iOS 16 tile next to an iPhone showing the Apple logo

Beta testers can try these new iOS 16 features now.
Rafael Henrique via Getty Images

On Tuesday, Apple started seeding iOS 16.3 beta 2 to developers ahead of the wide release of iOS 16.3. While the second iOS 16.3 beta is only available to developers, public beta testers can try the first iOS 16.3 beta now. The first beta was released shortly after the release of iOS 16.2, and much like that update, the first beta has a few new features. 

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As always, we recommend only downloading a beta on something other than your primary device. Since this is a beta version of iOS 16.3, these features might be buggy and your device’s battery life may be shortened, and it’s best to keep that on a secondary device.

If you’re a public beta tester, here’s what’s new in the iOS 16.3 beta. Note that the beta is still ongoing, so these likely won’t be the only new features to land on your iPhone when iOS 16.3 is released. There’s no word on the public release for iOS 16.3 just yet.

Security keys come to Apple ID

Security Keys screen in iOS 16.3 betaSecurity Keys screen in iOS 16.3 beta

Security keys add more protection to your device.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

With the iOS 16.3 beta, users will be able to use third-party security keys instead of two-factor authentication for their Apple ID. 

Security keys are a lot like keys to your home. You still use passwords, but this extra layer of security can help protect you against phishing scams and hackers.

“Hardware security keys are very, very secure,” Diya Jolly, chief product officer of authentication service company Okta, told CNET’s Stephen Shankland.

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

New HomePod Handoff prompts

Beta testers who have an Apple HomePod will be shown new messages when trying to use Handoff to transfer music, podcasts or phone calls over to the speaker. The messages further explain how Handoff works with your HomePod.

One message instructs you to bring your iPhone closer to the HomePod to view controls or to transfer your audio over to the HomePod. Another message says you can bring your iPhone closer to your HomePod again later to view those same controls or to transfer music.

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Those are the major new features beta testers will see in the iOS 16.3 beta. That doesn’t mean these are the only features coming to the next iOS update. Apple will likely add more features before the release of iOS 16.3. 

For more iOS 16 news, check out the new features in iOS 16.2 and iOS 16.1. Here’s how to sign up to test Apple’s iOS beta software, too.

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