Apple Rolls Out Third iOS 16.4 Public Beta | Here’s What’s New

IOS 16.4 public beta 3 Credit: Azamat E / Unsplash
Text Size
- +

Toggle Dark Mode

Barely a week after delivering the second iOS 16.4 beta to developers and public beta testers, Apple has already begun rolling out a third beta via software update — a move that suggests a public release of iOS 16.4 may be on the horizon.

Apple seeded the third iOS 16.4 beta to registered developers earlier this week, as it typically does before making it more widely available through the Apple Beta Software Program.

If you have yet to install the prior iOS 16.4 betas, you’ll have to sign up for one of Apple’s beta programs and install a profile in the usual manner. However, those who have already jumped on the iOS 16.4 beta bandwagon can take advantage of the easier update mechanism that no longer requires a profile.

Beta by Apple ID

In the first iOS 16.4 beta, Apple laid the groundwork for tying beta entitlement directly to a user’s Apple ID rather than requiring folks to download and install a profile.

This is something of a double-edged sword, though. The new system makes it easier for legitimate beta testers to access the latest software, but it also effectively blocks out those who previously traded in underground profiles for developer betas. That’s essentially a non-issue for public beta testers since that program is free anyway, but officially getting your hands on a developer beta requires you to be a member of Apple’s $99/year developer program.

However, Apple hasn’t effectively policed this in years. While only registered developers can download the profiles required to access and install developer betas from Apple’s website, these are small files that can easily be shared with other non-developers. This commonly happens when a major new iOS release gets previewed since many early adopters want to try out the new features right away rather than waiting a month or so before a public beta arrives.

Instead, Apple will soon ditch these profiles entirely and check your Apple ID against its database to determine if you’ve signed up for the appropriate beta program. If your Apple ID is on the list, you get the beta; otherwise, you’ll have to wait outside.

While the requirement for a beta-registered Apple ID continues into the third iOS 16.4 beta, Apple has refined this feature slightly to allow folks to choose a separate Apple ID for accessing beta software updates. That should help those who prefer to keep their developer accounts separate from the Apple ID they use for everyday purposes.

We seem to be in a transition period for now before Apple starts locking down beta updates. Developer and public beta profiles still work for downloading iOS 16.4 betas, but we’re betting that will change by the time iOS 17 is announced in June.

What Else is Coming in iOS 16.4?

iOS 16.4 new Emoji 15.d1a7ce09bce349d99ca1034c19ad43f2.jpg

There’s not much else new in the third beta, which is likely just polishing things up as we near the public release. Overall, iOS 16.4 is expected to include several notable enhancements:

  1. iOS 16.4 will pack in the latest Emoji 15.0 collection, including emojis for donkeys, geese, moose, jellyfish, ginger roots, maracas, and more.
  2. The page-turn animation returns to Apple Books, offering users an alternative to the more pedestrian sliding animation adopted in iOS 16. Animations can also now be turned off entirely.
  3. More hints of Apple Music Classical continue to appear with each new beta. Most recently, references to it have been found in the privacy policy. This suggests it could launch with iOS 16.4, which would make for some interesting symmetry considering that Apple Music launched in iOS 8.4.
  4. There’s evidence that Apple Pay Later will launch alongside iOS 16.4.
  5. The new HomeKit architecture is returning after being tried out during the iOS 16.2 beta cycle but cut before the final release. This promises to make HomeKit faster and more reliable, particularly in larger homes with lots of accessories.
  6. Web Push Notifications will bring push notifications from supported websites to your iPhone. This will work the same way it has on the Mac for a while, and of course, it will be completely opt-in.
  7. The Apple Card Savings Account could also launch in iOS 16.4.
  8. New Shortcut updates and Focus Filters will offer more control over the always-on display on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, allowing you to turn the display off completely when in specific focus modes. You’ll also be able to check how much power the always-on display has been using under the battery settings.

Apple hasn’t provided any insights into when we can expect a public release of iOS 16.4 to land, but with the beta releases getting closer together, it seems likely it will appear before the end of the month.

Social Sharing