Apple has released the Release Candidate betas for iOS 16.3 and iPadOS 16.3, tvOS 16.3, and watchOS 9.3 in advance of new hardware shipping on January 24.
The betas are available to download in the Apple Developer Center after signing up for the beta testing program. Public beta versions of the releases generally arrive a short while after their developer counterparts, available through the Apple Beta Software Program.
Apple seeded the second developer betas for these operating systems on January 10.
The iOS 16.3 and iPadOS 16.3 Release Candidate betas have build number 20D47, replacing build 20D5035i.The RC beta of watchOS 9.3 has build number 20S648, replacing build 20S5637h. The tvOS 16.3 build number is 20K6650, up from build 20K5637g.
Apple has a separate build number for HomePod Software version 16.3. It is 20K649, up from 20K5637g. This may be due to the new HomePod release and could converge again with tvOS once it releases.
An RC for iOS 15.7.3 has also been released for testing on devices that do not support iOS 16.
Apple customers can expect to see features in iOS 16.3 that include support for hardware security keys, such as those from Yubico. Those with a notable public presence will benefit from the feature, such as journalists, celebrities, and politicians.
AppleInsider and Apple strongly advise users don't install beta operating systems, or beta software in general, on to "mission-critical" or primary devices, as there is the chance of issues that could result in the loss of data. Testers should instead use secondary or non-essential hardware and ensure they have sufficient backups of their critical data at all times.