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Apple Releases iOS 16.6 Beta Just Days Before WWDC

Developers and public beta testers can download the update now.

Zachary McAuliffe Staff writer
Zach began writing for CNET in November, 2021 after writing for a broadcast news station in his hometown, Cincinnati, for five years. You can usually find him reading and drinking coffee or watching a TV series with his wife and their dog.
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  • Apple software beta tester, "Helps make our computers and phones work!" - Zach's grandparents
Zachary McAuliffe
2 min read
iPhone 14 Plus

This beta comes just a few days before WWDC.

James Martin/CNET

Apple released iOS 16.6 beta 2 to public beta testers Thursday, a few days before the company holds its Worldwide Developers Conference. We don't expect many new features with iOS 16.6 since Apple is expected to announce iOS 17 at WWDC.

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New iOS features can be fun, but we recommend only downloading a beta on something other than your primary phone just in case the new software causes issues. Apple also provides beta testers with an app called Feedback. Testers can notify Apple of any issues in the new software with the app, that way the problem can be addressed before general release. 

Here's what could be coming to your iPhone with iOS 16.6.

iMessage Contact Key Verification

Apple announced iMessage Contact Key Verification in December 2022 alongside Security Keys for your iCloud account

"With iMessage Contact Key Verification, users who face extraordinary digital threats … can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend," Apple wrote in a news release at the time.

The first iOS 16.6 beta appeared to include some of the framework for Contact Key Verification, but with iOS 16.6 beta 2, that seems to have disappeared. If you went to Settings and searched for "Contact Key Verification" in the first iOS 16.6 beta, you could see an option for the feature. But that option vanished in the second iOS 16.6 beta.

More Beats Studio Buds icons

The second iOS 16.6 beta adds two new color icons for Beats Studio Buds, according to the website Gadget Hacks. The new color icons are for the ivory and transparent Beats Studio Buds, so if you have either of those earbuds you should see those icons on your iPhone with the latest beta.

New iCloud for Windows prompt

Gadget Hacks also reports iOS 16.6 beta 2 adds a new prompt when you try to log into iCloud for Windows when your iPhone and Windows computer aren't on the same Wi-Fi network. The new prompt reportedly advises you to use a different network and that your iPhone and Windows computer need to be on the same network.

Apple hasn't announced a release date for iOS 16.6. Apple might include more features in iOS 16.6, and there's no guarantee that these features will be included in the update. 

For more iOS news, check out what CNET's Patrick Holland hopes is included in iOS 17 and what iOS 17 should steal from Android 14. You can also check out what's new in iOS 16.5 and why you should download that update now.

Watch this: Apple's WWDC 2023: What We Expect