Apple has provided developer testers with the seventh beta of iOS 16 and first beta of iPadOS 16.1, as the expected fall releases draw nearer.
The newest builds can be downloaded via the Apple Developer Center for those enrolled in the test program, or via an over-the-air update on devices running the beta software. Public betas typically arrive within a few days of the developer versions, via the Apple Beta Software Program website.
The sixth round landed on August 15, after the fifth from 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 seventh build for iOS 16 is build number 20A5356a, while the first build for iPadOS 16.1 is build number 20B5027f. Previously, the two operating systems shared the same build number, which for the sixth iteration was 20A5349b.
It is likely that the splintering of the beta into two paths is down to the probable release of updated iPhone and iPad models in separate months. The iPhone 14 is expected in September, while iPad product updates are anticipated to occur in October.
Updaters will notice that the iPadOS beta will be called "iPadOS 16" beta seven before the update, but after the update is complete, it will be shown as iPadOS 16.1. While Apple hasn't noted the change on its developer portal, it appears to be a result of the delayed release.
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 advises that users avoid installing 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 hardware, and to ensure there are sufficient backups of important data before updating.