iOS 16.6 and iPadOS 16.6 public betas are now available - but what's new?

iOS 16.6
(Image credit: iMore)

Apple recently released updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, and macOS in the past week (May 22), just before the mania of announcements at WWDC 2023 begin on June 5.

These are more subdued updates this time compared to previous releases of iOS 16, where iOS 16.2 introduced Freeform, while iOS 16.5 and watchOS 9.5 brought out the latest Pride wallpaper for 2023.

You can update by going to Settings > General > Software Update and tapping on 'Public Beta' to download 16.6 if you've signed up for the Public Beta beforehand.

The lack of new features isn't a surprise, with iOS 17 likely to be announced in just a couple of weeks, alongside the rest of the major updates expected at WWDC 2023.

However, there is one new feature that looks to be debuting with 16.6 that was announced way back in 2022 through a press release.

A new iMessage feature from 2022 finally appears

iMessage Verification in iOS 16.6

(Image credit: Apple)

If you go to Settings > Messages on the 16.6 beta, you'll find an 'iMessage Contact Key Verification' section, but tapping it does nothing for now.

For those unaware, it's a feature announced back in December 2022, where an alert within the app will tell you if you're talking to a false contact, and this can be verified with the recipient to let you know if the person you're talking to, is genuine or not.

It's a useful feature from what Apple has described, and it's the only one from this press release that's yet to be made available for everyone. We wouldn't be surprised to see 16.6 debut by July with this, most likely once the public beta for iOS 17 is made available to those who want to try an early version of the next major iOS update.

With Apple announcing these kinds of security features, there's a good chance that we'll see plenty more announced at WWDC, and not just for iPhone. Seeing iMessage Contact Key Verification appear on macOS 14 and iPadOS 17 would be useful for those who own multiple Apple devices. WWDC is very soon, so we don't have much longer to wait to find out!

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.