After a strange false start, Apple has started its beta test of iOS 15.3. The company did not release the iOS 15.3 beta on December 17, but eagle-eyed observers found that the developer’s site page for the download simply had the whole iOS 15.3 section commented out of the HTML.
Some hours later, the beta version was officially released to developers with no explanation as to why the download was delayed. There doesn’t appear to be any new features in this release, only bug fixes and security updates.
Update 01/26/22: iOS 15.3 has now been released. It features only bug fixes and security improvements.
iOS 15.3: New features
It looks like iOS 15.3 will not contain any new user-facing features. The release notes only say: “iOS 15.3 includes bug fixes and security updates for your iPhone and is recommended for all users.” It likely includes a number of bug fixes and security updates, including a fix for the Safari 15 vulnerability that could leak your browsing activity. 9to5Mac discovered that the FingerprintJS tool indicates that the hole has been patched.
iOS 15.3: How to get it
If you’re interested in beta-testing iOS 15.3 (or iPadOS 15.3), you should do so on a device that is not your primary everyday iPhone or iPad.
Registered developers can go to developer.apple.com/download using the device upon which they wish to run the beta. From there, you can download a developer beta profile. Head to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management to enable the beta profile. Then your iPhone or iPad will restart, and you can go to Settings > General > Software Update to download the latest version.
To participate in the public beta test (which usually gets beta builds between a few hours and a day after the developers do), head to beta.apple.com using the device upon which you wish to run the beta. From there, you can download a developer beta profile. Head to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management to enable the beta profile. Then your iPhone or iPad will restart, and you can go to Settings > General > Software Update to download the latest version.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.