Apple in late October began testing iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, providing betas to both developers and public beta testers. As of now, we’ve had four total betas, with the fourth beta having been released earlier this week. iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 are expected before the end of the year, and we thought we’d try to narrow down the launch timeline.
With only four betas released since October, iOS 16.2 still has some testing time remaining before we can expect a release. At the very least, we’ll have a release candidate before iOS 16.2 is launched, but there is a possibility we’ll also see another beta too.
We typically see five or more betas before a release candidate, but timelines get crunched during the holiday season. Last year, Apple seeded just four betas of iOS 15.2 before the RC and subsequent launch, so we could see something similar this year. If that’s the plan, Apple could provide us with the release candidate version of iOS 16.2 next week, likely on Tuesday, December 6.
With that in mind, we could see an iOS 16.2 launch the week of December 12. The week of December 19 is also a possibility if there are more betas on the horizon, but that’s during Hanukkah and close to Christmas. Last year’s iOS 15.2 launch happened on Monday, December 13, after Apple provided the fourth beta on December 2 and the RC on December 7.
Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has said we can expect iOS 16.2 in mid-December, which would line up with the week of December 12 estimate. Apple has confirmed that some of the features in the update, such as the Freeform app, are indeed coming before the end of the year.
We can even expect to see initial betas of iOS 16.3 before December ends.
Most Notable Features
- Freeform App – Freeform is a cross-platform open-ended whiteboard app that can be used for jotting down notes, sketching, drawing, saving links, and more, with built-in collaboration features. It is available in the latest iPhone, iPad, and Mac betas.
- Stage Manager External Display Support iPad owners who have an M1 or M2 iPad can once again use Stage Manager with external displays. Up to eight apps can be used for multitasking purposes, and there’s a useful new option for dragging a window from an iPad to an external display and vice versa. While older iPads can use Stage Manager, external display support is limited to Apple silicon models.
- New Home App Architecture – The iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1 updates add support for an updated Home app architecture that Apple is introducing following the debut of Matter. The new app architecture will provide faster, more reliable performance in homes with many smart accessories, but it does require that your entire suite of devices be updated to the latest software.
- Always On Display Updates – For iPhone 14 Pro models, there are two new toggles for disabling wallpaper and notifications when the always on display feature is activated. This cuts down on what’s shown on the screen when it is off for fewer distractions.
- Lock Screen Sleep Widget – The Lock Screen has gained a Sleep widget for those who use the sleep functionality on the Apple Watch.
- Lock Screen Medication Widget – There’s also a Medication widget that lets you know when you need to take a medication.
- News in the Weather App – When there’s relevant weather-related news in your area, such as information about a hurricane or a fire, you will see news headlines in the Weather app.
- 5G in India – iOS 16.2 will bring 5G connectivity to India.
We have a complete list of all the features that are available in the iOS 16.2 update in our dedicated iOS 16.2 guide.