iOS 16.3: New iPhone Features You Can Try Now

Apple released iOS 16.3 on January 23, and the update brings new features, bug fixes, and security updates for people with an iPhone 8 or later. One of the biggest new features in iOS 16.3 means you can now use security keys to protect your Apple ID.

This update was also released alongside updates to other Apple software, like iPadOS, Safari, and previous versions of iOS. The latest iOS update comes about a month after the release of iOS 16.2.

Here are the new features coming to your iPhone with iOS 16.3.

Security keys are coming to Apple ID

Users can now use third-party security keys instead of two-factor authentication for their Apple ID.

Security keys are a lot like your house keys. You’re still using passwords, but that extra layer of security can help protect you from phishing scams and hackers.

Security Keys screen in iOS 16.3 beta

Security keys further protect your device.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

“Hardware security keys are very, very secure,” said Diya Jolly, product manager at authentication services company Okta. Deadline’s Stephen Shankland.

Apple’s security keys feature only works with FIDO Alliance certified security keys.

Second-generation HomePod support

Apple’s iOS 16.3 software will support Second-generation HomePod, which is set to release on February 3 for $299 (£299, AU$479). Apple announced the release of the new HomePod four days before the latest iOS software was made available.

New Unity Wallpaper for Black History Month

A green, black and red wallpaper

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

The latest iOS update includes a new iPhone wallpaper as part of Apple’s Black Unity collection. The collection celebrates Black History Month with a special-edition Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop, mosaic dial, and new iPhone wallpaper. Apple also plans to release selected Black History Month content for Apple TV, Fitness Plus, Music, Maps, Books, Podcasts and App Store as part of the collection.

New ways to use Emergency SOS via satellite

Satellite emergency SOS was introduced to Apple’s event in September. In iOS 16.3, the Call waiting the option has been replaced by Call with wait and release. If you activate Call with wait and release, you can press and hold the side button and a volume button to trigger a countdown timer and an alarm. After the countdown, you release the buttons and your iPhone will call emergency services on its own. Before with Call waiting, press the side button and a volume button to bring up the emergency SOS call slider. If you continue to hold the buttons, a countdown starts and an alarm sounds. After the countdown is over, your phone would make an emergency call.

There is also an option to Call quietly in Emergency SOS. By enabling this option, when you try to make an emergency SOS call, your phone will not start flashing or sound an alarm.

Here is the list of new features and changes included in iOS 16.3.

  • The new Unity wallpaper pays homage to black history and culture to celebrate Black History Month.
  • Apple ID security keys allow users to increase account security by requiring a physical security key as part of the two-factor authentication sign-in process on new devices.
  • Support for HomePod (second generation).
  • Emergency SOS calls now require holding down the side button with the volume up or down button and then releasing it to avoid inadvertent emergency calls.
  • Addresses an issue in Freeform where certain drawing strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger may not appear on shared boards.
  • Fixes an issue where the wallpaper may appear black on the lock screen.
  • Addresses an issue where horizontal lines may temporarily appear when waking up the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
  • Fixes an issue where the Home Lock Screen widget does not accurately display the status of the Home app.
  • Fixes an issue where Siri may not respond correctly to music requests
  • Fixes issues where Siri requests in CarPlay may not be understood correctly.

For more information on iOS 16, check out the new features added in iOS 16.2 and iOS 16.1. Here’s how you can sign up to test Apple’s iOS beta softwarealso.

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