Apple on Wednesday seeded a new beta version of iOS — but it wasn’t for iOS 11. Instead, the company has released the sixth beta of iOS 10.3.3 to public beta testers and registered Apple developers, just about a week after releasing the previous beta version of the software.
iOS 10.3.3 is itself a minor update that introduces bug fixes, security improvements and other under-the-hood enhancements. No notable outward-facing changes or major bug fixes have been discovered in the first five beta versions of iOS 10.3.3 (with one exception), so it’s likely beta 6 is similarly an incremental update. Today’s release is a little over a month after the final rollout of iOS 10.3.2, another incremental update that managed to squash around 23 bugs. And it’s about a month after Apple’s latest and greatest, iOS 11, was unveiled on June 5 at WWDC ’17.
As far as why there have been so many beta updates for iOS 10.3.3, Apple is likely working to get the OS to be as close to perfect as possible. The company is presumably shifting its focus to developing iOS 11 — which is also being beta tested — so iOS 10.3.3 stands to be the last update to iOS 10. Essentially, this means that iOS 10.3.3 will be the last update that older 32-bit iPhones and iPads will be able to run, since iOS 11 nixes support for any device that doesn’t pack a 64-bit chip. With these older devices, like the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c, about to be left behind, it makes sense that Apple is polishing the last update they can download as much as it can.
iOS 10.3.3 beta 6 is currently available as an over-the-air update for both public beta testers and registered Apple developers, provided that the proper configuration profile is installed. It’s also available via the registered developer or public beta tester portals. Currently, there’s no word as to when the final iOS 10.3.3 release will be available to the general public.