iOS 16.6 beta 1 is out: Here’s what’s new for your iPhone

Apple has released the first beta for iOS 16.6. This is a test version of the next iPhone update, but what new functions are hidden in it? This is what we know about iOS 16.6 beta 1.

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iOS 16.6 beta 1

Last Thursday, Apple released iOS 16.5, but iOS 16.6 beta 1 followed the day after. This is a test version of the next iOS update. For now, it’s only available to developers – a public beta will follow – and it’s probably one of the last updates before the release of iOS 17.

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What’s new?

The only new thing in iOS 16.6 beta 1 is a switch to activate the ‘iMessage Contact Key’. This is a verification system for the Messages app: with a code you can verify that you are communicating with the right conversation partner, not someone who pretends to be someone else. This is especially useful for journalists or other critics living in a country with an authoritarian regime. They then know for sure that government bodies do not read their conversations.

However, the question is whether this feature will work at all once iOS 16.6 is launched. In the current beta, this switch does not seem to do anything yet – even if you activate it. That’s why we expect the update to mainly focus on bug fixes and performance improvements.

Install beta

Do you want to install the beta? In that case, sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program. Then grab your iPhone and go to ‘Settings>General>Software Update’ and enable the use of betas. Then you can install iOS 16.6 yourself. At least, as soon as the public beta is available.

Keep in mind that a beta is a test version. In other words, it is still full of system errors, bugs and other problems. We therefore recommend that you only install a beta on an old device that is gathering dust somewhere – not on the iPhone you use every day.

iOS 16.6 release date

For now, it remains a question when iOS 16.6 will be available to everyone. We expect around June, but this is only the first beta, so there will be a few more test versions before that happens. Want to be kept up to date with the latest iOS 16 news until release? And from other Apple news? Then sign up for our free newsletter.

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