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iOS 16.3 is coming next week with these features and fixes

If you’re outside the United States and have been anxious to turn on Advanced Data Protection, your wait is almost over. The expanded encryption feature will spread to the rest of the world with iOS 16.3, which will most likely arrive next week after Apple pushed the release candidate to beta testers today.t

iOS 16.3 isn’t a huge release but it does bring a few notable features. In conjunction with watchOS 9.3, it will add the new Unity watch face in celebration of Black History Month, when Apple highlights curated content in many of its services. There are a few other interesting new features, such as support for the new 2nd-generation HomePod, which is coming February 3, and a few new HomePod features for all users, such as remastered ambient sounds, a new Siri confirmation sound, and new audio tuning for spoken word content like podcasts.

It will also bring two anticipated fixes. One will repair whatever causing horizontal lines to appear when some iPhone 14 devices restart, and it should restore the Home app upgrade that was pulled in December. According to the release notes, several other smaller features and fixes are also part of the update:

  • New Unity wallpaper honors Black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month
  • Security Keys for Apple ID allow users to strengthen the security of their account by requiring a physical security key as part of the two factor authentication sign in process on new devices
  • Emergency SOS calls now require holding the side button with the up or down volume button and then releasing in order to prevent inadvertent emergency calls
  • Fixes an issue in Freeform where some drawing strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger may not appear on shared boards
  • Addresses an issue where the wallpaper may appear black on the Lock Screen
  • Fixes an issue where the Home Lock Screen widget does not accurately display Home app status
  • Addresses an issue where Siri may not respond properly to music requests
  • Resolves issues where Siri requests in CarPlay may not be understood correctly

The release candidate for iOS 16.3 was released to beta testers on January 18. Wide releases typically come around 10 am PT on a Tuesday or Wednesday, so look for the final release to become available on January 24 or 25.