Apple today released the first betas of the upcoming iOS 16.6 and iPadOS 16.6 updates for the iPhone and iPad to public beta testers. This means that normal users and not just developers can test the software before it is officially launched. The public betas come just days after Apple put the developer betas online.
Anyone who has signed up for Apple’s free beta testing program with their account can select the beta in the Settings app under General > Software Update. Then tap on Beta Updates and select the option “Public Beta of iOS 16”. However, iOS 16.6 seems to be a relatively small update. Apple is apparently laying the foundation for the introduction of the already announced iMessage function for contact key verification in the new firmware.
The reason for the slow development of iOS 16 is likely that Apple is preparing to reveal iOS 17 in just two weeks at WWDC. Apple iOS 16.6 should therefore be one of the last updates for iOS 16. The final release of Apple iOS 17 is expected to happen in September along with the iPhone 15 series. Apart from that, Apple has also released the first public beta of watchOS 9.6 for the Apple Watches.