Apple issues Release Candidate developer betas of iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, tvOS 16.2, watchOS 9.2

AppleInsider may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made through links on our site.

Apple shared the Release Candidate developer betas for iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, tvOS 16.2, and watchOS 9.2, with developers able to try out the latest iteration of the inbound update on their devices.

The latest builds can be downloaded by developers taking part in the beta-testing program via the Apple Developer Center, or as an over-the-air update for any hardware that's already running the beta builds. Public beta versions of the releases generally arrive a short while after their developer counterparts, available through the Apple Beta Software Program website.

The Release Candidate builds replace the fourth, which arrived on December 1. The third round landed on November 15, the second on November 8, and the first on October 25.

The RC iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 betas have build number 20C65, replacing the fourth build, 20C5058d. The RC beta of watchOS 9.2 has build number 20S361, taking over from the previous version, build 20S5357b. The tvOS 16.2 and HomePod Software Version 16.2 RC beta is build 20K362, in place of the fourth build, number 20K5357b.

Apple also released betas for iOS 15.7.2 and iPadOS 15.7.2 for testing on older devices.

The main attraction of the betas for iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 has, so far, been the inclusion of Freeform. It's a cross-platform productivity app that allows for group brainstorming, using a large single space that can incorporate other files and multiple users editing it at the same time.

Apple included support for its new security-focused features in this Release Candidate — iMessage Contact Key Verification, Security Keys for Apple ID, and Advanced Data Protection for iCloud. Among other things, Advanced Data Protection enables end-to-end encryption of iCloud backups, Notes, and several other categories that weren't fully protected before.

The release notes also mentioned that AirDrop would get a 10-minute time limit for users who select "Everyone." This is meant to be a protection against unsolicited images.

Read the full release notes from iOS 16.2 below:

Freeform

  • Freeform is a new app for working creatively with friends or colleagues on Mac, iPad and iPhone
  • A flexible canvas lets you add files, images, stickies, and more
  • Drawing tools let you sketch anywhere on the canvas with your finger

Apple Music Sing

  • A new way to sing along with millions of your favorite songs in Apple Music
  • Fully adjustable vocals let you duet with the original artist, sing solo, or mix it up
  • Newly enhanced beat-by-beat lyrics make it even easier to follow along with the music

Advanced Data Protection for iCloud

  • New option expands the total number of iCloud data categories protected using end-to-end encryption to 23 - including iCloud Backup, Notes, and Photos - protecting your information even in the case of a data breach in the cloud

Lock Screen

  • New settings allow you to hide wallpaper or notifications when Always-On display is enabled on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Sleep widget lets you view your most recent sleep data
  • Medications widget lets you view reminders and quickly access your schedule

Game Center

  • SharePlay support in Game Center for multiplayer games so you can play with the people you are on a FaceTime call with
  • Activity Widget allows you to see what your friends are playing and achieving in games right from your Home Screen

Apple TV

  • Live Activities for Apple TV app let you follow your favorite teams with live scores right on your Lock Screen or in Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max

Home

  • Improved reliability and efficiency of communication between your smart home accessories and Apple devices

This update a so includes the following improvements and bug fixes:

  • Improved search in Messages allows you to find photos based on their content, like a dog, car, person, or text
  • Turn Off Hide IP Address setting enables iCloud Private Relay users to temporarily disable the service for a specific site in Safari
  • News articles in Weather display information relevant to the weather in that location
  • Participant Cursors in Notes allow you to see live indicators as others make updates in a shared note
  • AirDrop now automatically reverts to Contacts Only after 10 minutes to prevent unwanted requests to receive content
  • Crash Detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models
  • Fixes an issue that causes some notes not to sync with iCloud after updates are made

AppleInsider, and Apple itself, strongly insist users don't install betas onto "mission-critical" or primary devices, due to the minor chance of data loss or other issues. Instead, testers should install betas onto secondary or non-essential devices, and to ensure 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].