There's a new version of the iOS 16 beta out, and this time, the focus isn't on new features so much as it is on how the pace of updates is picking up.
Beta 6 for iOS 16 became available to developers yesterday (August 15), a week after iOS 16 beta 5 debuted. There was a 12-day gap between the beta 4 and beta 5 releases and an even longer wait between beta 3 and beta 4.
Even more noteworthy: iOS 16 beta 6 is already available the public. Usually, there's a longer wait between the release of a developer beta and a public one.
The quickened pace — and lack of extensive new additions to the iOS 16 beta — suggests that the focus now is on stability and ironing out bugs, as Apple gets closer to the likely September launch of its new iPhone software. Apple typically rolls out its full iOS update right before the new iPhones come out. And a rumor emerged last week that Apple is eyeing a September 6 date for its annual fall product launch, where it would be expected to unveil the iPhone 14.
Whether that happens at the beginning of September or at some other point in the fall, the clock is clearly ticking on a finalized version of iOS 16. So it seems likely that updates to the beta from here on out are going to focus on getting the software release ready for a general audience.
To that end, here's the not-so-lengthy list of new additions to iOS 16 beta 6.
Toggling off the battery percentage indicator in Low Power Mode
You may remember that iOS 16 beta 5 brought back the ability to display the percentage of remaining power in the status bar — a feature that had disappeared with the arrival of the iPhone X in 2017. Prior to iOS 16 beta 5, if you wanted to see the battery percentage on an iPhone with a notch, you had to swipe your way into the control center.
That feature is still there in iOS 16 beta 6, but with a twist — you have the ability to turn off the percentage indicator when your phone is in Low Power mode.
You access the battery percentage indicator by launching the Settings app and selecting Battery. On the subsequent scree, you'll find two toggles at the top — one turns on the battery percentage, and the other activates Low Power Mode.
If you find that percentage too distracting when you're in LowPower Mode, simply slide the battery percentage toggle to the left. The percentage then disappears from the status bar.
Live Activities goes MIA
Your iPhone lock screen is due for a lot of changes in iOS 16, highlighted by the ability to customize the look of your screen while also adding widgets. Among the iOS 16 widgets Apple has planned is one called a Live Activity widget: the idea is that for persistent alerts like sports scores and the status of ride sharing vehicles, a widget will live at the bottom of your lock screen keeping you notified of any changes.
In iOS 16 beta 4, a Live Activities API appeared, presumably to give developers a chance to test the feature with their own apps. As of iOS 16 beta 6, though, there's no longer support for live activities for third-party apps according to a developer posting on Twitter.
iOS 16 Beta 6 no longer seems to support Live Activities for third party apps. Any (beta-)app which tries to use them just completely crash now. https://t.co/S7bp6QO7ztAugust 15, 2022
The Live Activities feature wasn't expected to arrive at the same time as the rest of iOS 16, with Apple saying it would go live in a later update. Still, it's surprising to see support disappear, as you'd imagine app makers would like to continue testing the capability.
Downloading iOS 16 beta 6
If you haven't already tried out iOS 16, you can still download the iOS 16 public beta. All you'll need is an iPhone 8 or later. Refer to our iOS 16 public beta hands-on to see what to expect once you install the beta on your iPhone.
Besides the ability to customize your iPhone lock screen, iOS 16 promises a number of changes to apps like Maps, Safari, Mail and Messages. Live Text can now capture text from paused videos and the Visual Look Up feature has been updated to allow you to copy and paste the subject in photos after removing them from the photo's background. Siri can recognize emoji when you're dictating texts and email messages as well.
Next: iPhone 14 launch event just tipped for September 7. And we have all the details.
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Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.