Apple’s currency and unit conversion feature in iOS 16 works inline everywhere you can select text, including in apps such as Messages, Mail and Notes.

Creating an event from an iMessage in iOS 16 | Screenshots: Federico Viticci

With iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, you can convert units like currencies and temperatures with just a touch. The feature is accessible pretty much everywhere in the system, including in text-based apps such as Messages, Mail and Notes.

In Messages, the operating system detects a supported unit for conversion in a text message. Touching the underlined text pulls up a contextual menu providing automatic conversion of the selected value.

This works in all Apple apps that support text manipulation, like Messages, Mail, Notes, Calendar and Reminders, as well as third-party ones.

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iOS 16 has a built-in unit conversion that works everywhere

iOS 15 lets you convert currencies and units in Spotlight. iOS 16 supports this anywhere you can select text. Although Apple hasn’t mentioned this feature, we now know about it thanks to the hawk-eyed MacStories editor-in-chief Federico Viticci who raised awareness about iOS 16’s inline unit conversion on Twitter, saying it works “everywhere.” At long last, he says, “I don’t have to explain to my American friends what Celsius temperatures mean anymore.” 

For example, if your text to an American friend mentions that it’s currently 35 degrees Celsius in your hometown, the temperature itself will be styled as underline. The recipient can then tap this “link,” which brings up a contextual menu showing them that 35 degrees Celsius translates into 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

Or maybe your American friend just replied back with a text saying that an Apple event will kick off at 1pm Pacific Time. But you happen to be on Central European Time and so performing time zone conversions in your head certainly doesn’t sound like fun. Instead of using Google, simply touch the quoted time in Messages to instantly see how 1pm PT translates into CET (answer: 10pm CET). This should be great for quickly calculating Apple event times around the world!

Which units does iOS 16’s inline conversion support?

iOS 16 automatically converts the following units:

  • Currency
  • Distance
  • Temperature
  • Time zones
  • Volume
  • Weight

This feature builds on top of Apple’s existing technologies, namely the Data Detectors feature which automatically detects dates, times, currencies and so on. For certain units, you may see additional options. Performing a time zone conversion, for example, also presents you with options to create an event or reminder using the selected time.

When will iOS 16 and other updates be released?

This feature is currently limited to the iOS 16 beta. Apple is currently testing iOS 16, iPadOS 16, tvOS 16, watchOS 9 and macOS 13 Ventura with its registered developers. Public betas will follow in July, letting everyone try out Apple’s prerelease software on their own device. iOS 16 and other Apple OS updates will be released commercially in the fall. 

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