iOS 16.4 Features: Everything New in iOS 16.4
Apple today released iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, two updates that come after several weeks of beta testing. iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 add a long list of new features, ranging from updated emoji characters to web push notifications on the iPad.
In this guide, we've highlighted all of the changes introduced in iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4.
New Emoji Characters
iOS 16.4 includes new emoji characters that were first approved in September 2022 by the Unicode Consortium. Added emojis include shaking head, pink heart, blue heart, gray heart, donkey, moose, black bird, goose, wing, jellyfish, hyacinth, pea pod, ginger, fan, comb, flute, maracas, and a number of left and right facing hand options. There are 21 new emoji in all.
Safari Web Push Notifications on iPhone and iPad
This is a feature that Apple first announced at WWDC with the introduction of iOS 16, and it is now ready to start rolling out. Web apps added to a user's home screen can request permission to receive push notifications through a "subscribe" button or another similar direct interaction.
As on the Mac, the iPhone or iPad will prompt the user to give the web app permission to send notifications, and the notifications can be managed on a per web app basis in the Notifications section of the Settings app. Notifications from web apps work exactly like notifications from other apps, showing up on the Lock Screen, in Notification Center, and on a paired Apple Watch.
To receive push notifications for a website, you will need to add it to the Home Screen. Web developers need to implement support for the feature, so it may not be working on all websites right away.
Focus Support for Web Push Notifications
Notifications for Home Screen web apps can be incorporated into Focus, so they can be rolled into Daily Summaries and there are options for configuring where and how to receive the web notifications.
Users who add the same web app to their Home Screen on more than one iPhone or iPad will see Focus mode automatically apply to all of them.
Badges for Home Screen Web Apps
Web apps added to the Home Screen can display badges to make users aware of alerts and notifications, similar to badges for regular apps. Badges are shown after a user gives permission to allow notifications, with web apps displaying the current badge count.
Add to Home Screen for Third-Party Browsers
Third-party browsers like Chrome can now let users add websites and web apps to the Home Screen from the Share menu.
Beta Opt-In Changes
With iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, those who are enrolled in Apple's developer program are able to turn on developer betas directly from the Software Update section in the Settings app.
This will eliminate the need to install a profile from the Developer Center in order to get developer betas, simplifying the beta downloading process. There is also an option for public beta testers as well who want to install updates with less hassle.
The change will, however, prevent non-developers from being able to install the developer beta as each installation will need to be linked to an Apple ID associated with a developer profile. Developers and public beta testers will be able to use a different Apple ID than their main Apple ID, if an account is separate.
Note that this will put an end to the public sharing of developer beta profiles as installing a developer beta will require each person to be signed into an Apple ID linked to a developer account.
Apple Books Page Turning Animation
In iOS 16, Apple tweaked Apple Books to eliminate the traditional page turning animation that had been used since the early days of the app, a move that upset some Apple Books users.
iOS 16.4 reintroduces the page turning animation as an option, which is a welcome change for the Apple Books readers who missed it. In the Themes and Settings section of the Books app, there are now three options for page turning: Curl, Slide, and None.
Slide is the iOS 16 default, Curl is the old iOS 15 and earlier animation, and None is an even simpler animation that just shifts from page to page with little fanfare. These features are also available in iPadOS 16.4 for those who read on the iPad.
HomeKit Architecture Upgrade
In the Software Update section of the Home app, iPhone and iPad users who have not yet upgraded to the new architecture are seeing a "Home Upgrade Available" option after updating to iOS 16.4.
The new HomeKit architecture is meant to improve the reliability and efficiency of communication between smart home accessories and Apple devices.
The initial launch caused some HomeKit devices to go missing from HomeKit setups or to be stuck with a "configuring/updating" status. It also resulted in invitations to share the Home with others failing, and it broke HomeKit Secure Video recording for some.
Apple made several updates to the Podcasts app. Channels access is available in the Library section, and Up Next now lets you resume episodes, start saved episodes, and remove episodes you want to skip.
For CarPlay, there's now an option to pick up where you left off on a podcast with Up Next, or find new podcast options in Browse.
Apple Music App Profile
There's now a prominent button for accessing your profile in the Apple Music app, which makes it easier to get to profile settings.
AppleCare Coverage Overview
In the Settings app, there's an updated "Coverage" interface that shows you the warranty information of your iPhone and connected devices like Apple Watches and AirPods.
All of the listed products have a small icon next to them.
Emergency SOS via Satellite
iOS 16.4 introduces an order tracking widget for the Home Screen, which can be used to track purchases made with Apple Pay that are available in the Wallet app. This feature was introduced with iOS 16, and it works with select vendors that support the function.
Apple also now allows users to share order information through a dedicated Share button available in the Wallet app.
PlayStation 5 DualSense Edge Controller Support
iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, tvOS 16.4, and macOS Ventura 13.3 add support for the customizable PlayStation 5 DualSense Edge Wireless Controller that was introduced in January.
There are options in Shortcuts for creating workflows that lock a device's screen and control the always-on display, plus there is an option to automatically enable or disable Stage Manager on the iPad. Apple has also added an option to have Siri announce Notifications as an action that can be incorporated into a Shortcut. There are more than a dozen new shortcut actions in all, and a bunch more actions that have been updated.
New Shortcut Actions:
- Find Books searches your library for books or PDFs matching a given title, author, genre, purchase date, or content type on iOS and macOS
- Intercom broadcasts announcements to your home on iOS and watchOS
- Set VPN connects, disconnects, or sets the On Demand setting for any VPN on iOS and macOS
- Set AirDrop Receiving sets the AirDrop Receiving preference to Everyone, Contacts Only, or Nobody on iOS and macOS
- Set Stage Manager enables or disables and changes the settings for Stage Manager on iPadOS and macOS
- Set Announce Notifications toggles the Announce Notifications setting on iOS and watchOS
- Set Silence Unknown Callers toggles the Silence Unknown Callers setting on iOS
- Set Night Shift and Set True Tone toggle the display settings on iOS and macOS
- Set Always-On Display toggles the Always-On Display on supported iOS devices
- Find Apps finds and filters apps installed on macOS
- Find Displays finds and filters displays on macOS
- Shut Down, Restart, and Lock Display are now available on iOS and macOS
- Log Out, Sleep and Put Display to Sleep are now available on macOS
Updated Shortcut Actions:
- Move Window now allows moving a window to a display on macOS
- Ask for Input has a new "Allow Multiple Lines" option, which can be disabled for single-line text input
- Find Photos can now find screen recordings
- Find Contacts now filters by birthday more accurately
- Get Device Details can now get the OS build number
- Get Device Details now rounds numbers, including the current battery level, volume, and brightness, to remove unnecessary decimal digits
- Set Playback Destination now works when run from Siri
- Play Music once again resumes currently playing music if no music is passed as input
- Run AppleScript can now produce dictionaries as output from AppleScript records
- Nothing now produces a variable with zero items, instead of producing no variable at all
- Repeat can now be set to run 0 times
Content Previews for Mastodon in Messages
When you send a link to a Mastodon post to someone in the Messages app, it now displays a preview of the content that was shared rather than simply a link with an image.
5G for Turkey
5G support has been enabled in Turkey with iOS 16.4.
Tips User Guides
The Tips app now displays user guides for the iPhone and other devices that you might use with an iPhone, including Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod. In previous versions of iOS, the Tips app only offered up the iPhone User Guide.
There's an always-on display filter that can be enabled for a Focus mode.
5G Standalone Support for T-Mobile
5G iPhone owners who use T-Mobile can turn on a new 5G option that allows them to connect to the carrier's 5G Standalone network.
The 5G Standalone network from T-Mobile launched last November and is expected to allow for connection speeds up to 3Gb/s on Samsung smartphones. T-Mobile could soon expand the faster connectivity option to other devices like the iPhone.
More Granular Timing on Satellite Availability for Emergency SOS
For the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature, Apple will now inform users of when the next satellite will be passing by in more detail. Apple used to provide an "Available Soon" and Available in X amount of time options for the feature, but now will give specific hour and minute timelines.
- Next Satellite Available in [x]Hour(s) and [x]Minute(s)
- Next Satellite Available in [x]Hour(s)
- Next Satellite Available in [x]Minute(s)
- Next Satellite Available in Less Than 1 Minute
Always On Display Settings
Apple made some minor tweaks to the Always On Display section in the Settings app on iPhone 14 Pro models. The toggle to turn off Always On Display is now listed under the toggles for showing wallpaper and notifications, rather than above.
Voice Isolation for Cellular Calls
When you make a cellular call, you can now turn on Voice Isolation to cut down on background noise. Voice Isolation was previously available for FaceTime and other VoIP services, and it makes a big difference in call quality.
It can isolate your voice to ensure that the person on the other end of the call can hear you even in a noisy environment.
To turn on Voice Isolation, start a call and then swipe down from the Control Center. Tap on the Mic Mode option and then choose Voice Isolation.
Duplicate Image Removal for iCloud Shared Photo Library
The option to remove duplicate photos that Apple introduced in iOS 16 has been expanded to the iCloud Shared Photo Library in iOS 16.4. If you have an iCloud Shared Photo Library and there are duplicate photos uploaded by multiple people, you can to to the Utilities album and choose the "Duplicates" option to merge them.
Those who use VoiceOver can now activate it for the maps function in the Weather app.
Accessibility Settings for Flashing Lights
For those who are affected by strobe effects or flashing lights, there is an accessibility setting that can dim video when those effects are detected.
Crash Detection Optimizations
Apple has added additional Crash Detection optimizations for the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro to prevent the devices from accidentally triggering Crash Detection in a situation where an accident has not occurred.
Apple Pencil in iPadOS 16.4
In iPadOS 16.4, the Apple Pencil hover feature gains tilt and azimuth support for viewing a mark at any angle before it is made. The addition is available in Notes and other supported apps on the fourth-generation 11-inch iPad and the sixth-generation 12.9-inch iPad.
Apple has also fixed an issue that could impact Apple Pencil responsiveness when drawing or writing in the notes app.
New AirPods Coming?
There are signs of unreleased AirPods in the iOS 16.4 code, including a mention of AirPods with a model number of A3048 and an AirPods Case with a model number of A2968. That does not correspond to any known version of the AirPods, but according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, these accessories could be for an updated USB-C version of the AirPods Pro 2.
Kuo believes that Apple is working on AirPods Pro 2 with a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port, which is in line with rumors that the company is planning to transition to USB-C for the iPhone this year. The standard AirPods will not be updated with USB-C at this time, with Apple instead planning to wait for an AirPods 4 refresh.
Apple Card High-Yield Savings Account
The iOS 16.4 update lays the groundwork for the high-yield savings account for Apple Card owners, which Apple announced back in October. Code in iOS 16.4 has references to routing and account numbers, current balance, interest earned, data management, funds available for withdrawal, and more.
Apple will encourage customers to sign up for a savings account by providing a message that says "Transfer your Apple Cash balance to your savings account and start earning interest today" and "You can transfer up to [amount] from Apple Cash to your savings account in a single transaction and start earning interest today.
As with the Apple Card, the high-yield savings account will be offered through Goldman Sachs. Apple Card owners will be able to opt-in to having their Daily Cash deposited automatically so that it can earn interest. The savings account could officially be introduced in the next iOS 16 update, or Apple could hold it until iOS 17.
There are a few notable bug fixes in iOS 16.4.
- Addresses an issue where Ask to Buy requests from children could fail to appear on the parent's device.
- Fixes a bug where Matter-compatible thermostats could become unresponsive when paired to Apple Home.
Know of something new that we left out? Let us know in the comments below.