities is an excellent addition to the iPhone’s Lock Screen. I’m glad Apple is finally becoming more flexible and allowing users to customize their Lock Screen. Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below.
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Jibin Joseph is an editor at iGeeksBlog and has excellent attention to detail. He is a voracious reader, with interests ranging from philosophy and history to geopolitics and tech. When not reading or correcting grammar, you’d find him engaging in discussions about football. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @4ibin.