With iOS 16 likely just a month away from release, Apple is picking up the tempo of beta releases of the operating system. Apple seeded iOS 16 beta 6 Monday, a mere seven days after the fifth beta. Along with that increase in release speed, the latest beta packs only minor changes.
As iOS 16 nears its stable launch, we are going to see Apple focus more on squashing bugs and improving the overall stability instead of adding new features or tweaking things around.
iOS 16 beta 6: What’s new and changed
Battery percentage tweaks
Apple reintroduced the battery percentage icon to the status bar on select notched iPhones in iOS 16 beta 5. The implementation was weird, as enabling low-power mode would automatically show the remaining battery percentage whether you wanted it or not. That’s no longer the case in iOS 16 beta 6. You can have low-power mode enabled and disable the battery percent from showing up.
Some device users didn’t get the change they hoped for. The Phone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini still can’t show the battery percentage in the status bar.
Fitness app gets a spot on the Home screen
The default iOS 16 Home screen layout has been updated in the latest beta and gives the Fitness app a dedicated spot. Starting with iOS 16, Apple is making the Fitness app available to all iPhone users — you won’t need to own an Apple Watch to use it.
iOS 16 beta 5: What’s new and changed
Previously, the fifth iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 betas brought changes both big and small to Apple’s upcoming mobile operating systems. Those included the long-awaited return of the iPhone battery percentage to the status bar.
iOS 16 beta 5 comes less than two weeks after Apple released iOS 16 beta 4. Cupertino continues to tweak and introduce new features to its upcoming iOS and iPadOS releases. The version for iPhone should see a public release in September, but the iPad one reportedly won’t come until October.
If you have not already, consider installing the latest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 betas on your iPhone and/or iPad. In our experience, they are stable enough for daily use now.
Battery percentage in the status bar
The biggest highlight of iOS 16 beta 5 is the ability to show the battery percentage in the status bar of notched iPhones. Currently, the feature is available on the iPhone 13, iPhone 12, iPhone X and XS series. For some strange reason, the iPhone 11 lineup and both the iPhone mini models are missing from this list, but this could change in a future beta release.
Even if you don’t enable the battery percentage, it would be automatically enabled when your iPhone enters low-power mode.
New alert sound for Find My
When you use your Apple Watch to ping your iPhone, you will hear a new alert tone. Apple uses the same tone in iOS 16’s Find My app.
New in iOS 16 beta 5: new sound when pinging your iPhone from Watch. (Watch has latest beta also) pic.twitter.com/y6Qzf9DZXc
— Michael Billig (@michael_billig) August 8, 2022
Apple renamed the Emergency SOS feature “Emergency Call” in iOS 16 beta 5.
‘Copy and Delete’ screenshots
You no longer need to save screenshots in iOS 16 beta 5. There’s a new “Copy and Delete” option, so you can share a screenshot without saving it on your phone. After editing a screenshot, the option shows up when you press the “Done” button.
New "Copy and Delete" option after hitting the Done button on a screenshot. pic.twitter.com/deadDgH4x2
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) August 8, 2022
Lock screen audio visualizer
An audio visualizer will appear in iOS 16’s lock screen Music player widget. This is a live visualizer whose effect will depend on the music that’s currently playing.
Beta 5 adds a mini visualiser to the Lock Screen Now Playing UI. Unlike the actual Music app which uses canned visualiser animations as indicators, this one is live and responds to the currently playing frequencies. pic.twitter.com/TQqmKgnJpK
— Benjamin Mayo (@bzamayo) August 8, 2022
The fast forward and rewind buttons have gained new animations as well.
No more Perspective Zoom
Strangely, Apple removed the Perspective Zoom option from iOS 16’s lock screen in the fifth beta. It could be an unintentional change, as the feature has been present on iPhones since iOS 7.
Music app enhancements
The Music app in iOS 16 beta 5 displays the Dolby Atmos and Hi-Res Lossless labels alongside the genre and release date when applicable.
iOS 16 beta 4: What’s new and changed
Apple seeded iOS 16 beta 4 almost three weeks after the third beta’s release. This was among the longest time the company has taken to drop a new beta release in at least a decade. On the bright side, the wait seems to be worth it as the latest iOS 16 beta packs several changes and improvements.
And iPadOS beta 4 is significantly less buggy than its predecessors.
Tweaks to Edit and unsend messages in iMessage
iOS 16 beta 4 reduces the time limit to unsend an iMessage to two minutes after it is delivered. On previous betas, Apple allowed you to unsend a message within 15 minutes of sending it.
There are changes to editing sent messages as well. You can now edit them a maximum of five times, after which the option is no longer available.
An “Edited” label will also show up below such messages. Tapping on it will reveal the original message and any previous edits.
Some interesting changes to iMessage in iOS 16 beta 4:
– You can now unsend a message for up to 2 minutes after sending it
– You can still edit for up to 15 minutes
– You can make up to 5 edits to a message
– Recipients can see a log of all edits to a message pic.twitter.com/pHIDS7TAvh
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) July 27, 2022
Longer duration for Undo Send in Mail
In the first three iOS 16 betas, you could Undo Send an email in the Mail app within 10 seconds of hitting the Send button. With the latest beta, Apple has further expanded this time limit with 20- and 30-second options.
New CarPlay and Home app wallpapers
iOS 16 beta 4 introduces several new CarPlay and Home app wallpapers. There are light and dark versions of all the new wallpapers.
Live Activities API
With Live Activities in iOS 16, Apple wants to ensure that you get real-time updates from your iPhone’s Lock Screen. iOS 16 beta 4 marks the debut of the Live Activities API that developers can take advantage of and start integrating the feature into their apps.
New layout for notification options
The notification options menu in iOS 16 beta 4 has a new layout highlighting the differences between the three notification layouts.
Change Focus mode from Lock Screen
iOS 16 beta 4 reinstates the option to change the Focus mode from the Lock Screen by tapping on the Focus icon.
Revamped Lock Screen customization interface
Apple has revamped the Lock Screen customization interface in iOS 16 beta 4. All the options are now located at the bottom of the page. There are other minor tweaks as well. When you enter the customization mode, you will see an “Add Widgets” option below the clock. Previously, Apple only displayed a “+” icon.
Lock Screen media player and Music app design tweaks
The Lock Screen media player widget has again been tweaked in iOS 16 beta 4. It now uses bolder elements to stand out visually.
And, in the Music app, scrubbing through a song will automatically bold the timestamp. The volume slider will also gradually increase in size as you increase the volume.
Apart from the above changes, Apple has also posted an exhaustive list of bugs that it has squashed in the latest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 beta.
Apple is continuing with the iOS 16 beta releases as it prepares the OS for its public launch later this fall. With iOS 16 beta 3 now available, here is a look at all the new changes and improvements it incorporates.
And for iPad users, the more important iPadOS 16 beta 3 changes are also included.
Plus, if you missed the changes in beta 2, they are archived below.
iOS 16 beta 3: What’s new and changed
Exactly two weeks after the release of iOS 16 beta 2 comes the debut of beta 3. It brings new features to iPhone, not just bug fixes.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
iCloud Shared Photo Library in iOS 16 will make sharing photos and videos easier with friends and family. You can create a Shared Library and then invite up to five people to them to automatically share photos.
Your iCloud photo library will be different from the shared library. And you won’t necessarily have to share every photo in your library. You can manually select the photos or specify the person whose images you want to be automatically shared.
This feature is now available in iOS 16 beta 3. The person with whom you want to share the library must also be a beta tested to view your pics.
Apple is debuting a new Lockdown Mode in iOS 16, iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura to protect people who face “highly targeted cyberattacks from private companies developing state-sponsored mercenary spyware.”
Incoming FaceTime calls, Message attachments, configuration profiles and additional OS features are disabled in this mode.
Apple has developed Lockdown Mode in response to NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. It will help protect journalists, politicians and activists who face such attacks frequently.
You can enable Lockdown Mode on your iPhone running iOS 16 beta 3 by going to Settings > Privacy & Security > Lockdown Mode.
Improved Lock Screen Calendar widget
OS 16 beta 3’s Lock Screen Calendar widget blurs the event details for privacy reasons as long as your iPhone is locked. The event details are only displayed when you unlock the phone.
This is clearly Apple getting ready for the always-on screen widely expected to be a highlight of the iPhone 14 Pro.
Clownfish wallpaper makes a comeback
When Apple demoed the original iPhone in 2007, it showed off a clownfish wallpaper on the Lock Screen. The company is again reintroducing the wallpaper in iOS 16 beta 3. However, it is not showing up for everyone running the latest beta.
THEY BROUGHT BACK THE FISH IN IOS 16 BETA 3 pic.twitter.com/6mPZti3GlW
— Ian Zelbo (@ianzelbo) July 6, 2022
The wallpaper was never a part of the final release of the original iPhone. So, it is possible that Apple could pull a similar move this time as well.
New Lock Screen Time font
Apple has added another new font for Lock Screen customization in iOS 16 beta 3. It is the same classic font that the company used on iOS 15’s Lock Screen.
Updated Battery widget
The improved battery widget in iOS 16 beta 3 shows the charging status of your device, AirPods and Apple Watch.
Tweaked Wallpaper UI
The Wallpaper UI has been again tweaked in iOS 16 beta 3. It now hides the app icons so that you can view the Home Screen wallpaper better.
It hides the app icons to show you the Home Screen wallpaper better pic.twitter.com/FbfyjIb5LE
— Brandon Butch (@BrandonButch) July 6, 2022
If you use an Apple Watch with your iPhone, you can now check your AFib history in the Health app. Your watch must also be running watchOS 9 beta 3 for the feature to show up.
For now, the feature is only available in the United States but could expand to other countries.
New Siri activation sound
There’s a new Siri activation sound in iOS 16 beta 3 which sounds a lot gentler.
Updated Siri activation sound pic.twitter.com/kpFJtyaK44
— Nico (@iNico10010) July 7, 2022
9to5Mac reports internal code in iOS 16 beta 3 points to Safari gaining support for virtual cards in the future. Some banks allow you to hide your original credit card details by generating virtual card numbers.
Safari Autofill will support entering the virtual card details to keep your original card details safe.
New iCloud+ splash screen
If you open the iCloud+ section in iOS 16 beta 3, you will see a new upgrade splash screen highlighting the different plans and their benefits.
iPadOS 16 beta 3: Stage Manager improvements
Stage Manager has received some improvements in iPadOS 16 beta 3. The multitasking menu now has labeled options for easy understanding.
If you enable Stage Manager for the time first, you need to go through a tutorial to fully understand how the feature works. A similar guide shows up when you connect your iPad to an external display the first time.
There’s also a new window picker for apps that have multiple windows open. The left tray in Stage Manager now shows such apps.
New window picker in iPadOS 16 beta 3 for apps that have multiple windows open. Multiple windows are now shown in the Stage Manager left tray. pic.twitter.com/GmQ2iF6FUu
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) July 6, 2022
iPadOS 16 beta 3: New keyboard shortcut to close app windows
The new iPadOS 16 beta includes a new keyboard shortcut—⌘W—to close your app windows. This same shortcut is already a part of macOS.
iOS 16 beta 2: The new improvements and changes
Apple seeded the first developer beta of iOS 16 right after the opening keynote of WWDC22. Then, 17 days later, it dropped the second beta. Apple will regularly drop new beta releases with plenty of new features, changes and bug fixes. This cycle will continue until the iOS 16 public release later this fall. (Many of these features show up in the iPadOS 16 betas as well.)
Here are the new features Apple added in iOS 16 beta 2.
Save Screenshots to Quick Note
iOS 16 beta 2 includes an Add to New Quick Note option when saving a screenshot. This is apart from the existing option of saving the screenshot to Photos and Files.
The Quick Note feature already works on Mac and iPad, giving users a quick and easy way to start a new note without opening the Notes app. iOS 16 will bring it to iPhone for the first time, giving you a place to jot down something so you can remember it later.
Back up your iPhone over LTE
iOS 16 beta 2 adds the ability to back up your iPhone to iCloud over an LTE connection. (iOS 15 only allows for mobile data backups over a 5G connection. Otherwise, you must connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi network and a power source to trigger iCloud backups.)
This can come in handy if you have an unlimited data plan.
Astronomy Wallpaper shows your location
Apple updated the Astronomy wallpaper in iOS 16 beta 2 to show your location on the map with a bright green dot. (This change might not survive to future betas because many people find the dot obtrusive.)
Additionally, the Astronomy wallpaper and the other new dynamic wallpapers in iOS 16 are now also available on older devices.
Easily delete a Lock Screen
When switching between iPhone Lock Screens, you can remove one you don’t need by swiping up on it and tapping the trash icon. This will make managing multiple Lock Screens a lot easier.
Enhanced system video player
iOS 16 beta 2 updates the built-in system video player. You can now long-press and scrub to move quickly through a video. It replaces the previous option of pressing on-screen buttons to skip around on a video in 10-second increments.
Better SMS filtering
iOS 16 beta 2 introduces 12 additional subcategories for SMS filtering. This will allow developers to better categorize the messages in your inbox and keep it free of clutter.
Additionally, dual-SIM iPhone users can filter messages based on the number they were sent to once iOS 16 drops.
New Wallpaper picker UI
Apple made the iPhone wallpaper picker user interface slicker in iOS 16 beta 2.
Report Junk messages
The latest beta adds an option to directly report junk messages to carriers from within the Messages app. Only selected U.S. carriers will support this feature, however.
Turn off a Live Photo
You can turn off a Live Photo in iOS 16 beta 2. Tap the Live drop-down menu when you have a Live Photo open in the Photos app and select the Off option.
Pause Continuity Camera
iOS 16 beta 2 adds a Pause option to Continuity Camera, the new feature that lets Mac owners use an iPhone’s superior camera as a webcam for better video calls. The pause option will allow you to temporarily stop the camera feed from your iPhone when on a call.
Apple Pay now works in third-party browsers
As spotted on Reddit, iOS 16 beta 2 will allow you to use Apple Pay in third-party browsers like Chrome and Firefox. On iOS 15, you could only use Apple Pay for payments using Safari.
iOS 13 public beta in July
Apple promised to start the iOS 16 public beta program in July. With the beta 3 out, the public beta program could start anytime now. Here’s a post on how to join the Apple Beta Software Program — it’s free and fun, if you can handle the bugs you’ll likely encounter.
If you cannot wait until then, follow our guide on how to install the iOS 16 developer beta. That’s the fastest way to try out new features, but you will need to pay $99 to join Apple’s developer program to gain access if you’re not already a member.
Ed Hardy contributed to this report. We originally published this post on June 27, 2022. We will continue to update it as new betas drop.