Apple wasted no time releasing the first beta version of iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 to developers just days after the public release of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1.
Looking at the official release notes (opens in new tab), we see that the beta will finally allow people to get their hands on the Freeform iPad app, which was first revealed in June 2022 during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). It is a digital canvas that allows users to collaborate on projects alongside others. Stage Manager is seeing the return of support for external displays, but only for iPads M1 and M2 as Apple continues to figure out what to do with the desktop management app.
What’s coming to iOS 16.2 is still technically unknown, but people across the internet are spilling the beans. An addition is a new accidental reporting notice for emergency SOS feature discovered by a Twitter user (opens in new tab), which can be useful when someone accidentally activates the emergency support tool. If you trigger Emergency SOS, your iPhone will ask if you did this intentionally. It looks like Apple is trying to collect some data on the tool for a possible update.
Changes in iPadOS 16.2
When it comes to the Freeform app, it is not known how complete the app is, but looking at reports online (opens in new tab), looks very close to completion. All features shown in June initial announcement (opens in new tab) appear to be present, including the ability to add sticky notes for planning, support for the Apple Pencil, and the various drawing tools. But it is not ready for release as there are still some glitches to resolve.
Apple mentions that it has found that Freeform boards cannot be deleted if the device is offline, and sometimes iCloud data is turned off randomly for the app. It’s working on a fix for this, but in the meantime, the company recommends as a temporary solution to go into the iPad settings and add an iCloud permission for Freeform.
Stage Manager can now show up to eight different apps on an external screen thanks to the aforementioned display support. The feature has had a rough time since its launch on iPadOS 16, being bogged down by bugs and a rather confusing user interface (opens in new tab). While the issues are being resolved, Apple has added another one to the list. The release notes mention an issue in Stage Manager where “dragging a second window to the workspace” will hide the recent apps list, throwing everything to the far right of the screen.
Coming to iOS 16
iOS 16.2 will see the “architecture” of the Home app restructured to deliver better performance for smart home devices, according to reports.
Devices with ProMotion displays (like the iPhone 14 range) will have their SwiftUI adjusted to support a 120Hz refresh rate on their “animated layout changes”. And hidden in the code, 9to5Mac discovered a new version of Live Activities (opens in new tab) which “will provide more frequent updates” but is currently inactive.
We reached out to Apple to ask about the beta version, i.e. the Home app, and asked if the Home app’s performance boost is in any way related to the Matter standard launched in early October. We also asked when 16.2 will be made available to the public. Right now, the beta is a part of the Apple Developer Program (opens in new tab) which you must subscribe if you want to access. This story will be updated if we receive a response.
If you’re interested in learning more about Apple’s latest offering, be sure to check out our guide to the five features worth checking out in iPadOS 16.1.