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iOS 16.3 Beta 2 Is Here. Testers Can Try These Features Now


Apple released the iOS 16.3 beta 2 to public beta testers on Wednesday, about a day after the software was released to developers. The first beta appeared shortly after the release of iOS 16.2. Both iOS 16.3 betas brought a few new features to testers’ iPhones. 

As always, we recommend downloading a beta only on something other than your primary device. Since these are beta versions of iOS 16.3, the features might be buggy and your device’s battery life may be shortened, so it’s best to keep betas on a secondary device.

If you’re a public beta tester, here’s what’s new in the iOS 16.3 beta software. Note that the beta is still ongoing, so these likely won’t be the only new features to land on your iPhone when iOS 16.3 is released. There’s no word on the public release for iOS 16.3 just yet.

New ways to use Emergency SOS via satellite

Emergency SOS via satellite was introduced at Apple’s 2022 event in September. The new beta software brings new ways to use the service to your iPhone. 

In iOS 16.3 beta 2, the Call with Hold option has been replaced with Call with Hold and Release. If you enable Call with Hold and Release, you can hold the side button and a volume button to initiate a countdown and an alarm. After the countdown, you release the buttons and your iPhone will call emergency services on its own. Before with Call with Hold, pressing the side button and a volume button would first bring up the Emergency SOS call slider. If you continued to hold the buttons, a countdown started and an alarm would go off. After the countdown ended, your phone would make an emergency call.

There’s also an option to Call Quietly in Emergency SOS. By enabling this option, when you try to make an emergency SOS call, your phone won’t start flashing or making an alarm sound.

Apple Maps helps you find nearby parking options

Parking options in Apple Maps near Cincinnati's Music Hall

Book a parking spot before you leave your home so you aren’t driving around looking for a spot.


Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

If you use Apple Maps to get directions to a location, you can now find nearby parking within Maps. When looking up a place to go — in this case, Cincinnati’s Music Hall — you can tap More (…) and tap Parking. This opens SpotHero, an online service that helps you find, book and pay for a parking spot at a nearby garage or parking lot. You can also reserve a spot through SpotHero. This feature is available only in select cities, though. 

Security keys come to Apple ID

With the beta software, users will be able to use third-party security keys instead of two-factor authentication for their Apple ID. 

Security keys are a lot like keys to your home. You still use passwords, but this extra layer of security can help protect you against phishing scams and hackers.

“Hardware security keys are very, very secure,” Diya Jolly, chief product officer of authentication service company Okta, told CNET’s Stephen Shankland.

Security Keys screen in iOS 16.3 beta

Security keys add more protection to your device.


Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

Apple’s security keys feature only works with FIDO Alliance-certified security keys.

New HomePod Handoff prompts

Beta testers who have an Apple HomePod will be shown new messages when trying to use Handoff to transfer music, podcasts or phone calls over to the speaker. The messages further explain how Handoff works with your HomePod.

One message instructs you to bring your iPhone closer to the HomePod to view controls or to transfer your audio over to the HomePod. Another message says you can bring your iPhone closer to your HomePod again later to view those same controls or to transfer music.

Those are the major new features beta testers will see in the iOS 16.3 beta. That doesn’t mean these are the only features coming to the next iOS update. Apple will likely add more features before the release of iOS 16.3. 

For more iOS 16 news, check out the new features in iOS 16.2 and iOS 16.1. Here’s how to sign up to test Apple’s iOS beta software, too.


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