iOS 16.6 beta 2 released just ahead of iOS 17’s debut

Apple began the beta testing process for iOS 16.6 just a day after the iOS 16.5 release and about two weeks before the expected first iOS 17 beta arrives at WWDC. The beta was first released to developers first on May 19, and to public beta testers on May 22.

We don’t expect there to be much in the way of new features in this release–iOS 16 is about as mature as it’s going to be, and all eyes are on the impending features announced for iOS 17. Still, small tweaks and usability upgrades are possible just as we got in iOS 16.5, and of course security updates are never-ending.

Update 05/31/23: Apple has released the second beta of iOS 16.6. It is only available for developers now, with the public beta expected soon.

iOS 16.6: New features

We don’t yet know what new features to expect in iOS 16.6. We will update this article as we discover what’s new.

iMessage Contact Key Verification: Though not yet exposed to users, the iOS 16.6 betas contain code to enable iMessage Contact Key Verification. This is an enhanced security measure announced last year to verify the authenticity of iMessage users, aimed at those who have extremely high security demands (like those frequently targeted by state-sponsored digital threats).

iOS 16.6: How to install the public beta

If you want to be among the first to test iOS 16.6, you can sign up for the public beta test. The process for installing a beta has changed in iOS 16.4. Here’s how the new process works:

  1. Click Sign Up on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.
  2. Log in to the Beta Software Program.
  3. Click Enroll your iOS device.
  4. Open the Settings app, tap General, then Software Update.
  5. In the Beta Updates section, select the iOS Public Beta.

It may take a few moments after registering for the beta option to appear in Software Update.

iOS 16.6: How to install the developer beta

You’ll need to be registered as an Apple developer. Joining the Apple Developer Program costs $99 a year.

  1. Register for the Apple developer program at
  2. Open the Settings app, tap General, then Software Update.
  3. In the Beta Updates section, select the iOS Developer Beta.

Registered developers can choose to get the Public Beta instead by selecting iOS Public Beta in the Software Update screen. It may take a little time after registering as a developer for the option to appear in Software Updates.

Some developers have an Apple ID registered for developer access that is different from the Apple ID associated with their personal Apple account and data. To use a different Apple ID for beta access than is used throughout the rest of iOS, open Settings > General > Software Update > Beta Updates and select the Apple ID at the bottom of the screen.

iOS 16.6 beta: Risks and precautions

Note first of all that betas are test versions of upcoming software. They are by definition unfinished, and while they should include most or all of the features in the finished product, there will be cosmetic differences and, inevitably, some glitches and problems that will need to be fixed. The glitches and problems are why Apple bothers to beta-test iOS in the first place.

In other words, don’t expect a perfect user experience. In particular, don’t expect existing apps (including ones that you may rely on) to work perfectly with the new version. In extreme cases, you may even find that your device is bricked by the beta, and cannot be used until the next beta comes along and hopefully fixes the problem. It’s not uncommon for early beta software to exhibit problems like excessive battery drain, too.

The closer we get to the final launch and iOS version, the more polished and feature-complete we can expect the available betas to become. The counter to that, of course, is there will be less time left to wait for the official launch, so you won’t be gaining so much by installing a beta.

Assuming you decide to go ahead, we can’t stress enough how important it is to back up your iPhone before you install an iOS beta, or better still, use a secondary device rather than your main iPhone. You won’t lose everything if something goes wrong while the beta is installing, and you’ll be able to go back to the last version should you find that you don’t like the new software after all, or that it’s too buggy.

Source : Macworld