iOS 4.2 beta 3 in 5 minutes - everything you need to know [video]

Apple's just-released iOS 4.2 beta 3 doesn't seem to be packing too many surprises yet. But while developers and code-ninja alike do their deep diving, we'll take a look at the obvious changes, including new text tones for iPhone (though still no custom tones, sorry!), new wallpaper for iPad, and some new restrictions in the settings.

For more, check out our complete iOS 4.2 beta walkthrough, and if you notice anything we missed, let us know!

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Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Nice!!! im looking forward to 4.2 on my iPad JAILBROKEN! lol
  • Rene, can I use your colorful voice over instead of the actual sms tone? :)
  • The new SMS tones are straight outta Looney Tunes. Why are we not allowed a subset of 'normal', professional tones for grown ups? I don't see a bunch of 10 year olds playing with the phone in the ads...
  • Ringtones, wallpapers, and new restrictions. Wow.lot to write about here. What about live wallpapers, flash, file browsing (without jailbreak), widgets, non popup notifications, swype, or interchangeable UIs? I'll tell you one thing, idont .... But droid DOES! Droid x for the win!
  • @Gazurbeem,
    Please stop trolling.
  • Is it just me, or is the water droplet wallpaper (the default ios 4 wallpaper) a lot higher resolution than before? IT always looked really poor on the ipad (especially compared to the iphone 4) but on this beta 3 it looks a lot better (to me anyway)
  • LOL, they call this an update ? shouldn't this be
  • Could those new SMS notifications sounds be any more annoying?
  • Create albums inside of the phone's own camera roll would be nice right about now. Making a video is fun but when it's lost in 700 picture that's not.
  • @Marlo, have a look at Ambient rings ( According to their twitter feed they made normal sounding SMS tones. So if Apple allows custom SMS tones (hopefully they do in the next beta) you can get real SMS tones for your iPhone from them, like I'm going to do!
  • The new SMS tones seem ridiculously long. More like ringtones. Hope they just let us use custom ones soon.
  • It always amazed me that Apple wouldn't allow developers to sell "themes" in the app store. There is a market for them and they're missing out on some money. I wouldn't be surprised if they open up to themes sometime in the future.
  • I only JB my iPhone because of the use of themes and some brilliant message applications like BiteSMS and iRealSMS (the best in my opinion) and if apple would only allow these apps to be on iTunes! Why they won't I do not know, but I gather the app creators don't like apple because they take such a huge cut and take so long to approve apps. BTW - why oh why is the mac version of Limera1n and Greenpois0n not available yet? So frustrating, but worth waiting for, thanks guys anyway ;-)
  • The multiple-tasking animation on the iPad has changed.
  • LoL, though ironically the iPads inability to spell multi-tasking has not yet being fixed...
  • I saw an area under the sound preferences that you could toggle on or off control by the volume buttons. That seems fairly useless.
  • Apple just isnt what it used to be. Quality for the most part is there although it diminishes as each iOS launches. The minimalistic things are the kinds of things people are looking for in their cell phones nowadays. Apple has mastered the "standing out from the crowd" so to speak, however the inability for users to individually stand out on their own without jailbreaking has sent users to customize elsewhere on other OS smartphones, sadly i too have felt the urge to cave my newly iPhone 4 for a droid. And although not purchased yet, i like the fact that i have a choice in how i want my cell phone to sound and look headache free. the fact that it has taken Apple 4+ iOS updates to implement something as simple as ringtone texts speaks volumes on their desire to have control over the users iPhones experiences thus limiting the phones abilities thanks to Apples "communistic ways. Sad i tell you
  • Dru, I feel you.
  • Given the popularity of Bluetooth (headsets, car integration, Stereo headphones, etc) maybe Apple will one day get around to either moving the Bluetooth toggle in the control panel up a couple of levels or create a more efficient way of turning on/off radio functions. I really want 4.2 so I'll have to wait to JB again to get SBSettings. Hear that Apple, SBSettings?
  • @JACK....My Bold could do that 2 years ago. You can take a pic / video, NAME the pic / video, MAKE a folder, NAME the folder, SAVE pic / video, ALL ON THE PHONE. The fact that my 4 cannot even move a pic / video to an existing album ON THE PHONE is lame. Please explain how that would "ruin the experence" for me?? Know what Apple?? I'm a big boy, and I think I know what I want my phone to do. The pretty box with all the flaws is getting hard to justify. Apple is starting to sound like the old GM from the 70's - 80's. Put out a product with flaws and then have the dealers fix them later. They run 4 Beta's on the they not listen when people tell them what is wrong with them?? Oh yea. This is Apple. What was I thinking.
  • @Dru: So what's stopping you? The usage of "communistic" ways is a bit over the top. Most products, including cell phones, have very limited if any customizable features. Apple has chosen the ease of use and stable user experience over the "openness" or whatever Google calls Android. They've always been very clear on that and to think that's going to change anytime soon is naive. So if I were you, and all the wallpapers and SMS tones were more important to you than the amazing hardware and apps on the Iphone, then you seriously need to get an Android device.
    Just make sure that you pick the right one out of the dozens that'll soon be launched; that whatever you buy has some sort of long term upgrade path because who knows what version of Android you'll be stuck on after the carrier/manufacturer stops supporting it; that you are not a gamer because I have a Droid X as well and the games are no where near the quality of the iPhones; and that you are willing to give up one the THOUSANDS of cases and other accessories that are available for the iPhone versus the maybe half dozen that I've found for the X.
    Frankly, I care more about usability; a single point of support; and a controlled eco system of apps that are not only much more refined than Android at this time, but tested by Apple to ensure your phones security and remove apps such as those that transmit your banking info and contact list to Russia.
    In all seriousness, I understand you feeling the need for something "different" which is why I also carry a really nice Droid X. However, it rarely gets used. Once you use if for a few days and the cool factor of your battery sucking, CPU hog widgets and wallpapers wears off, or you see that an 8mp camera isn't near as good as your iPhones 5, you probably be missing your iPhone 4.
  • @Scott: You probably weren't thinking since your a troll.
  • Thanks Apple, I got excited for a second (5 seconds to be exact). New SMS tones sound real professional. I refuse to have one of those new looney tunes ass SMS tones go off while I'm in a meeting.
  • First off, I LOVE Apple products, I own a few. However, if Apple thinks it can keep targeting its creative consumers and not worry about the business users, they need a new focus.
    I've integrated my MacBook Pro into an all Windoze environment at work. My iPhone 4 is my business/personal phone.
    How much of a idiot would I look like with one of these new "Looney Tunes a$$ SMS tones" (Thanks Scott, couldn't have said it better myself) going off ANYWHERE, let alone a meeting?
    I think I'm tempted to stick with jailbreaking and replacing SMS and Mail tones with something more useable. If it wasn't for AirPlay with AppleTV, I wouldn't upgrade to 4.2 until the jailbreak is available.
  • I love it that Android supporters are like "This is the most pointless update ever. " because they haven't bothered to read that this is a beta and actually part of a much bigger update.
  • Everytime I read about a new update from Apple, I can see why people jailbreak their phones.
  • I'm already sick of Android and its new crop of clueless fanboi trolls. Seriously.
    The SMS tones are amusing, but they really are too long. I leave the plain old "ding" because it's easy for me to hear at low volume but won't annoy coworkers.
  • @EvilHomer i never denied that quality goes along with apple. and i guess we are never satisfied with anything since we are always looking for the next best thing because technology is constantly changing. My point is yea the its not necessarily the whole customization but its the ability for it from the get go or the ability for apps to work even more so with the iPhone like the Androids do. Not to mention that everytime Apple introduces new iOS's there are bugs with something as simple as sms. i used to be able to text alot quicker and less errors, less backspacing compared to now regardless of my disabling auto correct etc. The camera i agree with you is amazing on the iPhone compared to my friends EVO from sprint, i just think that apple needs to really step up its game to catch with users who are liking the options they have with the Android market.
  • I hate how apple completely forgets about the people that can't afford the iPhone 4, and just doesn't release anything for the 3G model.
  • Idk if I was someone who kept complaining about what Droid does compared to their iPhone and wanted it to do what Droid does... maybe I'd get a effin Droid. And for the last time, flash is useless on mobile. Wow I can watch a video in the browser and squint to see it. I would never want full screen. I cannot remember the last time I couldn't view a video on my phone. We're not missing anything.
  • I like this website. But that was a hell of a boring walkthrough.
  • @EVILHOMER......Sorry. I think Jobs needs his butt wiped again. I'll wait for you to get back. There. All done?? Good. I bought the 3G when it came out, and waited like the rest of us for the 4. And, execpt for a few tweeks (forget the screen) it is another 3GS. My wife has the 3GS, and in speed runs, no diff. The screen is sharper, and once again, Jobs wants us to look at that, and not all the things it STILL does not do. They have been hiding behind the app store, and now that is getting weak. 200,000 apps and a lot of them are crap. This phone is the greatest concept that has ever been released. It is just way past time for your boy Jobs to do something he has never done.....LISTEN TO HIS CUSTOMERS. And, I got your f****** troll right here!!
  • ^ Someone get Scottyboo an ice cream. He seems really upset...
    Scotty, your point is flawed on so many levels it isn't even worth addressing, but for the hell of it:
    If you bought a 3G solely to wait for the 4 you're pretty silly. You should have bought the phone to use. I think that is what many people seem to lose touch with. Does the phone do what you need it to do? Is it functional? If yes, then why do you care that the 3GS was a marginal upgrade from the 3G? What exactly do you want in the way of functionality that you're not currently given? Did it work as a phone before? Better yet, did it work as a general communications device before? If yes, then what has changed?
    Are you upset that you don't have Flash? If you're willing to trade your general user experience for a dying plugin architecture, you're pretty irrational. 90+% of people want Flash to watch videos. Hint: 90+% of websites are migrating away from straight Flash encoding for video. Problem solved.
    Of course the 4 is going to be a marginal upgrade from the 3GS - it's called product evolution dummy. Why would Apple create a radical new phone that isolates itself from all previous models? More importantly, why would Apple throw away a recipe (subtle improvements over time) that is working?
    You've got a marginal improvement in iPhone 4's hardware - you've got a better camera, a front facing camera, and a better screen. What matters is the software. If you, for example, switched over to an Android device, you might get some fancy new hardware 6 months from now - but how long do you plan to have the hardware for? Most normal people can't afford to buy a new phone every 2 months.
    And, in the case of Android manufacturers, there is no telling when you'll be able to upgrade to the latest software. So, while the iPhone 4 will become older pretty fast, at least we'll all get the hardware upgrade (even the 3GS owners, for that matter). Go buy a Moto Droid and let me know when you get Android 2.2, neve rmind whatever comes down the pipe in future.
    Back to your argument. You're losing sleep over simple feature additions like customization. Why? Does customization stop you from using your device to 1) make calls, 2) check email, 3) browse the internet, 4) enjoy apps?
    I think some of you people need a serious reality check. It's a smartphone...
    For the sake of argument, Scottyboo, pretend I'm Jobs. Tell me what features you want that the iPhone doesn't have. And then tell me why you need them. Seriously. I'd love to know.
  • Someone just got torn a new one lol
  • @Dru I completely agree with u
  • I could care less about new text tones. I WANT BETTER NOTIFICATIONS ALREADY! I mean, really, it's one of the remaining features on iOS that is really silly... oh, and PLEASE give me the ability to turn off shake to undo... PLEASE!... the only reason I use it is when I have to hit "cancel".... so stupid.
  • I'd have to say I agree with Brad on this one. The whole notification system needs a significant overhaul. This is actually why I really wish Apple (successfully) purchased Palm. WebOS had a fantastic notification system (definitely the best of any smartphone to date). If Apple could have integrated such an excellent and intuitive system into the iPhone, it would almost immediately surpass BlackBerry as the preeminent enterprise device (barring its porous security, of course).
  • The SMS tones are horrendous
  • @ Jon, don't worry: Apple hired the webOS notifications engineer lead...