When will Apple release iOS 16.4 to everyone?

Apple is currently beta testing iOS 16.4, and it includes a number of new features and changes for iPhone users. Head below as we recap all of these new features and speculate when iOS 16.4 will be released to everyone…

What’s new in iOS 16.4?

New emoji

One of the most popular new features in iOS 16.4 is the addition of new emoji. These new emoji are part of the Unicode Standard for Emoji Update 15.0, which was announced in July 2022. Among the new emoji are icons for a shaking face, a goose, a hyacinth, and a plain pink heart.

These new emoji are also included in the latest beta versions of macOS 13.3, watchOS 9.4 and iPadOS 16.4. It is important to note that users running older versions of these operating systems will not be able to see the new emoji, even if someone who has already updated sends them.

Changes to the beta testing process itself

iOS 16.4 beta 3 lets users sign in with a different Apple ID to download beta software

With iOS 16.4, Apple is cracking down on sharing iOS beta profiles. Previously, anyone could download the latest iOS betas by installing the beta “profile” on their device. In particular, this meant that people could install the developer beta version of iOS even without a developer account.

In iOS 16.4, however, the beta sign-up process will be tied to a developer’s Apple ID and accessed directly in the Settings app:

Starting with iOS & iPadOS 16.4 beta, members of Apple’s developer program will see a new option to enable developer betas directly from Software Update in Settings.

This new option will be automatically enabled on devices already enrolled in the program that update to the latest beta version. Your iPhone or iPad must be signed in with the same Apple ID you used to sign up for the Apple Developer Program to see this option in Settings. In future iOS and iPadOS releases, this new setting will be the way to enable developer betas, and configuration profiles will no longer provide access.

More on the beta test changes:

Faster 5G and expansion to more countries

iPhone 5G standalone

iOS 16.4 also enables 5G Standalone for T-Mobile users in the US. In particular, 5G SA can deliver blazingly fast speeds, up to 3 Gbps, and it looks like the iPhone could be the next device to take advantage of the technology. 5G SA is also supported by Brazilian carriers Vivo and TIM Brazil, as well as Japanese carrier Softbank.

In addition, 5G itself has been extended to iPhone users in Macau, Azerbaijan and Turkey. iOS 16.4 also extends 5G connectivity to support Google Fi for the first time.

New Safari and third-party browser features

As detailed in the WebKit blog, iOS 16.4 allows Home Screen web apps to access push notifications via the HTML5 standard Web Push API, including badges, for the first time. Access to the Apple Push Notification service was previously only available to App Store apps.

In addition, third-party browsers are now able to display a user interface for users to add a website to their home screen.

Apple Books animation returns

Apple Books with curl page turn effect

In iOS 16.4, the Apple Books app has regained its iconic page-turning animation. This animation was removed when Apple redesigned the Books app with the initial release of iOS 16.

You can learn how to enable the new “Curl” animation in the Apple Books app by following our in-depth guide right here.

Changes to Apple Podcasts

For Apple Podcasts, there are changes to the library, improvements to Up Next and new CarPlay updates.

  • Channels in the library: Easily access the channels you subscribe to and browse channels from shows you follow.
  • Up Next Improvements: Resume episodes you started, start episodes you’ve saved, and remove any you want to skip.
  • CarPlay updates: Quickly pick up where you left off with Up Next and find new shows in Browse.

And more

  • In the Music app, there are various interface tweaks and icon changes. For example, adding a song to your queue no longer causes a full-screen pop-up. Instead, there is a much smaller notification at the bottom.
  • Always-On Display can now be linked to focus modes.
  • In Shortcuts, there is a new “Set Always-On Display” action, a new “Lock Screen” action, and a new “Set VPN” action.
  • iOS 16.4 includes a new screen in the Settings app where you can see your entire AppleCare coverage for multiple devices like iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods.
  • iOS 16.4 enables extensive previews of Mastodon links in the Messages app.
  • There’s a new home screen widget for the Wallet app’s integrated order tracking feature.
  • iOS 16.4 allows users to track the effect of Always-On Display on battery life.

When will iOS 16.4 be released to everyone?

iOS 16.4 to detail Always-On display battery usage for iPhone 14 Pro users

iOS 16.4 is currently on its third developer and public beta, and the fourth beta could be released as soon as this week. With Apple now on a weekly cycle for new beta versions, the most likely outcome is that iOS 16.4 will be released to the public sometime this month.

For the sake of comparison, Apple released iOS 15.4 last year on March 14 after four beta versions and a final release candidate. This year, the company is behind that timeline, but again, a March release still makes sense.

Finally, Brazilian operator Claro recently said it has worked with Apple to enable 5G Standalone for iPhone owners. More specifically, Claro said that users will have access to this new technology “in March of this year,” with the release of iOS 16.4. While Apple’s plans may change, the statement largely confirms that iOS 16.4 will be released to the public in the coming weeks.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Apple Music Classical is set to launch on March 28th. Although Apple Music Classical is not tied to a specific version of iOS, Apple may want to time the launch of the new app with a new iOS release to help generate awareness.

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