iOS 16 beta 6 changes and features – small refinements

Apple released the sixth developer beta for iOS 16 two days ago, as we inch closer and closer to the final September release. As expected, iOS 16 beta 6 includes a few new changes, but they are mostly minor in nature. Watch my brief full hands-on video for the details, and be sure to subscribe to Cellular on YouTube for more.

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What’s new in iOS 16 developer beta 6?

  • Updated two up styling for Notification Center in landscape
  • Simpler customize wallpaper experience
  • Disable battery percentage with Low Power Mode enabled
  • Updated Lock Screen album artwork size
  • Updated default Home Screen

Apple also released the 4th public beta for iOS 16 to correspond with the developer beta 6 release. What are your thoughts on iOS 16 thus far?

iOS 16 beta 5 changes and features

The fifth developer beta for iOS 16 is now available, and it includes the return of a long-abandoned feature that has caused quite a bit of chatter around Apple circles. Apple has given users the ability to add a battery percentage indicator to the iOS status bar, a feature that was removed with the launch of the iPhone X back in 2018.

Watch my hands-on video as I step through the pros and cons of the new battery percentage status bar indicator, along with other new changes and features. Be sure to subscribe to Cellular on YouTube for more videos like this.

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Battery Percentage

In iOS 16 beta 4, the battery percentage returns as an option for the status bar. Ever since the iPhone X, the first phone with a so-called notch, Apple removed the ability to view the battery percentage from the status bar on the Home Screen and while within apps. The battery icon remained in the status bar while on the Home Screen, but only provided a visual representation of the approximate battery life remaining using size and color.

Users needed to invoke Control Center to view the exact battery percentage on iPhone X and above models up until now.

In iOS 16 developer beta 5, the option to add the battery percentage back to the status bar on a full time basis. To enable battery percentage on your iPhone, go to Settings → Battery, and enable the Battery Percentage switch.

The battery is now represented by a fully filled in battery glyph that remains full until the battery reaches 20% remaining. When the battery reaches 20%, the battery glyph’s interior turns red, and is significantly reduced to indicate the small amount of battery remaining. Up until then, even if you only had 21% life, the battery would appear completely full visually.

The battery glyph appears white when on a dark background, and white when on a light background. The battery percentage appears directly on top of the glyph as a numerical value, devoid of an actual percent sign.

Swiping down in the upper right-hand corner of the status bar reveals the same battery UI on previous versions of iOS, with the battery percentage (with percent sign), and a visual representation of the battery state of charge. It’s a pretty inconsistent UI at this point, but that is to be expected given that this is a beta.

If your iPhone enters Low Power Mode, you’ll notice that battery percentage is automatically enabled, and you don’t have a choice to turn it off.

As I noted on Twitter, I’m not a big fan of this UI, because the battery indicator on the status bar appears full until the battery drops to 20% or below:

Again, this is a work in progress. So we shouldn’t overreact about this. It’s nice that Apple is at least considering giving users a choice, and hopefully a refined version will appear in the shipping version of iOS 16 later this fall.

New Copy & Delete Option for screenshots

If you take a Screenshot, tap on the screenshot overlay, and tap Done in the upper left-hand corner, you’ll see a new option on the sheet that appears to Copy and Delete the Screenshot. This is handy if you only wish to paste said screenshot, and have no desire to keep it in your photo library. This is a welcomed new addition, and props to Apple for including more advanced features like this.

Lock Screen Now Playing UI

The Now Playing UI on the iOS 16 Lock Screen has gone through a whole slew of refinements and changes in iOS 16, and the trend continues in beta 5.

You’ll find a new waveform visualizer on the Now Playing interface when music is actually playing. This is handy for those times when you can’t actually hear the music at the moment — perhaps the volume is down, or your headphones are out of your ears — but want to still recognize that playback is occurring.

There are also brand new button animations for the transport controls on the Lock Screen Now Playing UI. You’ll notice that these updated animations also appear in the Control Center Now Playing UI, as well as the updated volume slider.

The currently-playing song title and artist name is now aligned with the minimized album artwork (which appears smaller than before) on the Lock Screen. You’ll also see a slight animation on the song title when skipping to the next track that we didn’t see before.

Music app

Lossless and Dolby Atmos metadata has been relocated to the same line as the genre and year details underneath the artist name. The Apple Digital Master logo and text is also moved to the area beneath the track list.


There’s a new Shared Library Badge option in Photos when you have a Shared Library enabled. This badge, which appears in the upper right-hand corner of photo thumbnails, makes it easier to tell if a particular photo appears within a shared library.

New splash screens

  • New Find My splash screen
  • New Home splash screen
  • New Photos splash screen

New tappable AirPods firmware version details

When venturing into AirPods settings, you’ll find that the Version pane is now tappable. Tapping Version reveals a new page that contains both the version and case firmware release numbers, along with a link (currently non-working) to the firmware details page on Apple’s website.

Updated text on 2-factor authentication pop-up

When receiving a 2FA pop-up for an Apple ID Verification code, new text on the pop-up notes the following security warning:

Don’t share this code with anyone. Apple will never call or text you for this code.

These codes are temporary and expire after a few minutes, so the security threat is only during the time that the code is active.

Updated sound when pinging from Apple Watch

A new sound occurs when pinging your iPhone via the Apple Watch Control Center. It’s the same overall tune, but occurs in a different key. I find it a little less abrasive than the previous tone.

Volume button slowness seems to have cleared up

By far, one of the most annoying problems with iOS 16 beta 4 was the unresponsive volume buttons bug. There seemed to be a long delay between button presses, and at times the volume controls were unresponsive and/or extremely laggy. Beta 5 seems to have hopefully resolved this issue, but I’ve only been using it for about a day.


iOS 16 beta 5 is packed with several new features, but the most outstanding (and controversial) new change is the reappearance of the battery percentage in the status bar. What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comments.

iOS 16 beta 4 changes and features: Control Nearby Devices

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iOS 16 developer beta 4 (and public beta 2) was recently released, and it is one of the more feature-laden updates that we’ve seen thus far. Included in the update are significant changes to the way that editing and deleting iMessages in the Messages app works, updates to the Now Playing album artwork UI on the Lock Screen, updates to Home Screen wallpaper customization, and much more.

One of the coolest additions to iOS 16 is the Control Nearby Devices feature. This accessibility option, which apparently was burried deeper in iOS settings on previous betas, has now graduated to the root of Accessibility. Found in Settings → Accessibility → Control Nearby Devices allows you to connect to and control a nearby iOS device wirelessly, assuming it’s also running iOS 16.

Accessing Control Nearby Devices on my iPhone 13 Pro Max running iOS 16 beta 4

Thus far, Control Nearby Devices lets users invoke the Home Screen, App Switcher, Notification Center, Control Center, and Siri on a nearby device wirelessly. Additional options are found for controlling media playback, including play/pause, previous or next track, and volume up or volume down. What’s cool is that I was able to connect to my iPad Pro while the device had its display turned off, and I was still able to connect to the device, and control music playback wirelessly.

Connecting and disconnecting from a nearby device wirelessly

Although limited at this stage, Control Nearby Devices is a promising new accessibility feature that will hopefully grow beyond the few options that it has today. It would be awesome to have an Apple TV Remote experience of sorts for controlling devices remotely, providing a sort of virtual mouse experience to have more fine-grained control over an iPad or iPhone.

General controls and additional media controls

Taking this idea even further, I would love to see a full Remote Desktop experience available to control other devices, mixing elements of SharePlay with remote control. Perhaps Control Nearby Devices will graduate beyond being just an Accessibility feature and a develop into a full-on utility for iOS users? Obviously that’s just wishful conjecture at this stage.

Keep in mind that this is a beta feature, so it’s not a guarantee that we’ll see it in future beta releases and/or in the final shipping version of iOS 16 later this year.

What do you think? You can watch my full walkthrough of iOS 16 beta 4 in the video embed above, but if you’d like to jump directly to my brief demonstration of Control Nearby Devices, you can find it timestamped here.

iOS 15.6 changes and features

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Today Apple released iOS 15.6 to the public. The update, while not loaded with a lot of user-facing features, comes bundled with a decent helping of bug fixes and security update.

iOS 15.6 also addresses the issue with the Music app reappearing in its default location in the Dock, kicking out whatever app was in that position. People automatically assumed that this was Apple doing something malicious to promote Apple Music, but it was just a bug. This bug, among several others, has been fixed in iOS 15.6

If you’re already running the iOS 15.6 RC version 2, you can rest easy knowing that it and the publicly-released version are identical.

iOS beta 3 revision 2 – hands-on with the new Lock Screen album artwork

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When Apple first revealed iOS 16 at WWDC, it showed off the ability to view large album artwork on the Lock Screen. Up until today’s release of the iOS 16 Public Beta, and the second revision of the iOS 16 developer beta, this feature was yet to be seen. Today, I was able to test out the new Lock Screen album artwork option via the Now Playing widget interface. Watch my hands-on video walkthrough as I talk about its strengths and weaknesses.

iOS 16 beta 3 changes and features – the clownfish wallpaper lives

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Apple, yesterday, released the third developer beta for iOS 16. The beta contains big new features like Lockdown mode to harden your iPhone from high-level threats, new Lock Screen clock fonts, the debut of the iCloud Shared Photo Library feature that was revealed at WWDC 2022, and of course, the clownfish Lock Screen wallpaper.

In addition to all of the aforementioned details, there are many other new changes and features to explore.

Apple has implemented an updated release notes page which can be found by tapping on the iOS version number in Settings > About. This updated release notes page displays a table highlighting the current release details, along with the build number of the release.

Reminders gets a new Include Due Today option, which makes it show that badge notifications are displayed on the Reminders app icon when items are in your Due Today list. This option can be found via Settings > Reminders.

There are quite a few new Lock Screen changes and tweaks, including two new Lock Screen clock fonts. One of the fonts is a brand new font that we’ve yet to see before, and the other is the same skinny font from iOS 15. In addition, there is better occlusion for clock when the depth effect is enabled on the Lock Screen.

There’s also a new Siri sound effect when invoking Siri with headphones connected. The sound is much more subdued and less jarring than the traditional Siri sound effect.

Of course, I also go in depth with the new Lockdown mode, which hardens an iPhone for high-risk users under the threat of hack. The new Shared iCloud Library that was revealed at WWDC 2022 is also included, and I showcase some of its most interesting features.

Watch my hands on video (conveniently time-stamped) for a breakdown of what’s new in iOS 16.

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