While last week’s fifth beta of iOS 12.2 suggested that the “Golden Master” or final release of iOS 12.2 is imminent, Apple is clearly still polishing up a few things, with the release of a sixth beta yesterday, only a week after beta 5 went out to both developers and public beta testers, and with only a week to go before Apple’s highly-anticipated March 25 event.
As with last week’s beta, there’s very little new here from a user-facing perspective, although Apple has undoubtedly tweaked and fixed a number of things under the hood. Apple also rarely issues official “Golden Masters” for point releases, so it’s entirely possible that iOS 12.2 beta 6 could be the same code that ultimately gets released to the public next week. One specific change in beta 6 expands the more detailed warranty coverage information now found in the About section in the Settings app to allow users to actually purchase AppleCare+ coverage directly from their device.
That said, it’s not entirely clear how the release of iOS 12.2 may be tied to any of the announcements at next week’s event. Apple already quietly unveiled new iPads yesterday (and it’s unknown whether these will ship with iOS 12.2 already installed), although rumours of AirPower and new AirPods still abound, both of which could require new code found only in iOS 12.2 — there have already been indications of support for new AirPods in the earliest iOS 12.2 betas — and of course Apple’s new video and news/magazine services will undoubtedly require updates to the iOS 12 TV and News apps, but those services may not be ready for public launch right away.
Either way, it looks like iOS 12.2 is getting closer to release, and despite the fact that only iPads have been announced so far, this should provide a glimmer of hope that the AirPower charging mat and new AirPods could still be coming before the end of the month.
While beta 6 itself doesn’t include any significant changes, iOS 12.2 will bring users a potpourri of interesting new features, alongside a bunch of smaller finishing touches. Significant changes include the introduction of Apple News in Canada, a redesigned Apple TV Remove control interface, support for HomeKit-enabled Smart TVs, and new Animoji characters.
There’s also a pretty long list of smaller changes coming as well, including security improvements in Safari, a revamped Wallet interface that may herald Apple’s rumoured “financial health” features, expanded customization of Screen Time’s “Downtime” feature to allow for different schedules on different days of the week, styling changes to Apple News, including a whole new icon, air quality information in Apple Maps, improved search results in Apple Music, inline music playback in Safari, the ability to disable motion detection in Safari, and a plethora of smaller design changes to things like control centre buttons and icons.
Internal code found in iOS 12.2 also shows changes to the News app for Apple’s magazine subscriptions service, more restrictive geofenced ECG settings for the Apple Watch, and of course the aforementioned indications of new AirPods, specifically revealing support for the “Hey Siri” feature. Interestingly, no changes have yet been found in the TV app, an omission that lends some credence to rumours that, despite next week’s expected unveiling, the full public release of Apple’s new streaming service could still be a few months off.