Apple seeded a second beta of iOS 14.2 to everyone on Wednesday, along with the iPad equivalent. It brings plenty of fun new emoji like ninja, the transgender symbol and a certain Italian hand gesture. And beta testers get Shazam music recognition integrated into the Control Center.
But anyone hoping to get an iPhone 12 in October might want to skip this beta.
Shazam integrated into iOS 14.2
The highlight of the original beta of iOS 14.2 is Shazam integration. Apple built this music-recognition service into the Control Center so it’s available at any time. Even if the Shazam application isn’t installed on the handset. Just tap on an icon in the Control Center to have a song recognized, either playing on the device or just nearby.
iPadOS 14.2 testers were left out the first time. But that changes with beta 2, as music recognition is now available for iPad too.
Plenty o’ new emoji
For iPhone users, the big change in Wednesday’s iOS 14.2 beta 2 is dozens of new emoji. There’s no rhyme or reason to which new of these are added each year, so there’s no overall theme in the upcoming additions. There’s a people hugging emoji, and ones of parents bottle feeding a baby. There are new bride and groom options.
On the animal front, there’s black cat, bison, mammoth, beaver, polar bear, dodo, feather, seal, beetle, cockroach, fly and worm. New food options include blueberries, olive, bell pepper, flatbread, tamale, fondue, teapot and bubble tea.
But there’s also a lot of random objects. Like ninja, boomerang, toilet plunger, magic wand, ladder, toothbrush… the list goes on.
iOS 14.2 is coming… when?
The roster of 117 new emoji for 2020 was announced back in January by the Unicode Consortium. But the life of an emoji is surprisingly complicated, so it’s taking many months for these to get built into iOS and iPadOS.
And it’s not clear when the wait will be over. Apple released iOS 14 earlier this month, but the new emoji weren‘t in it. Neither were they in the initial beta of iOS 14.2.
Readers paying attention will have noticed Apple skipped a version. It’s possible the new 2020 emoji will be in iOS 14.1, but that version isn’t part of Apple’s testing program for developers. It’s widely assumed it’ll debut on the iPhone 12 in October.
But when iOS 14.2 will follow it is anyone’s guess. The same goes for when the new emoji will be available.
The same is true for iPadOS 14.2. It also has the new emoji, but so might iPadOS 14.1. We don’t know because that version isn‘t in beta testing. It’s likely to launch on the iPad Air 4.
A warning for iOS 14.2 beta testers
Tests by Cult of Mac show that beta testers shouldn’t start using the new emoji just yet. If they’re set to people who aren‘t also running iOS 14.2 or iPadOS 14.2, the receipient sees only a box with a question mark in it.
This happens because when an emoji is sent to another person, an actual image isn’t transmitted. All that goes is a unicode. If the receiving device doesn’t know what that unicode means, it doesn’t know what to do with it. And computers running iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 don’t yet know when any of the new unicodes for the 2020 emoji.
Get the latest betas now
Anyone wanting to update their iPhone or iPad with the latest pre-release operating system need only join the free Apple Beta Software Program. Just consider, these betas are a work in progress and undoubtedly contain bugs. (You’ve been warned.)
They are also likely to cause problems for people who intend to buy an iPhone 12 as soon as it’s released.
Update: This article was first published just after developers were seeded iOS 14.2 beta 2. It’s been updated following the release of the public beta.