iOS 15.3 Beta Leaks With Only Minor Changes as Apple Prepares for More Feature-Packed Updates in the Spring [Updated]
What appears to be the initial beta of the upcoming iOS and iPadOS 15.3 update has leaked, revealing that the next major iPhone and iPad update is likely to be focused on bug fixes, performance improvements, and security enhancements, rather than larger features destined to be part of software updates in the upcoming spring.
The build of the iOS 15.3 beta, obtained by MacRumors, includes only a few notable changes including wording regarding the newly launched Child Safety features, small tweaks to the Podcasts app, and modified text regarding the automatic download of magazines in Apple News+ for offline reading. While this is likely only the first of several betas, it does indicate that the forthcoming update is likely to be a more minor update than what some may be hoping for.
MacRumors analytics have shown an increase in devices on iOS 15.3, with the uptick happening around the beginning of the month. Likewise, those same analytics show a stable and consistent pattern of visits from devices running iOS and iPadOS 15.4. The latter could be a more significant update, with more front-end users changes than what iOS 15.3 is seemingly poised to be.
One feature that many have kept an eye out for is Universal Control. Apple has officially delayed the feature, first demoed at WWDC in June, until the spring. Universal Control has yet to appear for developers and public beta testers.
Apple yesterday restarted its macOS beta cycle with macOS Monterey 12.2. Neither macOS 12.2 nor the leaked build of iPadOS 15.3 includes Universal Control, adding credence that the approaching iPadOS 15.4 and accompanying macOS update, reasonably set for sometime in the spring, will add the highly anticipated feature and other new changes.
Universal Control is one of two features initially announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June that have yet to be released. Alongside Universal Control, Apple says that the ability for users to add their ID cards and driver's license to the Wallet app in participating states will be available in early 2022.
Apple this week released iOS and iPadOS 15.2, which includes a newly redesigned Notification Summary, App Privacy Reports, and more. iOS 15.2 follows iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1, released earlier in the fall, bringing FaceTime's new SharePlay feature.
Update 10:10 am: The download links for the unreleased iOS 15.3 beta came straight from the source code for Apple's developer downloads page. The initial betas of iOS 15.3, iPadOS 15.3, watchOS 8.4, and tvOS 15.3 were apparently supposed to be released to developers yesterday alongside macOS 12.2, but were pulled back at the last moment. Rather than removing them from the page, however, Apple simply commented the entries out in the HTML so that they didn't show up on the page.
(Special thanks to Berkin Ceylan!)