New iPhone security features are almost here

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New iPhone security features are almost here in iOS 15.2
Devs can start testing iOS 15.2. The full release is expected by mid-December.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded the iOS 15.2 release candidate to developers on Tuesday, along with the iPad equivalent. When released to the public, iPhones will alert parents if their children send or receive nudes, there’s a new App Privacy Report, and users will be able to look for AirTags that might be tracking them.

The macOS 12.1 RC and watchOS 8.3 RC also went to devs on Tuesday.

What’s new in iOS 15.2

Release candidates are the last step in beta testing. They’re what Apple used to call golden masters, and give beta testers an opportunity to test the final version of operating systems before they’re introduced to the general public. But sometimes nasty bugs turn up in release candidates. If so, there’ll be RC2 in a few days.

Still, this gives the world a first look at the iOS 15.2 release notes. These state:

“iOS 15.2 adds Apple Music Voice Plan, a new subscription tier that provides access to music using Siri. This update also includes the App Privacy Report, new safety features for children and parents in Messages, and other features and bug fixes for your iPhone.”

The Apple Music Voice Plan announced in October makes the streaming audio service more affordable for those who agree not to use buttons.

The App Privacy Report shows iPhone and iPad users what third-party application are doing. It’ll reveal each app’s sensor, data and internet usage in a simple chart.

With iOS 15.2 and iPadOS 15.2, iPhones and iPads will be able to detect if a user gets or sends a text with sexually explicit photos. The goal is to protect children from sexual predators.

Candidates, not final versions

The iOS 15.2, iPadOS 15.2, macOS12.1 and watchOS 8.3 release candidates are currently only for registered and paying members of the Apple Developer Program. But public versions should be out soon.

The full release could come by mid-December, about a week after the RCs.