There's one big feature to enjoy in the latest round of public beta releases.
Today, Apple rolled out the public beta versions of iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Ventura 13.2. The launch comes two days after the company released the developer betas. Now, public beta testers that are part of the Apple Beta Software Program can dive into one of the big changes coming with the new software versions.
There aren't a lot of new features that have been discovered with the first betas for iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3, and macOS Ventura 13.2 just yet, but there is one change that will mean a lot for those looking to increase the security of their devices: support for physical security keys.
Physical security keys are here
In the latest developer betas for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS that Apple released earlier this week, the company added support for physical security keys that connect to your devices and offer an additional level of verification. While the company has not provided release notes for the public betas, the feature is likely included on those betas as well.
Apple says that Security Keys are designed for "users who, often due to their public profile, face concerted threats to their online accounts, such as celebrities, journalists, and members of government. For users who opt in, Security Keys strengthens Apple’s two-factor authentication by requiring a hardware security key as one of the two factors. This takes our two-factor authentication even further, preventing even an advanced attacker from obtaining a user’s second factor in a phishing scam."
The company says that support for physical security keys will be available to all users "globally in early 2023." Until then, developer and public beta users can jump ahead of the line and give the feature a try.
At the same time that the company announced support for physical security keys, Apple also revealed its new Advanced Data Protection feature that offers end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups. That started rolling out to users with iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and macOS Ventura 13.1.
HomePod handoff gets easier
The latest iOS 16.3 public beta also launched dynamic instruction on how to transfer music from an iPhone to a HomePod or HomePod mini using the Handoff feature. It's a relatively small update but a meaningful one for those who would like to bounce music between their phone and speakers around their home but lack the knowledge on how to do so.
Handoff for the HomePod mini isn't a new feature. It has technically been around for years. However, if you never hovered your iPhone near your speaker, you'd likely have never even realized it exists. Apple seems to want to help more users discover the feature in the new iOS beta.
Other than physical security keys and the HomePod update, the new betas haven't featured much. That'll likely change as newer versions of the betas are released over the coming weeks.
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Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.