Apple has pushed the second developer beta release of iOS 16 to eligible devices precisely two weeks after the software was first previewed, and it comes with a few new features for the iPhone. iOS 16 is the next iteration of the company’s mobile operating system that is set to be released to the public in the fall. It brings a slew of new features to the iPhone, like customizable Lock Screens, editable iMessages, and a new Apple Maps user interface. Currently, iOS 16 is in the developer beta release stage, which means only devices enrolled with a verified Apple developer beta profile will receive the over-the-air updates. However, many of the changes made in these beta stages will make their way to the final public release later this year.
Even though a user must be enrolled in the developer beta program, that doesn’t necessarily mean a user has to be an actual developer. Just about anyone can officially enroll in the developer beta program without any training or experience. There is a $99 fee to utilize all of the features afforded to developers in the program, but aside from that surcharge, anyone with an Apple ID can join the developer beta program. Using developer beta profiles that have been uploaded to third-party websites online, it’s even possible to download the developer beta without owning a developer account. Because developer betas are typically unstable periods of software development, users who prematurely download iOS versions risk bricking their device and losing data.
Not much has changed between the first and second beta versions of iOS 16 aside from bug fixes and new additions of developer tools. One surprising feature addition, though, is the ability to back up an iPhone over cellular data. Previously, the option to backup an iPhone using cellular data was available in iOS but was a feature that needed to be provided by a network carrier. It seems as if the iOS 16 beta now lets all users back up their iPhone over cellular data, per the version’s release notes. After the change, users can now back up their device over WiFi, 5G, or LTE networks. It’s a great feature that allows users to back up their iPhone in a pinch, even when there might not be a WiFi network around.
Apple & Carriers Are Fighting Spam Texts
A few new iMessage features — some based on region — might make it easier to fight the increase in spam messages in recent years. Developers can now classify SMS messages in up to 12 different categories to sort out spam within the ‘Transaction’ and ‘Promotion’ categories. Additionally, dual-SIM iPhones can now sort out incoming Messages based on the SIM card they were sent to, improving organization. For U.S. users, the ‘Report Junk’ feature — which allows users to report spam messages as junk — has been expanded. This information is now forwarded to carriers, which might thwart spam texts before they reach users. Some carriers have identified callers as spam and inform recipients in the Caller ID that a caller is either a telemarketer or spam. It’s possible a similar implementation might come to iMessage with the latest feature.
Some more minor changes in the second version of the iOS 16 developer beta include additions to HealthKit, the API that allows apps to collect and interpret fitness data from the iPhone and Apple Watch. After the update, apps can now collect and display the new fitness metrics added to the Apple Watch in the beta version of watchOS 9. Additionally, Apple says that more game controllers and input devices are supported over Bluetooth with the latest update but didn’t provide any specific devices that are supported. iOS 16 will likely see at least one more developer beta release before a public beta is made available next month. After that, it will be available to all compatible devices in the fall.