iOS 16.4 for iPhone Nearing Launch With These 5 New Features
Apple says iOS 16.4 is coming in the spring, which began this week. In his Sunday newsletter, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman said the update should be released "in the next three weeks or so," meaning a public release is likely in late March or early April.
iOS 16.4 remains in beta testing and introduces a handful of new features and changes for the iPhone. Below, we have recapped five new features coming with the software update, including new emoji, push notifications from websites, and more.
1. New Emoji
iOS 16.4 adds new emoji introduced with Unicode 15.0, including a shaking face, a heart in three new color options, a donkey, a moose, a jellyfish, and others. Earlier this week, we provided a look at all of the new emoji coming with the update.
2. Web Push Notifications
iOS 16.4 adds opt-in support for web-based push notifications via Safari on the iPhone. This feature allows users to receive notifications from websites through Safari, just like notifications sent from App Store apps. Only websites that a user saves as a web app on the Home Screen can request to send push notifications.
3. Beta Updates Menu
Starting with iOS 16.4, there is a new "Beta Updates" menu in the Settings app under General → Software Update. This menu will allow members of Apple's Developer Program to access developer betas of iOS without needing to install a configuration profile from the Apple Developer website, simplifying the beta installation process. It is also possible to easily enable public betas of iOS from the same menu.
The developer beta option will only appear on your iPhone if the device is signed into the same Apple ID you used to enroll in Apple's Developer Program. In future iOS releases, Apple says this new menu will be the only way to enable developer betas, preventing configuration profiles from being used and shared online for free.
4. Podcasts App Improvements
iOS 16.4 introduces several new features in Apple's Podcasts app across the iPhone and CarPlay.
A new Channels menu in the Podcasts app provides a list of podcast channels all in one place on the iPhone, while the Up Next queue now includes episodes listeners have saved to their Library and episodes that they play from shows they do not follow.
CarPlay now provides access to the Up Next and Recently Played queues from the Listen Now tab, along with podcast recommendations in the Browse tab.
5. New Home App Architecture
iOS 16.4 reintroduces Apple's revamped Home app architecture, which was initially rolled out with iOS 16.2 but temporarily pulled due to bugs.
After updating to iOS 16.4, an optional update is available in the Home app with new underlying architecture. Apple said the new architecture improves the app's performance, efficiency, and reliability for controlling smart home accessories. The new architecture follows the Home app gaining support for Matter accessories in iOS 16.1.