iOS 16.6 Beta Features: All You Need to Know After 10 Days

Apple has released iOS 16.6 Beta 1 to developers, and has already been released e to public beta testers. This update is compatible with all iOS 16-supported devices and has been released alongside other updates such as iPad OS 16.6 Beta 1, watch OS 9.6 Beta 1, and more. The update is quite large, coming in at 5.44 gigabytes on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. This size is typical when transitioning from a public version to a beta or vice versa, as the OS is reinstalled.

Check: iOS 16.6: A Review and Why You Should Stay Away

Build Number and Modem Update

The build number for this update is 20G 5026e. One of the notable changes in this update is a modem update. The modem version has been bumped up to 1.80.00 on the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max. While the specific changes this brings are yet to be determined, it’s hoped that it will enhance connectivity and reliability.

New Features

Contact Key Verification

One of the new features introduced in this update is the Contact Key Verification. This feature, announced by Apple, is designed to provide an extra layer of security for users who face extraordinary digital threats, such as journalists, human rights activists, and government members. It allows these users to verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend to. While the feature is not yet active, it can be found in the iCloud settings under the Apple ID.

Performance Enhancements

Users have reported a noticeable increase in speed and responsiveness with this update. Animations seem to be quicker, and unlocking the phone using Face ID appears to be faster. The overall performance of the OS feels very fast, even when loading games or other heavy applications. This improvement in speed and responsiveness has been noticed on both the iPhone and the iPad.

Chat GPT

Another new feature is the introduction of Chat GPT, although it seems to be only available in the US at the moment. This indicates that Apple is working on AI on their phones, although no major features related to this are expected with iOS 16.6.

Bug Fixes and Improvements

Apple has stated that the beta version of iOS 16.6 contains bug fixes and improvements, although the specifics of these are not yet known. However, some bugs, such as the notification one and an issue with the health app, are still present.

Performance and Battery Life

The performance of iOS 16.6 Beta 1 seems to be very good, with the OS feeling very fast. The device also stays cool, even after installing a large update. As for battery life, it will take a few days to determine if there are any improvements. However, the battery performance on iOS 16.5 was decent, and this update is hoped to bring further improvements.

Must Read: iOS 16.5 Battery Drain: Tips and Solutions to Extend Your Device’s Battery Life

Should You Install iOS 16.6 Beta 1?

Unless you’re a developer or you’re testing software, there’s not really a reason to install iOS 16.6 Beta 1 at this point. It’s recommended to wait and see how stable it is over the next few days before installing it.

Future Expectations

The next version, iOS 16.6 Beta 2, is expected to be released in a week or two. Following that, iOS 17 is expected to be announced at WWDC 2023 on June 5th, with the first beta version typically available for developers. This final release is usually scheduled for September, before the iPhone 15 launch. As we approach the release of iOS 17, it’s unlikely that we’ll see many more feature updates with iOS 16. However, we can expect to see more betas, bug fixes, and security updates until September.


In terms of performance, iOS 16.6 Beta 1 seems to be doing well. Benchmarks run on the iPhone 14 Pro Max showed a slight increase in multi-core performance compared to the previous version, although the single-core performance was a bit slower. Despite this, the overall performance feels fast and responsive, with apps loading quickly and animations running smoothly.

Final Words

iOS 16.6 Beta 1 brings a number of changes and improvements, including a modem update, the introduction of Contact Key Verification, and noticeable performance enhancements. While some bugs are still present, the overall performance and speed of the OS have been improved. However, it’s recommended to wait for further stability testing before installing this update unless you’re a developer or tester. With iOS 17 on the horizon, we can expect to see more updates and improvements in the coming months.

Remember, keeping your devices updated with the latest software versions is crucial to ensure optimal performance and security. Stay tuned for more updates and information on future iOS releases.

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