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iOS 16.6 beta 3 now available to developers even though iOS 17 testing has begun

Published Jun 15th, 2023 1:34PM EDT
iOS 16.4 beta
Image: Apple Inc.

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A week after the WWDC 2023 keynote, Apple is finally ready to release iOS 16.6 beta 3 – and not the iOS 17 beta 2 developer everyone is waiting for. This operating system beta cycle started a few weeks before Apple’s major announcements and will continue for a little longer.

At the moment, there are no visible changes on iOS 16.6 beta. After a small iOS 16.5 update, Apple is still sharpening its software as the company prepares iOS 17 for a fall release.

iOS developer Steve Moser shared on his Twitter that Apple has added references for Contact Key Verification with the first beta build of iOS 16.6. It shows as a search result in Settings but is still inactive.

iMessage Contact Key Verification is a feature announced by the company at the end of 2022. While Apple has already rolled out Security Keys for Apple ID and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud during the iOS 16 cycle, the firm still had to release that other function.

For those unaware, iMessage Contact Key Verification lets users verify if they are communicating only with whom they intend. This is especially helpful for journalists, human rights activists, and government members.

Apple says that “conversations between users who have enabled iMessage Contact Key Verification receive automatic alerts if an exceptionally advanced adversary, such as a state-sponsored attacker, were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop on these encrypted communications. And for even higher security, iMessage Contact Key Verification users can compare a Contact Verification Code in person, on FaceTime, or through another secure call.”

As of now, it’s unclear if the new version of iOS 16 will bring this feature, but Apple has already started testing it. In addition, Steve Moser says Apple continues to work on Sports related features in the TV app, although he couldn’t disclose what’s new.

Besides iOS 16.6, Apple is also beta testing iPadOS 16.6, watchOS 9.6, macOS 13.5, and tvOS 16.6. BGR will let you know throughout this beta cycle what’s new.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.