On December 13, Apple released iOS 16.2, its most significant iOS 16 update yet. On December 14, the first developer beta of iOS 16.3 was released. There’s no rest for the weary, as they say.
With iOS 16.3, you’ll be able to use physical security keys with your Apple ID, Advanced Data Protection will be available worldwide, and you get support for the new 2nd-generation HomePod, along some other bug fixes and security enhancements.
Update 01/18/23: The release candidate of iOS 16.3 has been released to beta testers. The wide release should happen next week, likely on January 24 or 25.
iOS 16.3: New features
Every iOS release has some bug fixes and security updates, but these are the most significant new features added in iOS 16.3.
Advanced Data Protection goes worldwide: Originally released only for U.S. users, Advanced Data Protection is said to be available for all users worldwide in iOS 16.3, even though the release notes do not mention it.
Physical security keys for Apple ID: You can now secure your Apple ID with FIDO-certified physical key. Read more about Apple’s recent security improvements.
Support for HomePod (2nd gen): This release adds support for the just-announced 2nd-generation HomePod.
Black Unity collection: In celebration of Black History Month (February), Apple has a new Apple Watch face and a host of curated content throughout its services.
iOS 16.3: Release date
The first beta was released on December 14, and the release candidate went out to beta testers on January 18. We expect a wide release on January 24 or 25.
iOS 16.3: Release notes
The official release notes are as follows.
– 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
– Support for HomePod (2nd generation)
– 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 horizontal lines may temporarily appear while waking up iPhone 14 Pro Max
– 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
iOS 16.3: How to install the public beta
This is the version of iOS 16.3 that most of us will be running ahead of launch, since the developer beta is, as the name suggests, for registered developers only.
When the public beta of iOS 16 does come out, you’ll be able to install it using the following instructions.
- Click Sign Up on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.
- Log in to the Beta Software Program.
- Click Enroll your iOS device. (If you signed up for a previous version’s beta last year you may need to uninstall the profile for that and then re-enroll for the new one.)
- Go to beta.apple.com/profile on your iOS device.
- Download and install the configuration profile.
- You may need to jump over to Settings to enable the profile. Go to General > VPN and Device Management and tap on the iOS 16 beta profile there.
- That will make the beta version available in the Settings app, under General > Software Update.
How to install the iOS 16.3 Developer beta
Each stage of iOS 16.3’s development cycle will be rolled out to developers first, and then to public beta testers afterwards (typically within a day or so). If you’re a developer and need to test your apps against the most up-to-date version of the OS possible, this is the version to run.
First, check that your device is compatible. Have a quick read of which iPhones and iPads can get iOS 16?
You’ll need to be registered as an Apple developer. Joining the Apple Developer Program costs $99 a year.
All set? Okay! Here’s how to install the iOS 16.3 developer beta, in eight easy steps:
- In Safari on your iPhone or iPad, go to developer.apple.com and log in using your Apple ID.
- Go to the Downloads section (you’ll find it in the lefthand menu), scroll down to iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 beta and tap Install Profile, then Accept.
- Open the Settings app. You should see Profile Downloaded at the top of the main screen—tap this. If you can’t see it, go to General > VPN and Device Management and tap on the iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 beta profile there.
- Tap Install in the top-right to install the iOS or iPadOS 16 beta profile.
- Read the developer consent form and (assuming you’re happy with the terms) give your consent.
- Restart your iPhone.
- Now go to Settings > General > Software Update, where you should see the iOS or iPadOS 16 beta is available. Tap Download and Install.
- Wait for your iPhone to finish downloading the update, then tap Install when prompted.
And if everything has worked the way it should, your iPhone will now be running the iOS 16 beta.
iOS 16.3: Risks and precautions
Note first of all that betas are test versions of upcoming software. They are by definition unfinished, and while they should include most or all of the features in the finished product, there will be cosmetic differences and, inevitably, some bugs and other issues that will need to be fixed during the development process.
In other words, don’t expect a perfect user experience. In particular, some existing apps (including ones that you may rely on) might not work perfectly with the new version. In extreme cases, you may even find that your device is bricked by the beta, and cannot be used until the next beta comes along. It’s not uncommon for early beta software to exhibit problems like excessive battery drain as well.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to back up your iPhone before you install a beta on your device, or better still, use a secondary device rather than your main iPhone or iPad.