The wait for iOS 16.5 is almost over. On Tuesday, Apple committed to releasing it “next week.” The same is true for watchOS 9.5.
Apple almost always introduces new versions of its operating systems simultaneously. So, those eager for macOS Ventura 13.4 and tvOS 16.5 should expect these updates soon, too. Especially as the release candidates for all these OS updates came out on Tuesday.
iOS 16.5 and watchOS 9.5 are right around the corner
Beta testing for Apple’s new operating systems began in late March, and continued through multiple rounds. But testing is nearly over. We know that because Apple said so.
Apple unveiled its new Apple Watch Pride Edition watch face, band and iOS wallpaper today. The official announcement says, “The new Pride Celebration watch face and iPhone wallpaper will be available next week, and requires watchOS 9.5 and iOS 16.5.”
That means the replacements for watchOS 9.4 and iOS 16.4.1 are days away.
And, as noted, only in exceptional circumstances does Apple update some of its operating systems without updating all of them. So macOS Ventura 13.4 and tvOS 16.5 will almost certainly be out on the same day next week.
What’s coming in iOS 16.5
With iOS 16.5, watchOS 9.5 and the others debuting next week, Apple needed to introduce release candidates, which it did Tuesday morning. RCs are what Apple used to call golden masters, and give beta testers the 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. But this time, it’s not much. The iOS 16.5 notes say only, “This update includes enhancements, bug fixes, and security updates for your iPhone.”
Check the Cult of Mac roundup of changes in iOS 16.5 for a full list of what’s coming to iPhone. For a TL;DR, it includes screen recording using Siri and a new Sports tab in Apple News.
The release notes for iPadOS 16.5 use almost exactly the same phrase and will have the very nearly same tweaks.
There aren’t more significant changes because iOS 16.x, macOS Ventura 13.x, etc. are drawing close to the end. Apple will unveil their replacements at WWDC23 in less than a month.