15 new features in iOS 16.4 you should try right away


iOS 16.4 release candidate
After you upgrade your iPhone, try these new features in iOS 16.4.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 16.4 on Monday, bringing significant changes and new features to its iPhone operating system.

Once you install iOS 16.4, the biggest point release of iOS 16 so far, check out these 15 features to try right away — including the new “high five emoji” combo.

iOS 16.4: New features to try

Apple seeded the first iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 beta in mid-February. After more than a month of beta testing, these are the standout new features.

1. Enhanced Podcasts app

Apple Podcasts Splash Screen in iOS 16.4 beta 2.
iOS 16.4 is revamping Apple’s Podcasts app in a big way.
Photo: Rajesh

Apple made some pretty big changes to the Podcasts app in iOS 16.4. Creators can use the new Channels menu in the Library to list all their podcasts in one place. This should help improve the discoverability of content.

The Podcasts app’s Up Next feature gets a significant revamp in how it works, too. It will keep the current playing episode at the top until you finish listening to it, mark it as played, or remove it manually.

Here’s how Apple describes it:

When a listener plays an episode of a show before deciding to follow it, that episode will now remain in Up Next until the listener finishes it, marks it as played, or removes it. New episodes from followed shows and recently saved episodes will appear at the top of the Up Next queue while episodes that listeners have started and older saved episodes will appear toward the end. The latest episodes from recently followed shows appear at the start of Up Next. Also, episodes categorized with a “bonus” episode type will appear in Up Next.

2. New emoji

iOS 16.4 beta 1 packs several new emoji.
These are all the new emoji characters in iOS 16.4.
Photo: Emojipedia

iOS 16.4 includes support for Unicode 15.0 emoji characters. In total, there are 21 additions, including a shaking head, pink heart, blue heart, donkey, jellyfish, ginger and hyacinth. The Unicode Consortium approved these emoji characters last September.

You can use two of the new emoji in iOS 16.4 — the awkwardly named “leftwards pushing hand” and “rightwards pushing hand” — together to form a devastatingly motivational combo that Emojipedia calls the “high five emoji.”

Bonus points for inserting a collision emoji between them like this: 🫸💥🫷

3. Check your AppleCare coverage status

iOS 16.4 makes it easier to check the warranty status of your Apple accessories. Under Settings > General > About > Coverage, you can now view the warranty status of your Apple Watch, AirPods, Apple Pencil and other Apple accessories.

4. Voice Isolation for phone calls

iOS 16.4 expands Apple’s Voice Isolation feature to regular phone calls. The feature debuted with iOS 15, but previously only worked with VoIP calls and apps like FaceTime and Zoom.

As the name indicates, Voice Isolation focuses on your voice and cuts down on background noise. The feature only works one way, though: It will suppress background noise from your end and not from the other participants on the call. (You also get Wide Spectrum on VoIP calls, but this is not available for regular calls for now.)

5. New HomeKit architecture makes a comeback

iOS 16.2 bring in a new Home architecture upgrade option.
The new HomeKit architecture is back in iOS 16.4.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple’s new HomeKit architecture makes a comeback in iOS 16.4. The company first unveiled the architecture with iOS 16.2. However, it Apple pulled the update due to problems reported by early adopters.

The new architecture brings “improved performance and reliability of the accessories in your home,” according to Apple.

6. Better 5G support

iOS 16.4 enables 5G Standalone network support on T-Mobile’s network in the United States. This will theoretically allow your iPhone to reach speeds of up to 3Gb/s.

In Turkey, iOS 16.4 will enable 5G support on recent iPhones.

7. Focus mode gains Always-On Display support

Apple added an Always-On Display filter in Focus mode in iOS 16.4. This will enable you to toggle the feature when you activate or deactivate a particular Focus profile.

8. Web Push notifications for Safari

Websites and web apps added to your iPhone (or iPad’s) Home Screen can send push notifications in iOS 16.4. Besides notifications, the website’s shortcut also can display an unread notification badge like regular iPhone apps.

Apple initially announced this feature during its iOS 16 presentation at last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. For it to work, website developers also need to add support for Web Push notifications in Safari. Therefore, you might not be able to use the feature immediately.

Additionally, Apple is allowing Google Chrome and other third-party web browsers to add website shortcuts to your iPhone’s Home Screen. The option is tucked under the Share menu.

9. Page turn animation returns in Apple Books

The traditional page turn animation is back in Apple Books in iOS 16.4 beta 2.
The page turn animation is back in Apple Books in iOS 16.4.
Photo: Rajesh

The famous page curl animation, which Apple removed from its Books app in iOS 16, makes a comeback in iOS 16.4. You can dive into Apple Books settings to switch between “Slide” and “Curl” page turn animations.

10. Quickly join Apple’s beta program

iOS 16.4 will bring some major changes to how iOS beta updates work.
iOS 16.4 is changing how Apple’s beta program works.
Screenshot: Ed Hardy

With the release of iOS 16.4, Apple is significantly changing how you can join its iOS beta program. If you are a registered developer with Apple, you’ll find the option to jump on the developer or public beta directly from Settings > General > Software Update. (This option will only show up on your iPhone or iPad running iOS 16.4/iPadOS 16.4 if you are a registered developer with Apple.)

This marks a major change to how Apple operates its beta program. With this move, the company wants to end its beta profile system, which will make it difficult for non-registered developers to try out upcoming iOS builds ahead of their release.

If you have a separate Apple developer account, worry not. Apple even provides an option to use a different Apple ID than the one used to sign into your phone.

11. New Shortcut actions

Apple further improved the Shortcuts app in iOS 16.4, adding support for several new actions. In total, there are 12 new actions, including the ability to shut down your iPhone, toggle Always-On Display, auto-answer calls, enable/disable Stage Manager on the iPad, and the ability to quickly control the On Demand VPN setting of your device using the Set VPN action.

12. Find duplicate photos in iCloud Shared Photo Library

iOS 16 made it easy to find duplicate pictures on your iPhone. Apple is now enabling the same option for iCloud Shared Photo Libraries, so you can easily remove the clutter and free up space.

13. Order Tracking widgets

iOS 16.4 beta 1 includes a new order tracking widget.
New order tracking widget in iOS 16.4.
Screenshot: Rajesh

iOS 16.4 introduces a new Order Tracking widget for Apple Wallet. It is available in three sizes and should make keeping tabs on active orders a breeze.

14. Precise Satellite availability details for Emergency SOS

When using Emergency SOS via satellite on your iPhone 14 Pro running iOS 16.4, you will see more detailed information about the next satellite’s availability. Instead of “Available soon,” a more precise time will be displayed, such as, “Next Satellite Available in [x] Hour(s) [x] Minute(s).

15. Apple Music app enhancements

iOS 16.4 brings several minor improvements to the Apple Music app that add up to deliver a better user experience. A profile button is prominently displayed in the top-left corner, making it easy to access. There’s a new Sort button for artists, albums, songs, etc., so you can sort the list of songs based on title, when they were added to your library, or the year of their release.

In addition, the Apple Music app will display a new animated waveform while playing tracks. Other changes include new animations, smaller pop-up overlays, and smaller playlist icons in the Library tab.

Apple Music Classical, which Apple should release no later than Tuesday, will become available as a standalone app in the App Store. (Update: Apple Music Classical is available now.)

iOS 16.4 is chock-a-block full of new features that will further enhance your iPhone experience. Make sure to grab the update from Settings > General > Software update on your device to try out all the new features immediately.


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