iOS 12.2 nears release with fourth beta [Updated]

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New mages could be of the rumored iPad mini 5.
The debut of the iPad mini 5 could depend on iOS 12.2, and both are expected in the near future.
Photo: Mr-white

Update: Hours after becoming available only to developers, iOS 12.2 beta 4 was released to anyone in the general public who’s joined the free Apple Beta Software Program.

Apple has settled into a steady pattern of introducing new iOS 12.2 betas every two weeks. It’s been 14 days since the last pre-release version went to developers, and you can guess what that means.

This version is expected to power three new devices launching later this month. It will also bring additional Animoji and other improvements.

Ushering in new hardware 

iOS 12.2 isn’t a simple  “bug fix” tweak. Part of the reason it was created was to usher in new hardware. Buried in its code are clear references to two upcoming iPad models and a return of the iPod touch.

There are also changes that seem intended for the next generation AirPods, including support for “Hey Siri.”

What else is new in iOS 12.2 

Everything in the upcoming version isn’t for new devices. There are four new Animoji being added.

In addition, the first three iOS 12.2 betas include quite a few changes to Apple News, which is redubbed  News. This is part of a news subscription service expected to be introduced later this month.

There are tweaks to the Settings app, and support for AirPlay 2 with third-party TVs has also been added.

No beta for you!

Along with the iOS 12.2 developer beta 4, Apple released the fourth beta versions of watchOS 5.2, tvOS 12.2, and macOS 10.14.4. These are all available only to developers.

Registered developers can grab the four new betas directly from Apple’s online developer portal. This requires paying a $100 annual fee. Public betas of most of these are expected within a day or so.

Apple is rumored to be planning a big press event for March 25 where new hardware and services will be unveiled. As many of these will apparently require iOS 12.2, the debut of this version can’t be far away.