The third beta of iOS 14.6 for the iPhone is available to developers.
Patrick HollandManaging Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
At the heart of Apple's AirTag is the Find My network, which has nearly 1 billion devices on it, including iPhones, Macs, Apple Watches, AirPods and now third-party items such as bikes and headphones. The idea is that if you lose your keys and they have an AirTag attached, as soon as another Find My device comes within Bluetooth range of your keys, your AirTag will communicate anonymously in the background with the device to tell your phone the location of your lost keys.
Lost Mode has a cool discovery feature that can be triggered with an NFC-enabled phone, either Android or iOS. If someone came across your keys they can tap their phone against the AirTag and be brought to a website that displays your contact phone number, if you left one.
You might be nervous about leaving your phone number as a means of contact. The developer version of iOS 14.6 beta 3, which came out on Monday, gives you the option to leave an email address instead of your phone number. When you enable Lost Mode within the Find My app, a window pop ups with a field to enter your phone number. Above the field is a blue text button that reads Use an email address. Simply tap on it and the phone number field will change into an email address field. If someone comes across your missing item with an AirTag attached, they will be able to contact you via email instead of a phone call.
Watch this: We compare Apple AirTags against Tile trackers
The release of the iOS 14.6 beta 3 comes less than two months before Apple's annual developer conference, WWDC, which will be held virtually in June. Apple is expected to announce new versions of its operating systems, including MacOS, WatchOS and iPadOS. It's likely that iOS 15 will be announced and that it could be available to download as a public beta later this summer -- iOS 14 was available in early July.