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iOS 16: Apple gives iPhone users early access to update with host of new features

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A new Lockdown Mode tool will be rolled out in the autumn as part of software updates for the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
A new Lockdown Mode tool will be rolled out in the autumn as part of software updates for the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Apple has released its public beta of iOS 16, giving iPhone users access to a whole host of new features.

iOS 16 was unveiled last month and will be fully released in the autumn, alongside the new iPhone 14. But the public beta allows people to get an early version of the software.

Apple has released public betas of watchOS 9, macOS Ventura and tvOS 16, as well as iOS 16. They can all be installed by joining up on the Apple Beta Software Program website.

That means that users can get all of the big features before they are released. That includes new Lock Screen widgets, changes to notifications, the option to edit and unsend Messages, and a new super-secure “Lockdown Mode”.

On the Mac and iPad, Apple has made significant changes to multitasking, with a new “Stage Manager” mode that allows users to organise their various open apps. And the Apple Watch receives big fitness updates, including better metrics during workouts and improved sleep tracking.

The drawback is that the software remains early and could include bugs and unfinished parts. The operating system could also come with less battery life, since it is still in testing.

Users are also advised that they should back up their devices in case any of those bugs cause data loss, which is possible.

Some devices that have the current operating system, iOS 15, will not be able to upgrade to the public beta or the full release of the new software when it comes out. iOS 16 is limited to iPhones since the 8, for instance.

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