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Apple has handed over the eighth beta of iOS 16 to developer testers, as time marches on to the first fall special event.
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.
The eighth round follows the seventh, which took place on August 23, replacing the sixth round from August 15. The first arrived after the WWDC keynote on June 6. Final public versions are anticipated to ship in the fall.
The eighth build for iOS 16 is build number 20A5358a, replacing 20A5356a.
The seventh build of iOS 16 saw the splintering of the operating systems down two paths. Apple has confirmed that iPadOS 16 won't be the first public release in October, but instead it will be version 16.1.
Apple has also released the sixth iOS 16 beta to the public as well. The sixth public beta version of the new software should be identical to the eighth developer counterparts.
Those interested in trying out the latest features can sign up for Apple's Beta Software Program and download the new betas from the associated web portal.
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.
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 ensure there are sufficient backups of important data before updating.