Apple seeded the release candidates for iOS 16.4 and macOS Ventura 13.3 to developers on Tuesday, signaling that beta testing for these upcoming operating systems is almost over. The same is true for the release candidates for iPadOS 16.4, watchOS 9.4 and tvOS 16.4.
These will usher in new emoji, a better way for devs to work with betas, and other changes.
iOS 16.4 and macOS 13.3 offer multiple small changes
Beta testing for Apple’s new operating systems began in mid February, and continued through multiple rounds.
But the process is almost done, now that Apple has begun seeding the release candidates. RCs are 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 average users.
An advantage of RCs is that they give us a sneak peek at the release notes revealing what features Apple thinks are most important. The one for iOS 16.4 says, “This update introduces 21 new emoji and includes other enhancements, bug fixes, and security updates for your iPhone.” The iPad one is essentially identical.
Check the Cult of Mac roundup of changes in iOS 16.4 for a full list of what’s coming to iPhone.
But don’t expect any major changes coming soon to any of these five operating systems. All the features Apple promised at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference already arrived. And Apple’s devs are surely looking ahead to WWDC23 in June. That’s when the company will show off what’s coming in iOS 17, macOS 14 and the next round of major upgrades.
Expect a March 28 release for iOS 16.4
The fact that release candidates debuted today isn’t much of a surprise — many people thought they were imminent. That’s because Apple Music Classical debuts on March 28, and this application will almost certainly require iOS 16.4.
Apple almost always introduces new versions of its operating systems simultaneously. So, those eager for the next upgrades for iPhone, Mac, iPad, etc., should mark their calendars for March 28.
In the meantime, the release candidates for iOS 16.4, macOS Ventura 13.3, iPadOS 16.4, watchOS 9.4 and tvOS 16.4 are only for those who pay to participate in Apple’s developer program. But they should reach Apple’s public beta system in the next few days.