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Apple seeds sixth iOS 16, iPadOS 16 developer betas

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Apple has reached the sixth beta round, providing developers fresh new builds of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 for testing.

The latest builds can be downloaded by developers in the beta-testing scheme via the Apple Developer Center, or as an over-the-air update for hardware already using earlier beta builds. A public beta version of the releases is expected to start arriving soon, and will be available through the Apple Beta Software Program website.

Apple brought out the fifth developer betas on August 8. The fourth developer betas for iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 landed on July 27, following the third from July 6, and the second round from June 22.

The first arrived after the WWDC keynote on June 6. Final public versions are anticipated to ship in the fall.

The sixth build for iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 is build number 20A5349b, replacing the fifth build, 20A5339d.

The feature changes in iOS 16 start with a new Lock Screen that's highly customizable, along with updates to Focus Modes, improvements to Photos, Messages editing, and SharePlay, improved device intelligence, enhanced controller support, Apple Pay Later, and other elements.

Apple's improvements to iPadOS 16 include the introduction of Stage Manager for some iPad Pro models to better handle app windows on multiple displays, along with many iOS 16 changes.

For the fifth beta, Apple brought back the battery percentage indicator, which got a lot of social traction. That beta also had a new Lock Screen music visualizer, an audio tone for locating the Apple Watch, screenshot changes, and alterations to Music for Dolby Atmos and Lossless Audio indicators.

The fourth beta of iOS 16 included changes ranging from reducing the unsend-message time to just two minutes, displaying a log of changes for edited Messages communications, Lock Screen refinements, to new wallpapers and an ActivityKit API.

The third beta added a Lockdown mode that disabled various commonly-exploited aspects, one intended for use by activists, journalists, and government officials who may become targets of hacking. Apple also included the first implementation of the shared Photos library, tweaks to the Lock Screen, and changes to Stage Manager.

AppleInsider, and Apple itself, strongly recommend users don't install the betas on to "mission-critical" or primary devices, as there is the remote possibility of data loss or other issues. Instead, testers should install betas onto secondary or non-essential devices, and to make sure there are sufficient backups of important data before updating.

Find any changes in the new betas? Reach out to us on Twitter at @AppleInsider or @Andrew_OSU, or send Andrew an email at [email protected].