iOS 16.3 was a small update that focused on fixing bugs and patching some security loopholes. But that is not going to be the case with the upcoming iOS 16.4 update. It is a filled to the brim with new features. While the beta builds of iOS 16.4 are already out for testing, we expect the stable build of iOS 16.4 to roll out during March or April. If you are eager to know what new features this update packs, we have compiled a list of the top 7 features of iOS 16.4 that improve the user experience.
1. New Emoji
iOS 16.4 adds support for new emojis that were first introduced with Unicode 15.0 back in September 2022. There are a total of 21 new emojis including the shaking face, pink heart, blue heart, gray heart, wings, goose, moose, donkey, pea pod, ginger, flute, etc.
It usually takes Apple a long time to release new emojis because the designers need to create these icons in accordance with the information provided by the Unicode Consortium. Note that these emojis are also available on iPadOS 16.4 and macOS 13.3.
Apart from support for Unicode 15.0 emojis, there are a few other updates to the keyboard. Autocorrect will be enabled by default for the Korean keyboard, while the Ukrainian keyboard will support predictive text. Gujarati, Punjabi, and Urdu keyboards support translation. Finally, there are two new keyboard layouts for Choctaw and Chickasaw.
2. Push Notifications From Web Apps
Apple announced that web apps would be able to send push notifications at the Worldwide Developers Conference 2022. The feature has finally made its way to iOS and beginning with iOS 16.4, web apps and websites added to your iPhone’s Home Screen can send push notifications by making use of Push API, Notifications API, etc.
These notifications perform exactly like notifications from installed apps – displayed on the Lock Screen, Notification Center, and on the paired Apple Watch – granted that you allow it the required permissions. Additionally, the web apps added to the screen will also display badges for notifications.
Earlier, you could add websites or web apps to your iPhone’s Home Screen only through the Safari browser. However, beginning with iOS 16.4, this feature is no longer exclusive to Safari. You can now add websites or web apps to your iPhone’s Home Screen from any third-party browser.
3. Changes to the Podcast App
With iOS 16.4, the Apple Podcast app has a few changes that improve the overall experience. Firstly, a new section named Channels is added to the Library menu. So, if you follow or are subscribed to a podcast that belongs to a channel, the channel will be listed in this section.
When you tap on any of the listed channels, it will display the podcast you follow or are subscribed to under “My Shows,” followed by all other podcasts produced by the same channel. It will help you come across more podcasts from the same brand.
The Up Next feature also receives some updates. It will automatically queue new episodes from podcasts you follow and give you a choice to decide what to play next. Also, this queue will include episodes from the shows you’ve added to the library or from shows you listen to but do not follow. To top it off, the Up Next feature alongside the Browse menu makes its way to Apple CarPlay.
4. Focus Filter for Always on Display
While the Always on Display is a great addition to the iPhone 14 Pro series, it is also a cause of distraction for many. Especially when you have a Focus mode enabled. However, that changes with iOS 16.4 as you can finally set the Always on Display to automatically turn off when you enable a particular Focus mode.
Here’s how to disable the Always on Display using Focus Filters.
- Open Settings and navigate to Focus.
- Select the Focus mode you want to make this change.
- Scroll down and tap Focus Filters.
- Select Always on Display under the System Filters option.
- Turn off the Always on Display toggle on the next page.
- Tap Add at the top right corner.
Now, whenever you enable this particular Focus mode on your iPhone, the Always on Display will be automatically disabled.
5. Support for New Shortcut Actions
Shortcuts app also has several new actions added to its arsenal with iOS 16.4. My favorite addition is the Lock Screen shortcut that simply locks the device. It eliminates the need to use the side button, and you can directly lock your iPhone from its Home Screen.
The VPN shortcut is also extremely useful as it can connect, disconnect or change the On Demand settings of a VPN configuration on the device. Some other newly added Shortcut actions are Set Silence Unknown Callers, Set Stage Manager, Set True Tone, Set Announce Notifications, Shut Down, Intercom, etc.
6. Revamped iOS Beta Updates
The iOS Developer Beta updates receive a major overhaul with iOS 16.4. The beta profile system is no longer supported. Instead, if you are a registered member of the Apple Developer Program, you can switch from Developer Beta to Public Beta right from the Software Updates option in the Settings menu.
In order to be qualified to use this feature, you must use the same email on your iPhone with which you have joined the Apple Developer Program. Everyone who wants early access to iOS beta builds must pay the $100 fee and register for the Apple Developer Program. However, the Public Beta will remain free like it always has.
7. Improved 5G Support
iOS 16.4 will enable 5G network support on iPhones in Turkey. Also, a new 5G Standalone toggle is added to the Cellular Settings on your iPhone. It is available for iPhones on the T-Mobile network as they introduced this Standalone (SA) last year.
Also, if your iPhone is on the AT&T carrier, iOS 16.4 allows access to the operator’s 3.45GHz spectrum. However, the feature is only available for the iPhone 14 series. If you meet both requirements, you can expect a substantial increase in Cellular Data speeds.
Other Changes Coming With iOS 16.4
Apart from the above-listed updates, iOS 16.4 adds new animations to the Apple Music app, reintroduces the new HomeKit architecture, adds an option to check the warranty of all your Apple devices right from Settings, and a lot more. The update also fixes several bugs, especially issues with iCloud and the recently introduced Advanced Data Protection feature.