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iOS 16 beta 7 arrives, with a full release right around the corner

iOS 16 beta 7 is available
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Another week, another iOS 16 beta update, as Apple continues to fine-tune its iPhone software update in advance of an anticipated full release in a few weeks.

iOS 16 beta 7 is available to developers now, with the public beta likely to appear within 24 hours, if Apple follows the same pattern it used with iOS 16 beta 6, released just a week ago. The new version of iOS 16 continues the sped-up pace of beta updates — usually a sure sign that the full version is just about ready for prime time.

In fact, iOS 16 beta 7 arrives a few days after a Bloomberg report (opens in new tab) that Apple engineers had finished work on the iOS 16 release, with the software update coming in September alongside watchOS 9. Meanwhile, iPadOS 16 is officially delayed, as Apple confirmed that iPads won't receive their software update until after iOS 16 arrives.

Reports last week pointed to a September 7 date for the next Apple September event, where the company should take the wraps off the iPhone 14. Given Apple's past track record, major iOS updates usually arrive a few days before new phones. With Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tipping Sept. 16 as the date the iPhone 14 goes on sale, that would mean iOS 16 would be available sometime that week. In other words, we're about three weeks away from the iOS launch.

As a consequence, you won't find many new features in iOS 16 beta 7, if you find any at all. Apple only notes that "bug fixes and improvements" are contained in this release, with the full release notes (opens in new tab) offering further details on what's been tweaked. Last week's iOS 16 beta 6 update was similarly free of new additions, with the biggest change involving a modification to the battery percentage indicator that's returning to the home screen in iOS 16.

Our iOS 16 public beta hands-on details the bigger changes coming with this software update. iOS 16 lets you customize your iPhone lock screen, adding widgets that show the temperature, upcoming appointments and other details. A number of built-in apps gain new features like the ability to edit texts in Messages or capture text from videos using iOS 16's Live Text capabilities. A new Fitness app arrives with iOS 16, as Maps, Safari, Photos and other returning apps see a series of improvements.

You can download the iOS 16 public beta now — the software's so polished, I'm now using iOS 16 on my everyday iPhone. But even if you're not willing to install beta software on your phone, the arrival of iOS 16 beta 7 this week suggests that you won't have long to wait for the finished product.

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.