It’s common for Apple to start beta-testing a new version of iOS just a day or two after the previous version is released. And sure enough, iOS 15.2 began its beta test period just a day after iOS 15.1 was released on October 25, 2021.
As is typical of these releases, it is first available only to registered developers. The public beta typically follows within a day.
Update 12/02/21: iOS 15.2 beta 4 has been released to both developers and public beta testers. It’s unusual for a release to come late in the week like this, suggesting Apple is trying to wrap up the last bugs as quickly as possible for a release well before the holidays.
Fixes and bugs in iOS 15.2 Beta 4
In the release notes, iOS 15.2 beta 4 includes several small fixes, including App Store, Health, and Swift UI, and fixes the auto-brightness bug introduced with an earlier beta. Additionally, Apple calls out a streaming bug in in the Music app that could result in higher CPU usage, causing faster battery drain in some scenarios
New features in iOS 15.2
Apple Music playlist search
It’s hard to believe it took this long, but iOS 15.2 Beta 3 brought the ability to search for songs within Apple Music playlists.
Macro mode toggle in the Camera app
While iOS 15.1 added an “auto macro” toggle in Settings for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, iOS 15.2 goes a step further and puts a macro toggle button right in the Camera app. A small circle with an icon of a flower shows up when you get close enough to engage Macro mode, and you can turn Macro on or off with a tap. This toggle apparently only appears when “auto macro” is disabled in Settings. In the third beta, Apple renamed the toggle “Macro Control” to let people know that it will show a button instead of automatically switching.
Before the release of iOS 15, Apple announced a new CSAM feature to detect child sexual abuse and trafficking in iCloud photos. It also announced a new parental controls feature for Messages, whereby a parent can enable a feature for their child’s phone to warn them if adult content is shared in Messages. This is separate from the CSAM scanning and has to be enabled in parental controls.
With the iOS 15.2 update, Apple is making the Messages child safety parental control available, but it has not yet rolled out the iCloud Photos CSAM feature. Apple said it will delay the launch of that feature while it re-works it to address complaints from privacy advocates.
The Legacy Contact feature appears first in iOS 15.2 beta 2. It allows you to designate someone who can access your iCloud data in the event that you pass away. You can access it by opening Settings, choosing your Apple ID, then Password & Security.
Find My: Items That Can Track Me
Apple has added a new feature to the Find My app (via Macrumors) that lets people search for a nearby AirTag or other Find My item that may be surreptitiously being used to track your location. When the option in Items is tapped, it scans for unknown Find My items.
Sidebar and Store for the TV app (iPad)
On the iPad, iPadOS 15.2 replaces the tab bar at the bottom of the screen with a sidebar. The tab bar includes a new section, Store.
Hide My Email in Mail app (iCloud+)
Tap the From label in an outgoing mail in the Mail app to see a Hide My Email option. This is only available to iCloud+ subscribers (basically anyone who pays for expanded iCloud storage space).
iOS 15.2 Beta 3 brought the ability to bulk rename and delete tags in the Reminders app.
iOS 15.2 includes numerous bug fixes and optimizations, including Safari, App Store, and Swift UI changes.
How to get the iOS 15.2 beta
If you’re a developer, head to developer.apple.com/download/ on the device upon which you wish to run the beta. Once you log in, you’l be able to download a beta profile.
For the public beta, go to beta.apple.com on the device upon which you wish to run the beta. Hit the “Sign up” button and follow the steps to download the beta profile.
Once you have a beta profile downloaded, you have to enable it. Open the Settings app, then tap General, then VPN & Device Management. Select the beta profile and then enable it. You may need to restart your iPhone or iPad after enabling the profile.
Once the profile is enabled, open the Settings app and tap General, then Software Update. You’ll see the iOS 15.2 (or iPadOS 15.2) update and can install it.
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