iOS 16.4 is almost here. Public beta testers can try out these features now

The wait for iOS 16.4 is almost over. Apple released iOS 16.4 Beta 3 to public beta testers on Wednesday, about a week after the company released the second iOS 16.4 public beta. This third beta means the broad reveal of iOS 16.4 is likely within reach. Beta testers can now try out new iOS features like new emoji and updates to Apple Books.

These features are only available to those who are part of Apple’s beta software program. New iOS features can be fun, but we recommend only downloading a beta on something other than your main phone, just in case the new software causes problems. Apple makes an app called Feedback available to beta testers. The app allows testers to notify Apple of any issues in the new software so they can fix the issue before general release.

Here are some of the new features testers can find in the iOS 16.4 betas.

Apple ID and beta software updates

The latest beta allows you to sign in with a different Apple ID to access other beta software.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

With the third beta of iOS 16.4, developers and beta testers can verify that their Apple ID is associated with the developer beta, public beta, or both. If you have a different Apple ID, e.g. For example, one for your job that has access to beta updates, iOS 16.4 Beta 3 also lets you switch to that account from your device.

Apple Books updates

iOS 16.4 beta 2 update brings the page-turn curl animation back to Apple Books after it was removed in a previous iOS update. Previously, when you turned a page in an e-book on your iPhone, the page would slide to one side of your screen or disappear and be replaced by the next page. Beta testers can select these other page flip animations in addition to the curl animation.

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With iOS 16.4 Beta 3, a new popup appears when you open Apple Books for the first time after downloading the update. It lets you know you can change your page flip animation, theme, and more.

31 new emojis

The first iOS 16.4 beta software brought 31 new emojis to your iOS device. The new emoji includes a new smiley; new animals, like a moose and a goose; and new heart colors like pink and light blue.

Some of the new emojis released in the first iOS 16.4 beta.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The new emoji are all from Unicode’s September 2022, Emoji 15.0 recommendation list.

Apple Podcasts Updates

The first beta brought some changes to navigating Apple Podcasts. Now you can access podcast channels you have subscribed to in your library. You can also use Next to resume podcast episodes you’ve started, start saved episodes, and remove episodes you want to skip.

Preview mastodon links in messages

Apple’s first iOS 16.4 beta enabled rich previews of mastodon links in messages. That’s good, because Mastodon saw a 400 percent increase in the rate of new accounts in December, so you might get Mastodon links in messages.

Music app changes

A small banner will appear at the bottom of the screen when you decide next to play a song in Apple Music in the first iOS 16.4 beta.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

The music interface has been slightly modified in the first iOS 16.4 beta. When you add a title to your queue, you’ll see a small banner at the bottom of your screen instead of a full-screen popup.

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See who and what is covered by AppleCare

Starting with iOS 16.4 beta 1, you can go to Settings to check who and which devices are covered by your AppleCare plan. With iOS 16.4 Beta 2, this menu shows you a small icon next to each device covered by AppleCare.

Focus mode, shortcuts and always-on display

If you have an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, iOS 16.4 Beta 1 lets you enable or disable the always-on display option with specific focus modes. In addition to the new Lock Screen and Set VPN actions, a new option has been added to Shortcuts called Set Always On Display.

New Apple Wallet widgets

The first iOS 16.4 beta release lets you add three new Apple Wallet order tracking widgets to your home screen. Each widget displays your active order tracking information, but the widgets have different sizes: small, medium, and large.

The medium-sized Apple Wallet order tracking widget takes up three tile spaces on your iPhone’s screen.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET More accessibility options

The first beta update also added a new accessibility option. The new option is called Dim Flashing Lights and can be found in the Motion menu in Settings. The option’s description states that video content that displays repeatedly blinking or flashing lights will be automatically dimmed. Video timelines also show when blinking lights occur.

New keyboards, Siri voices, and language updates

The first iOS 16.4 beta added keyboards for the Choctaw and Chickasaw languages, and there are new Siri voices for Arabic and Hebrew. Language updates have also come for Korean, Ukrainian, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu.

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There is no word on when iOS 16.4 will be released to the general public. There is no guarantee that these beta features will be released with iOS 16.4 or that these are the only features that will be released with the update.

For more information, see how to become an Apple beta tester, what was in iOS 16.3.1, and what features you might have missed in iOS 16.3.

Video: iOS 16: Powerful Features You May Have Missed

Initially published Feb 17, 2023 at 11:01 am PT.