iOS 16.2 for iPhones is compatible with devices dating back to the iPhone SE (2020).
- Users will be able to use physical security keys to protect Apple IDs
- Apple Music Classical makes its first appearance
- Advanced Data Protection arrives for more countries
After releasing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 to the masses, Apple has now released the public betas of the upcoming updates to iOS and iPadOS among other new updates to watchOS, macOS and tvOS. The new public beta updates (which were also released as developer betas moments prior) are being tagged as iOS 16.3 and iPadOS 16.3 and are currently available for users to download after installing a certificate from the beta website. These updates mark the availability of some new features and also a long-awaited app in the form of Apple Music Classical.
According to a report by MacRumors both operating systems have received minor updates. Common features available on both include the support for physical security keys to protect Apple IDs along with additional guidance on transferring a song to a HomePod (Handoff) from an iPhone. As per a 9to5Mac report the ability to support physical security keys is a big deal. However, Apple will not be manufacturing its own security keys, and will take advantage of the existing ecosystem of current hardware products to implement the feature by working with the FIDO Alliance. What the system will bring to users is additional security for their Apple IDs using physical security keys for those who need it.
Another security-related feature is Advanced Data Protection feature. It basically allows users to encrypt more of their data that is stored on iCloud servers with end-to-end encryption. Currently, Apple only allows end-to-end encryption of certain types of iCloud data such as passwords. While the feature is currently available with the recently released iOS 16.2 software update, it is limited to customers in the US. iOS 16.3, when released, is expected to make it available in more regions according to 9to5Mac.
Apple Music Classical, is a much-awaited service which was announced back in August last year, after the Cupertino tech giant took over Primephonic, the service that streamed classical music to its subscribers. Primephonic shut its servers and was taken offline on 7 September, 2021. We have not heard about Apple Music Classical until now. While the highlights of iOS 16.3 public beta include Apple Music Classical, it's yet to be seen if the service is available as a separate section or app, or whether it will be integrated into Apple Music directly when the final release candidate for iOS 16.3 is available. Other new features that have made it to iOS 16.3 is Apple Card Savings, which basically lets users open a savings account with Apple. There's also a Custom Accessibility Mode that will help users streamline their accessibility settings.
As with every beta version of any given software, all of the above-mentioned features are subject to change by the time the final release candidate arrives. According to Bloomberg, Apple is reportedly targeting a release date for iOS 16.3 between February or March, next year.