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iOS 16.4 Beta 4: New Features Beta Testers Can Try Now

Public beta testers can have a go at these new features now before the release of iOS 16.4.

iOS 16 logo on a yellow background
These features are available only to beta testers.
Nelson Aguilar/CNET

The wait for iOS 16.4 is almost over. Apple released iOS 16.4 beta 4 to public beta testers Thursday, about a week after the company released the third iOS 16.4 public beta. This fourth beta means the wide unveiling of iOS 16.4 is probably close at hand. Beta testers can now try out new iOS features, including new emoji.

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These features are available only to people who are a part of Apple's Beta Software Program. New iOS features can be fun, but we recommend downloading a beta only onto something other than your primary phone, just in case the new software causes issues. Apple provides beta testers with an app called Feedback. The app lets testers notify Apple of any issues in the new software so the problem can be addressed before general release. 

Here are some of the new features testers can find in the iOS 16.4 betas.

Apple Books updates

The iOS 16.4 beta 2 update brings the page-turn curl animation back to Apple Books, after it was removed in a previous iOS update. Before, when you turned a page in an e-book on your iPhone, the page would slide to one side of your screen or it would vanish and be replaced by the next page. Beta testers can still choose these other page-turn animations in addition to the curl animation.

With iOS 16.4 beta 4, a new popup appears when you open Apple Books for the first time after downloading the update. It lets you know you can change your page-turn animation, theme and more. 

31 new emoji

The first iOS 16.4 beta software brought 31 new emoji to your iOS device. The new emoji include a new smiley; new animals, like a moose and a goose; and new heart colors, like pink and light blue. 

9 of the new emoji, arranged in a grid on a pink background: peapod, hair pick, goose, hand, smiley, gray heart, maracas, donkey, wifi signal

Some of the new emoji released in the first iOS 16.4 beta.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The new emoji all come from Unicode's September 2022 recommendation list, Emoji 15.0

Apple Podcasts updates

The first beta brought a few changes to how you navigate Apple Podcasts. Now you can access podcast channels you subscribe to in your Library. You can also use Up Next to resume podcast episodes you've started, start episodes you've saved and remove episodes you want to skip. 

Apple ID and beta software updates

Text that reads You can sign in with a different Apple ID that is enrolled in the Apple Beta Software Program or the Apple Developer Program

The latest beta lets you sign into another Apple ID to access other beta software.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

With the third iOS 16.4 beta, developers and beta testers can check whether their Apple ID is associated with the developer beta, public beta or both. If you have a different Apple ID, like one for your job, that has access to beta updates, iOS 16.4 beta 3 also lets you switch to that account from your device.

Preview Mastodon links in Messages

Apple's first iOS 16.4 beta enabled rich previews of Mastodon links in Messages. That's good because Mastodon saw a 400% increase in the rate of new accounts in December, so you might be receiving Mastodon links in Messages.

Music app changes

The Kid Cudi album Man On the Moon artwork with the track list below

A small banner appears at the bottom of the screen when you choose to play a song next in Apple Music in the frst iOS 16.4 beta.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

The Music interface has been slightly modified in the first iOS 16.4 beta. When you add a song to your queue, a small banner appears near the bottom of your screen instead of a full-screen pop-up.

See who and what is covered under AppleCare

Starting with iOS 16.4 beta 1, you could go to Settings to check who and what devices are covered on your AppleCare plan. With iOS 16.4 beta 2, this menu will show you a small icon next to each device that's covered under AppleCare. 

Focus Mode, Shortcuts and always-on display

If you have an iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, iOS 16.4 beta 1 lets you enable or disable the always-on display option with certain Focus Modes. A new option in Shortcuts called Set Always on Display was also added, in addition to new Lock Screen and Set VPN actions.

New Apple Wallet widgets

You can add three new order-tracking widgets for Apple Wallet to your home screen with the first iOS 16.4 beta. Each widget displays your tracking information on active orders, but the widgets are different sizes: small, medium and large.

No Active Orders displayed in the Apple Wallet widget

The medium-size Apple Wallet order tracking widget takes up three tile spaces on your iPhone's screen.

Zach McAuliffe/CNET

More accessibility options

The first beta update added a new accessibility option, too. The new option is called Dim Flashing Lights, and it can be found in the Motion menu in Settings. The option's description says video content that depicts repeated flashing or strobing lights will automatically be dimmed. Video timelines will also show when flashing lights will occur.

New keyboards, Siri voices and language updates

The first iOS 16.4 beta added keyboards for the Choctaw and Chickasaw languages, and there are new Siri voices for Arabic and Hebrew. Language updates have also come to Korean, Ukrainian, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu. 

There's no word on when iOS 16.4 will be released to the general public. There's no guarantee these beta features will be released with iOS 16.4, or that these will be the only features released with the update.

For more, check out how to become an Apple beta testerwhat was included in iOS 16.3.1 and features you may have missed in iOS 16.3.

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