Use Live Activity on iPhone to track scores, rides, pets, chats, tasks, workouts and more at a glance « iOS and iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

Live Activities is Apple’s hottest new feature for iPhones, but it’s not always live. Sometimes you’ll turn one on without even realizing it, but it can seem frustratingly impossible to start one when you really want it to.

What are live activities?

First appearance in iOS 16.1Live Activities displays real-time information or the latest available data from an app on the lock screen. When your iPhone is unlocked, live activities appear on your Home screen and in apps via Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. On other iPhone models, it will appear as periodic notifications.

Any developer can add live activities to their apps using the ActivityKit framework, but live activities work best when updated information can help you track live events and tasks in real time. For example, you will have easy access to playback controls when listening to a song in Music app, and you’ll see a live countdown to a timer you set in the clock app.

Live Activity can also help you track or get flight updates, sports scores, food deliveries, rides, traffic jams, package deliveries, election results, and more. The way you view and interact with activities varies:

  • On the lock screen or Notification Center, you can interact with the live activity launcher controls or tap a live activity to open its app for more information.
  • On Dynamic Island, you’ll see a small, ongoing TrueDepth camera preview of what’s going on. You can long-press it to see a larger window with more data and controls, such as the lock screen and notification center.
  • On devices without Dynamic Island, you’ll see a banner notification appear briefly on the home screen and in apps, but only if the app thanks to the update is important enough to interrupt you. Tapping on the notification will open its app for more information.

You can have multiple live activities running at the same time. However, a live activity can only be active for up to eight hours before iOS automatically terminates it — unless you or the app terminates it first. However, some activities will show the activity result for up to four more hours on the lock screen and notification center, bringing the maximum time to 12 hours. When you or the system terminate an activity, it immediately disappears from the Dynamic Island, and you will have no more banner updates.

What devices support live activities?

Live Activities are only available on iPhones, and your device must be running iOS 16.1 or later.

The Lock screen and Notification Center presentation of live activities appears on all supported iPhone models. However, the Dynamic Island view is only available for the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. You’ll see banner notifications if you don’t have an iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max.

How do you enable/disable live activities?

It’s possible that Live Activities is already enabled for your lock screen, but you can go to “Face ID & Passcode” or “Touch ID & Passcode” in the Settings app to check. The Live Activities switch should be toggled under the Allow Access When Locked section.

If you want to enable or disable the direct activities of certain apps at the system level, open the Settings app and open the App preferences. If you see Live Activities under Allow [App] To access “, toggle it as you like. (Not all apps have live activities.)

Also, the first time you launch a Live Activity from an app, you’ll get options in the Live Activity itself to Allow or Don’t Allow, which you can change at any time via the Settings app.

How do you start and end a live activity?

How you start a live activity depends on the app you’re using. Some of them may start automatically, like when you set a timer or play a song. In other cases, you will have to start it manually. some examples:

To follow the sports results in Apple TV app, visit the Live Sports section, open a game in progress, and hit the Continue button. You can click it again to stop Live Activity. If you don’t see one, it isn’t available for that game. You can also swipe the live activity left from the lock screen or notification center to end it.

on me iOS 16.2 and laterYou can also launch a live activity in the TV app from Spotlight Search. Find a team, click on their live match score, and hit continue. You can click it again to stop Live Activity.

In the Bookly app, Live Activity automatically appears when you start reading a book, showing you the elapsed time. You can click it to go to the status in the application. Pressing Pause or Stop for the book stops the activity. You can also swipe left on the live activity to close it while keeping the time in the app going.

Every app is different. In Flighty (left image below), you can click on Live Activity in the flight view. In Pestle (middle image below), one will start automatically when you start the timer. In Apollo for Reddit (right image below), you can click the ellipsis (•••) menu on any thread and choose Start Live Activity.

What apps support live activities?

  • Wall Clock: It starts a live activity when the timer starts.
  • Music: Displays Now Playing activity when playing music and other audio.
  • Podcasts: Shows the Now Playing activity when a podcast is playing.
  • Television: It allows you to follow your favorite sports matches, with updated scores and play-by-play viewing. At the moment, the availability of these live activities is limited to certain sports and countries. Live action of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the English Premier League is available in the United States and Canada. Major League Baseball (MLB) live action is available in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Japan, and South Korea.

These are some of the Apple apps that support live activities. As for third-party apps, there are actually a lot, and here’s just a glimpse of what’s out there:

Apple showed examples of live activity in Uber, Lyft, and Starbucks, but those apps haven’t yet been updated to support the feature.

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Cover image and screenshots by Brenda Ramirez / Gadget Hacks

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