iOS 16.4 beta finally arrives with new emoji and web app notifications

Typically, the next iOS minor release goes into beta within a day or two of the public major release of the previous release. So when iOS 16.3 was released on January 23rd, we expected the beta version of 16.4 to start on January 24th. It’s unusual, but the first iOS 16.4 beta finally arrived on February 16, over three weeks later. Its contemporaries (iPadOS 16.4, watchOS 9.4 and macOS 13.3) also entered beta at the same time. We reckon a final version of iOS 16.4 will likely arrive in March, possibly at Apple’s spring event.

iOS 16.4: New features

Here are some of the major changes and additions in iOS 16.4. We will continue to update this section as more changes are discovered.

New Emoji: This version adds the emoji that are part of the Unicode 15.0 standard. These include a trembling face (side to side, like “no”), multiple heart suits, left and right pushing hands, multiple new animals (moose, goose, jellyfish), some food, and a few musical instruments.

Web Push Notifications: This release adds support for web push notifications. Web apps saved to the home screen can send system notifications via push API, notifications API and service workers using standard HTML5 web push API. Just like apps, websites need to ask for permission in response to a user action (like tapping a “subscribe” button or similar).

Easier beta participation: If your device is registered as a beta tester, you can open Settings > General > Software updates and in a new menu choose whether you want no beta updates, developer beta updates (if applicable), or public want beta updates .

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Home Architecture Upgrade: The home architecture upgrade, pulled from iOS 16.2 version, is back in iOS 16.4. This is separate from the updated Home app, which has survived.

New Podcasts App: A new Podcasts app for iPhone, iPad, and CarPlay improves the Up Next queue and adds features like episode filtering and the ability to browse by season.

iOS 16.4 Release Date

We don’t expect iOS 16.4 to be released until at least late February or possibly March. Apple is rumored to be holding a spring event that could coincide with the release of the full version of the update.

iOS 16.4: How to install the public beta

This is the version of iOS 16.3 that most of us will be running before launch, as the developer beta, as the name suggests, is for registered developers only.

When the iOS 16 public beta comes out, you can install it using the instructions below.

On the Apple Beta page, click Sign Up and sign in with your Apple ID. Enroll in the beta software program. Click Register iOS Device. (If you signed up for the beta of an earlier version last year, you may need to uninstall the profile for it and then re-register for the new one.) Go to on your iOS device. Load the configuration profile. You may need to go to Settings to enable the profile. Go to General > VPN & Device Management and tap on the iOS 16 beta profile there. This will make the beta available in the Settings app under General > Software update. How to install iOS 16.4 developer beta

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Each phase of the iOS 16.3 development cycle is rolled out first to developers and then to public beta testers (usually within a day or so). If you are a developer and need to test your apps on the latest version of the operating system, you should run that version.

First, check if your device is compatible. Did you quickly read which iPhones and iPads can get iOS 16?

You must be registered as an Apple developer. Joining the Apple Developer Program costs $99 per year.

Everything ready? OK! Here’s how to install the iOS 16.3 developer beta in eight easy steps:

In Safari on your iPhone or iPad, go to and sign in with your Apple ID. Go to the Downloads section (you can find it in the left menu), scroll down to iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 Beta and tap Install Profile and then Accept. Open the Settings app. You should see Profile Downloaded at the top of the main screen – tap on it. If you can’t see it, go to General > VPN & Device Management and tap on the iOS 16 or iPadOS 16 beta profile there. Tap Install in the top right to install the iOS or iPadOS 16 beta profile. Read the developer consent form and (assuming you are happy with the terms) give your consent. Reboot your iPhone. Now go to Settings > General > Software update where you should see that iOS or iPadOS 16 beta is available. Tap Download and Install. Wait for your iPhone to finish downloading the update, then tap Install when prompted.

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And if everything worked as it should, your iPhone is now running iOS 16 beta.

iOS 16.4: Risks and Precautions

First, note that betas are trial versions of upcoming software. They are unfinished by definition, and while they should contain most or all of the functionality of the finished product, there are cosmetic differences and inevitably some bugs and other issues that need to be fixed during the development process.

In other words, don’t expect a perfect user experience. In particular, some existing apps (including those you may rely on) may not work properly with the new version. In extreme cases, you may even find that your device is bricked by the beta and cannot be used until the next beta comes along. It’s not uncommon for early beta software to also have issues like excessive battery drain.

We cannot stress enough the importance of backing up your iPhone before installing a beta on your device, or better yet, use a secondary device instead of your main iPhone or iPad.