Apple’s next iPhone update—unless there’s a surprise urgent feature fix or bug squish in the meantime—will be iOS 16.4. So, what will be in it and when can we expect it? Read on for full details.
Apple iOS 16.4: Release Date
Apple says it’s a spring release, which means it could be as soon as next week. The official first day of spring is next Monday, March 20, in the U.S., anyway, so it could be then. But Apple tends to prefer a Tuesday release date so Tuesday, March 21 is more likely, I’d say, at the earliest.
Anyway, the update is not quite finished. It’s currently on its fourth developer beta and matching public beta. We’d normally expect around four betas, followed by a release candidate before the update is on general release.
So, next week is a definite possibility.
1. Apple iOS 16.4: New emoji
When Apple releases new emoji, it’s always a highlight: beautifully crafted images which are both expressive and a marvel of miniaturization. You can read all about all of the new ones coming in iOS 16.4 here. But FYI, I’m very taken with the new Smiley and a stately but friendly-looking goose.
2. Apple iOS 16.4: New beta process
If you’re one of the people who has the developer beta on your iPhone but you’re not a developer, your freeloading time is running out. That’s because where it was possible to download a configuration profile you found on the internet, from iOS 16.4 onwards you need to update the betas from Software Update and they need to be tied to your Apple ID. Which means shelling out $99 a year to be in the Apple Developer Program.
3. Apple iOS 16.4: Book Turn Page Animation
Apple’s cute page-turn animation has been around since the first iPad and it is neatly done. It was one of those look-at-that! moments the first time you used it, as you saw not just a convincing imitation of the edge of a page, but that subtle hint of text seen through the back of the page as you turn it.
But when Apple iOS 16 launched, this went astray. Now, it’s back, so you can choose between the elegant page turn, called Curl, a simpler Slide animation or no animation at all.
4. Apple iOS 16.4: Podcasts updates
How the library in Podcasts is laid out is changing in 16.4, offering easier access, and the Up Next feature is being improved. Changes to Up Next will also work if you’re using CarPlay.
5. Apple iOS 16.4: Other Changes
The iPhone’s Always-On display can be configured to work with Focus modes. And just how the Always-on display affects battery life will be something you can track in the new software. The Wallet app is getting a new home screen widget for the order tracking feature. And the Music app will have a few little tweaks, such as how the app responds when a song is added to your upcoming choices. If you use web apps on your home screen, these will now have access to push notifications.
There may be more to come, but we’ll know soon enough. Tuesday, March 21 is my best guess.