With the full release of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 in the rearview mirror, Apple has moved on to testing the next release. With iOS and iPadOS 16.2, we can expect the new Freeform app along with continual improvements to Stage Manger on the iPad (like the return of external display support), along with other minor tweaks and fixes. We’re still waiting on SharePlay gaming support and the Satellite Emergency SOS feature on the latest iPhones, too.
Update 12/07/22: The release candidate of iOS 16.2 is now available to developers and public beta testers. If no major issues are found, this is the version that will be released to everyone next week.
What’s new in iOS 16.2?
Here’s what we know is new in the latest iOS 16.2 beta. We’ll update this section as new features and changes are discovered.
Apple Music Sing: A new Karaoke experience built into Apple Music. Read more about Apple Music Sing.
10-minute AirDrop limit: iOS 16.2 limits the “everyone” setting for AirDrop permissions to 10 minutes at a time. This change was first made in China and is now rolling out to the rest of the world.
Older notifications visible by default: In iOS 16.2 beta 4, Apple changed the way Notification Center displays notifications. You used to have to swipe up to see older notifications, now they are shown by default.
Always-on display options: For iPhone 14 Pro models there are two new toggles in Settings > Display & Brightness > Always On Display. One lets you disable the wallpaper when the always-on display is active, the other disables notifications.
Sleep and medication widgets: The second beta added new lock screen widgets for sleep data and medications tracking from the Health app.
Freeform app: The latest betas of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 add the new digital whiteboarding app Freeform, first unveiled at WWDC this fall. Freeform is a productivity app for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac that lets you collaborate with friends, family, and coworkers on a digital whiteboard sharing sketches, notes, files, web links, documents, photos, video, and audio.
New Home architecture: iOS 16.2 users have the opportunity to update their Home to a new architecture, which Apple promises is faster and more reliable. All Home hub devices like HomePod and Apple TV must be upgraded to 16.2 as well.
More frequent Live Activities updates: While not yet active in the beta, 9to5Mac has seen code that suggests that Apple will give users the option to update Live Activities more frequently, at the cost of a bit of battery life.
iOS 16.2 release notes
Apple’s official release notes for iOS 16.2 are as follows:
– Freeform is a new app for working creatively with friends or colleagues on Mac, iPad and iPhone
– A flexible canvas lets you add files, images, stickies, and more
Drawing tools let you sketch anywhere on the canvas with your finger
Apple Music Sing
– A new way to sing along with millions of your favorite songs in Apple Music
– Fully adjustable vocals let you duet with the original artist, sing solo, or mix it up
– Newly enhanced beat-by-beat lyrics make it even easier to follow along with the music
Advanced Data Protection for iCloud
New option expands the total number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption to 23 — including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos — protecting your information even in the case of a data breach in the cloud
– New settings allow you to hide wallpaper or notifications when Always-On display is enabled on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
– Sleep widget lets you view your most recent sleep data
– Medications widget lets you view reminders and quickly access your schedule
– SharePlay support in Game Center for multiplayer games so you can play with the people you are on a FaceTime call with
– Activity Widget allows you to see what your friends are playing and achieving in games right from your Home Screen
– Live Activities for Apple TV app let you follow your favorite teams with live scores right on your Lock Screen or in Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
– Improved reliability and efficiency of communication between your smart home accessories and Apple devices
This update also includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
– Improved search in Messages allows you to find photos based on their content, like a dog, car, person, or text
– Turn Off Hide IP Address setting enables iCloud Private Relay users to temporarily disable the service for a specific site in Safari
– News articles in Weather display information relevant to the weather in that location
– Participant Cursors in Notes allow you to see live indicators as others make updates in a shared note
– AirDrop now automatically reverts to Contacts Only after 10 minutes to prevent unwanted requests to receive content
– Crash Detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models
– Fixes an issue that causes some notes not to sync with iCloud after updates are made
Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:
What’s new in iPadOS 16.2?
Unless otherwise noted, iPadOS 16.2 will have the same new features as iOS 16.2 where applicable, in addition to the features listed below.
Stage Manager external display support: Pulled before the initial iPadOS 16.1 release, external display support is back in iPadOS 16.2 for iPads that have the M1 or M2 chip. It allows iPad users to hook their tablet up to a secondary display with resolutions up to 6K using Stage Manager.
When will iOS 16.2 be released?
We expect iOS 16.2 will likely be released on December 13 or 14.
How to install the iOS 16.2 Public beta
This is the version of iOS 16.2 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 16.2 Developer beta
Each stage of iOS 16.2’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 16.2 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.
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.
The closer we get to the final launch of iOS 16.2, the more polished and feature-complete we can expect the available betas to become. The counter to that, of course, is there will be less time left to wait for the official launch, so you won’t be gaining as much by installing a beta.
Assuming you decide to go ahead, 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. You won’t lose everything if something goes wrong while the beta is installing, and you’ll be able to go back to the last version should you find that you don’t like the new software after all, or that it’s too buggy.