It has often been the case in recent years that Apple’s big yearly iOS release delivers some of its best improvements in the point releases that follow the big September release. That has certainly been the case with iOS 16, where iOS 16.1 gave us Live Activities, support for Matter, a new battery percentage indicator, and iCloud Shared Photo Library.
The release of iOS 16.2 might be even bigger. It lets you enable full end-to-end encryption for more of your iCloud data, add a new karaoke feature to Apple Music, improve the always-on display on iPhone 14 Pro, update the Home architecture, and more.
Update 12/13/22: iOS 16.2 has been released for all users. Key features are Apple Music Sing, Advanced Data Protection, the Freeform app, and improvements for the Lock Screen.
iOS 16.2: New features
Here’s what we know is new in the latest iOS 16.2 beta. We’ll update this section as new features and changes are discovered.
Apple Music Sing: A new karaoke experience built into Apple Music. Read more about Apple Music Sing.
iCloud Backup encryption: Several new privacy features are coming in iOS 16.2, including stronger iCloud encryption, security key support, and iMessage Contact Key Verification.
10-minute AirDrop limit: iOS 16.2 limits the “everyone” setting for AirDrop permissions to 10 minutes at a time. This change was first made in China and is now rolling out to the rest of the world.
Older notifications visible by default: In iOS 16.2 beta 4, Apple changed the way Notification Center displays notifications. You used to have to swipe up to see older notifications, now they are shown by default.
Always-on display options: For iPhone 14 Pro models there are two new toggles in Settings > Display & Brightness > Always On Display. One lets you disable the wallpaper when the always-on display is active, the other disables notifications.
Sleep and medication widgets: The second beta added new lock screen widgets for sleep data and medication tracking from the Health app.
Freeform app: The latest betas of iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 add the new digital whiteboarding app Freeform, first unveiled at WWDC this fall. Freeform is a productivity app for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac that lets you collaborate with friends, family, and coworkers on a digital whiteboard sharing sketches, notes, files, web links, documents, photos, video, and audio.
New Home architecture: iOS 16.2 users have the opportunity to update their Home app to a new architecture, which Apple promises is faster and more reliable. All Home hub devices like HomePod and Apple TV must be upgraded to 16.2 as well.
More frequent Live Activities updates: You can toggle an option to update Live Activities more frequently. Open Settings, select the app with Live Activities support for which you want more frequent updates. Then choose Live Activities and toggle the switch to Allow Live Activities and More Frequent Updates.
iPadOS 16.2: New features
iPadOS 16.2 will have the same new features as iOS 16.2 where applicable, in addition to the features listed below:
Stage Manager external display support: Pulled before the initial iPadOS 16.1 release, external display support is back in iPadOS 16.2 for iPads that have the M1 or M2 chip. It allows iPad users to hook their tablet up to a secondary display with resolutions up to 6K using Stage Manager.
iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2: Security updates
The iOS 16.2 update includes nearly three dozen security fixes for numerous apps and system services. Apple doesn’t report that any have been actively exploited, but many are critical, including several WebKit fixes that may lead to arbitrary code execution.
iOS 16.2: Release notes
Apple’s official release notes for iOS 16.2 are as follows:
– Freeform is a new app for working creatively with friends or colleagues on Mac, iPad, and iPhone
– A flexible canvas lets you add files, images, stickies, and more
Drawing tools let you sketch anywhere on the canvas with your finger
Apple Music Sing
– A new way to sing along with millions of your favorite songs in Apple Music
– Fully adjustable vocals let you duet with the original artist, sing solo, or mix it up
– Newly enhanced beat-by-beat lyrics make it even easier to follow along with the music
Advanced Data Protection for iCloud
The new option expands the total number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption to 23 — including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos — protecting your information even in the case of a data breach in the cloud
– New settings allow you to hide wallpaper or notifications when Always-On display is enabled on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
– Sleep widget lets you view your most recent sleep data
– Medications widget lets you view reminders and quickly access your schedule
– SharePlay support in Game Center for multiplayer games so you can play with the people you are on a FaceTime call with
– Activity Widget allows you to see what your friends are playing and achieving in games right from your Home Screen
– Live Activities for Apple TV app let you follow your favorite teams with live scores right on your Lock Screen or in Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
– Improved reliability and efficiency of communication between your smart home accessories and Apple devices
This update also includes the following improvements and bug fixes:
– Improved search in Messages allows you to find photos based on their content, like a dog, car, person, or text
– Turn Off Hide IP Address setting enables iCloud Private Relay users to temporarily disable the service for a specific site in Safari
– News articles in Weather display information relevant to the weather in that location
– Participant Cursors in Notes allow you to see live indicators as others make updates in a shared note
– AirDrop now automatically reverts to Contacts Only after 10 minutes to prevent unwanted requests to receive content
– Crash Detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models
– Fixes an issue that causes some notes not to sync with iCloud after updates are made
Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:
iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2: Release date
Apple releases iOS 16.2 on Tuesday, December 13 at around 10 am.
iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2: How to install
To get the latest iOS release, open the Settings app and tap General, the Software Update. You’ll see whether a new version is available there, with a Download and Install button. Tap that and follow the instructions.
If iOS 16.2 has just been released and you don’t see it yet, be patient. It can take up to an hour or two for the release to show up on the entire global content delivery network. If it has been more than a day and you still don’t see the release available, consider powering off your iPhone and then back on again. Hold the side button and volume button for several seconds until you see a “Slide to Power off” bar (and several emergency options). Slide to power off, wait 20 seconds, then press and hold the side button for a few second to power it on again.