Skip to main content

iOS 4.3 beta for iPhone, iPad walkthrough

Complete feature guide to Apple's iOS 4.3 software beta for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

iOS 4.3 has just come out in beta with a rumored release date anywhere from February 10 (the Verizon iPhone release date) to March, 2011, and new features like Wi-Fi personal hotspot for iPhone and multitouch navigation gestures for iPad.

If you want a quick look at the new software but don't have a lot of time, check out the video above for everything you need to know about iOS 4.3 in just 5 minutes. For a more in-depth iOS 4.3 guide, read on after the break.

Note: We're combining iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad walkthroughs below since, post iOS 4.2 grand-unification the size of the updates are roughly similar. If it gets more complicated later, we'll split iPhone/iPod touch out from iPad like last time.

What hasn't changed

iOS 4.3 looks to have interesting albeit far from numerous changes thus far. Since we're only covering what's new and improved, here's a list of previous walkthroughs for those new to iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad so you can learn about all the established features. Major releases in bold.

System-wide changes


AirPlay was introduced in iOS 4.2 and allows video and audio to be sent from iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and iTunes on Windows or Mac to an Apple TV, or audio-only to a growing number of 3rd party speakers and other accessories. While iOS 4.2 only provided video-to-Apple TV support from the YouTube and iPod/Video apps, iOS 4.3 promises to allow both apps and web content the ability to send video to Apple TV. (It's up to individual developers to implement, of course.)

Apple's own apps, like Photo, should be able to AirPlay video recordings in iOS 4.3 as well. Hurray.

(opens in new tab)

3rd party apps like Air Video and Zumocast should gain Airplay Video streaming. No word yet on Angry Birds (using iPhone or iPad as a controller, naturally).

Home Screen


SpringBoard, the app that runs the home screen and overall interface in iOS, gets its multitasking dock UI tweaked once again on iPad.

Multitouch navigation gestures (iPad only)

Apple has introduced 4 or 5 finger multitouch navigation gestures in the iOS 4.3 for iPad beta with language that indicates they may or may not be bound for primetime:

We are providing this preview before releasing them to the public to understand how these gestures work with your apps. Test them and give us your feedback on the Apple Developer Forums.

The new gestures don't replace the Home Button but do reduce the amount of times you need to single or double click it, which could reduce concerns of hardware wear and tear post iOS 4.

The new gestures can be done with 4 or 5 fingers and resemble multitouch trackpad gestures available on Mac OS X since the introduction of the original MacBook Air in 2008 and expanded upon in the recent Mac OS X 10.7 Lion preview given by Steve Jobs at the Back to the Mac event. The gestures currently include

  • Pinch all fingers in to exit an app and return to the Home Screen (identical to single-clicking the Home Button).
  • Swipe up from the bottom bezel to reveal the multitasking Fast App Switcher Dock (identical to double-clicking the Home Button).
  • Swipe sideways from left to right or right to left to move between recently open apps (similar to double-clicking the Home Button to reveal the Fast App Switcher and tapping on an app icon immediately to right).

The sideways swipe is interesting in that it allows you to go left or right whereas the Fast App Switcher reorders the recent app icons so you always go backwards in "time" to the right. It seems perceptively faster for a single app-back movement since there's no carousel animation, yet you can only swipe back one app at a time whereas you can tap on any of 4 immediately available app icons in the Fast App Switcher and swipe back 4 additional apps at a time.

Performance on the current generation iPad, however, is hampered by lack of RAM. With only 256MB many apps will need to reload when you swipe back to them (at least so far in the beta). An iPad 2 with 512MB -- or better yet 1GB -- would fly with this system (just sayin'...).

Mute widget (iPad only)

When iPad shipped with iOS 3.2 the hardware switch above the volume rocker was set to lock or unlock screen orientation. In iOS 4.2 it was changed to a mute/un-mute switch like iPhone. Uncharacteristically, Apple has now added a Settings toggle to let the user choose which function they want the switch to perform. Since iOS 4.2 added a software orientation lock widget in the multitasking Fast App Switcher dock, iOS 4.3 now also toggles between that widget and a software mute button to fill whichever function is no longer being provided by the hardware switch. (Hardware switch set to orientation lock means dock widget becomes mute button and vice-versa.)

(opens in new tab)


As mentioned above, you now have the ability to send recorded videos out over AirPlay to Apple TV, something which was noticeably missing when the feature was introduced in iOS 4.2.

(opens in new tab)



iOS 4.2 finally let us change the Notes font from Marker Felt to something -- anything -- else, as long as that anything else was Helvetica or Chalkboard. Well it turns out Chalkboard wasn't long for this world as it has been replaced in iOS 4.3 with Noteworthy.

(opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)

App Store


The App Store gets a new design for the Updates page.

(opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)


For developers, iAds can now go full screen. That includes the big iPad screen, which Apple says allow for "immersive, interactive iAd experience". They also say the new banner format is easy to implement.

HTTP Live Streaming metrics

HTTP Live Streaming, the technology Apple uses to stream high quality video including their own press conferences and events, now includes viewer engagement and performance metrics. This is intended to help developers fine tune and optimize their content.


iOS 4.2 beta 2 brings a new set of push notifications to the table -- for Apple's Ping social musical network. So if you've been dying to know what Phil Schiller -- or Chad -- has bought, liked, or commented on in iTunes as instantaneously as possible you'll get your wish just as soon as iOS 4.3 ships.

(opens in new tab)


Not only does Settings hide the usually interesting tweaks found in any new iOS version but this time it's home to one of the marquee new features -- Wi-Fi Personal Hotspot.

Personal Hotspot (iPhone 4 only)

Freshly sandwiched in between VPN and Notifications for iPhone 4 users is the new top-level Personal Hotspot setting. (It also find it in Settings: General: Network: Personal Hotspot, where it replaces the previous Tethering setting, but why dig that deep when you no longer have to?)

(opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)

When you tap Personal Hotspot you're taken to a screen that lets you toggle it on or off (why can't we do this top-level like Airplane Mode or VPN?) along with your -- visible -- current WPA access point password (with no choice to hide it). Instructions on how "to connect using Wi-Fi" have been added to the previous tethering instructions for Bluetooth and USB. As before with Bluetooth, if you don't have Wi-Fi enabled you'll get a popup asking if you'd like to enable it or if you'd prefer to tether via Bluetooth (if that's enabled) or USB.

(opens in new tab)

You can change your WPA password by tapping on it, and you're warned the new password must be at least 8 characters long (we recommend something not easily guessed like "password") and that changing the password will disconnect any currently connected devices.

(opens in new tab)

When activated you get the same blue bar across the top of your iPhone that tethering presented under iOS 3 and iOS 4, though renamed Personal Hotspot and now indicating the number of devices connected (up to a maximum of 5).

(opens in new tab)

Note: Personal Hotspot currently does not seem to be available for iPhone 3GS users, much as individual text tones weren't under iOS 4.2.

Location Services

Location Services has also been promoted to top level in iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. (see iPhone screenshot above, iPad screen shot below)

General: Restrictions

If you don't want your children discovering new, electronic hipster songs on Apple's social music network, Ping, iOS 4.3 lets you disable it via the Parental Controls.

(opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)

General: Use Side Switch to (iPad only)

The iPad's hardware switch, originally released as an orientation lock/unlock in iOS 3.2 and changed to an iPhone-like mute/un-mute switch in iOS 4.2 now becomes user assignable in iOS 4.3. Yes, with a simple checkbox you can choose which way you personally like it.

As mentioned up top, whichever option you do not choose becomes a software control in the multitasking Fast App Switcher dock.

(opens in new tab)

General: Multitasking Gestures (iPad only)

A simple toggle allows you to turn on or off the new multitasking navigation gestures (see the description under system-wide changes, above).

(If you don't see the setting try connecting your iPad to Xcode and hitting the "use this device for development" button.)

Messages (iPhone only)

The settings for Messages now allow you to choose how many times you want SMS/MMS alerts to sound, repeated at two minute intervals. Choices include:

  • Once
  • Twice
  • 3 Times
  • 5 Times
  • 10 Times.

(opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)


As mentioned previously, Noteworthy replaces Chalkboard in the Notes settings.

(opens in new tab)

(opens in new tab)

Phone + Contacts

A minor but likely very welcome change in iOS 4.3 beta sees the addition of a wait button to the add contact phone number's extended keyboard and the rejiggering of some of the other buttons like pause.

(opens in new tab)



Hopefully Apple's comments about AirPlay supporting web content means we'll be able to stream H.264 video from Safari to Apple TV as well under iOS 4.3.

In addition we'd expect Apple adds whatever other HTML 5, CSS, and Nitro (their JavaScript rendering engine) improvements they've made since iOS 4.2 shipped.

Hints at more

As is often the case, iOS 4.3 beta 1 contains strings and refrences that hint at even more features, including those for future devices.

Pricing and compatibility

No iOS 4.3 pricing information has been made available but we'll go out on a limb and say it'll likely be free for everyone and all devices, same as iOS 4.2.

Compatibility, however, is so far even more restricted that iOS 4 -- namely iPhone 3G/iPod touch G2 do not have beta versions of iOS 4.3 to date.

  • iPhone 4, iPod touch 4 (2010), iPad: All features
  • iPhone 3GS and iPod touch G3 (2009): No features requiring iPhone 4 or iPod touch 4-type hardware (i.e. front facing camera)
  • iPhone 3G and iPod touch G2 (2008): not compatible/no update (yet?)
  • iPhone 2G and iPod touch G1 (2007): not compatible/no update

We'll update as soon as we find an official list from Apple.

Not concluded

It's possible Apple will supply additional new features in a future iOS 4.3 beta or even take some existing beta features away. As always, If you noticed we missed anything, drop us a note in the comments or send us an email and we'll update as needed.

Rene Ritchie
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.

  • Good review Rene, I didn't have the chance to install it myself.
  • Why can't they implement SMS delivery reports? Is it so difficult?!!!!
  • no need, recent day 99.99% of massage delivered.
    some operator guarantee 100% of SMS to be delivered
    so do not need delivery report if all massage will be delivered
  • get a blackberry if u want delivery status reports... bbm
  • maybe one day the status bar will show the date, lol
  • The calendar icon on the home screen shows the current day, and the lock screen always shows the date.
  • I hope they have repeated notifications for everything else like calls and emails, also make it vibrate when its muted. I also hope the next iPhone has a notification light, it really needs one. A breathing sleep light like on Macbooks would be so cool.
    Hey Rene, did you forget the updated facetime icon, which might also be on the next iPad.
  • Great review...can always count on this site to give the latest news on anything Apple...thanks!
  • Can I check with you, whether WiFi personal Hotspot is only for iPhone 4? Cause I don't see it for iPhone 3Gs.
  • At this point it seemed to be iPhone 4 only, as confirmed by many developers. I think it deserves a mention in Rene's article.
  • Can anyone explain why we can't have wifi hotspot on ipad? Just does not make sense!
  • Because it simply hasn't been tested yet, because an iPhone and iPad don't treat connectivity exactly the same way (one's a phone with an internet connection, and the other just has a an internet connection) and because demand for it is probably not there yet, if ever. Apple has lots of things to do. I'd rather Apple withhold functionality that they aren't sure of yet and devote time to features more people are going to want.
    Hotspot on iPhone makes lightyears more sense than on an iPad. An iPhone is a secondary device and always has internet connectivity. A majority of iPads were sold with wifi access and not 3G capability, and an iPad is more often the primary device.
    And simply put, more people are going to get a phone with hotspot or tethering capability and connect their existing laptop/tablet to that rather than buy a laptop AND an iPad with 3G and then use the iPad as a hotspot. Seems a waste of a device if you ask me. An iPhone is $200. An iPad with 3G is $629.
    But it will probably come eventually, make your opinions known on the Apple Discussion boards and get some friends together who have iPads who say they will use the ability and perhaps it will eventually come. In the long run you would be correct in thinking it would be worth it for Apple to make an effort to fill out the feature set for everyone. I'm all for features and flexibility, as long as they work.
  • Rene, man. Spread those fingers apart and don't hesitate with those 4/5 finger gestures. Hesitation can confuse the touch software with so many points.
  • I'm wondering if Apple will NEVER offer apps on Apple TV.
    The evolution of AirPlay now allows any developer
    to "beam" content to a television.
    This seems to me like an absolutely brilliant maneuver
    by Apple.
    Now, your iPhone, iPad, and iTunes (on Windows & MAC!)
    are directly linked to the television, BYPASSING your cable
    or satellite TV box.
    Rather than having to build some kind of awkward remote
    control, it's your iPhone or iPad.
    Rather than eliminating the need to buy an iPhone or iPad
    to go with the Apple TV, it's almost required which means
    Apple ultimately makes bundles of money on hardware sales.
    That $99 Apple TV ends up costing you $800 once you feel
    compelled to get an iPad too.
    And since most TV content can now be had via apps and
    iTunes, Apple can take a cut of almost all your viewing.
    If, ultimately, all the content of an app on your iPhone or
    iPad can be "beamed" to the TV, why would you ever need
    apps running on the TV? Why have some strange resolution,
    require all apps to be rewritten, and require awkard controlling
    via the iPhone, when, right now, you can just look down at
    your phone and do the controlling. No squinting, no
    confusion, and no need to develop more duplicate apps.
    I think it's brilliant -- and while they stay silent making everybody
    "think" the will have TV apps, and Google tries to compete in
    this space, Apple just forges ahead selling a gazillion Apple TVs
    and more and more iPhones and iPads and making a bazallion
    dollars off their 30% app cuts and iTunes media sales.
    While the cable and satellite boxes slowly rot away because
    everybody is now getting their TV content over the internet
    and beamed from the iPad and iPhone and the media
    companies are ultimately forced to contend with Apple.
    I suspect this will work similarly for games. There is already
    talk that Angry birds will be able to "beam" the video to the
    TV while the iPhone is used as a controller.
    So the $99 Apple TV can just get cheaper and cheaper just to
    be used as a simple device allowing viewing on the TV, or,
    dare we say, Airplay could be built into future TVs so they
    wouldn't even need a tuner? (When Apple takes over the world?)
  • Jim, I enjoyed this write-up! I'm not sure if it can go down like that technologically, but there is definitely some logic to it. :D
  • Just a few more things: Location services has been shifted from General to Settings Menu New Parental Controls for use with Ping New menu when starting a photo slideshow (with a new option of setting background music) -> only new on iPhone/iPod Touch
  • Thanks! Added and appreciated!
  • Why can't the iPad 3G have Hotspot feature???
  • Can someone explain how Apple TV works? I have a new Mac Mini connected to my HDTV and wanted to incorporate Airplay from my iPhone. Any chance there will ever be a workaround for me? It seems silly that I need a $99 device to do that when I have a $700 computer attached to my TV. Thanks.
  • I don't like the look of the new app update screen as it removes both version and date which is almost funny considering each app takes up more space and the title is still cropped. Would love for this view to be sorted by release date.
  • Totally agree with you there. There is something not iOS-like with that visual design.
  • is it me or does the photo app now rotate to landscape mode, not sure i noticed that before 4.3
  • never mind, that was implement in 4.0, just usually dont use my phone in landscape bad
  • Why would anyone want wifi hot spot on their iphone if they are still on the EDGE (2G) network?
    I think ATT should offer a plan for edge network users only. Why do I pay for 3g service but never get it?
  • YES! I don't get any 3G. Ever. It seriously sucks and I wish ATT would help me out.
  • Totally off subject, but AT&T, are they really that crap?
  • Luka, it depends on who you are. As with many things in the US, we are prone to extremes. The general consensus is that Verizon's network is wider and more reliable than AT&Ts, while AT&Ts network is faster and has a few more features over Verizon (like simultaneously surfing the web while on a phone call). This is advertised in their ads, and backed up by a few informal studies I've seen in blogs here. I don't know what formal studies exist, however.
    Annecdotally, I've been annoyed that lately, AT&T has been dropping more calls than I would like which is annoying. However, this only happens occasionally while driving or moving about in a building with bad reception. Dropped calls are annoying but then all I have to do is call back. Ive opened tickets and AT&T has been helpful to try to increase reception in some problem areas. And yet I really like to look up stuff while talking to people on the phone. As of now, I wouldn't say they are total crap, but they aren't the best either.
  • Rene or anybody on 4.3 beta (for the ipad only) can please check to see how music videos added to the ipod are handled on 4,3 on 3.2 once connected on Bluetooth to my car I can any music video n it would play through my car speakers fine after 4.2 it plays but I have to manually select the output every time I play a different music video
  • Perhaps a silly question, but does swipe-task-switching reshuffle the icons in the fast app switcher area?
  • Also FaceTime got a new icon.
  • Loving the review. Hope o2 sets the personal hotspot free. Will come in handy on holiday.
  • interested to see the hotspot feature... do you think this will be a simple hardware feature? or will it have to do with the service provider? afaik, the JB app that lets u use wifi hotspot is just a hardware thing and the carrier doesnt know ur using ur laptop instead.
    any idea?
  • Their beginning to focus more on the software. There is a God.
  • With that personal hotspot option I may get the MacBook air. And keep the iPad at home
  • I'm still waiting for multiple email signatures.
    Sigh :|
  • I would love the weather and stocks apps to be replaced by widgets on the lock and home screens. When do we get "snazzy" on the iPhone?!
  • So what benefit does the iPod touch 4th gen get by upgrading?
  • rene, how did you enable hotspot?
  • It was enabled automatically
  • how do iadd gestures to my ipad after ios 4.3 download
  • How about network printing? If 3rd party apps can do it, why can't Apple?
  • Does it fix the blue tint in photos under fluorescent lighting?
  • I'm really not happy that the hotspot feature will not be on the iphone 3gs! Do you know when it will?
  • 3 Things on my wish list I have not seen anyone find yet:
    Custom Made Text Tones yet? While I love being able to have my wife's ringtones sound differently, be great if I could actually make it her favorite song.
    Can you lock the orientation in landscape mode on the iPhone yet? That is a big one.
    Making a cal event by double taping a time instead of clicking plus and then having to select the time.
  • Great write-up!
    Just to clarify, there is no such thing as iPhone 2G. It was the iPhone in 2007, then the iPhone 3G in 2008.
  • When iPhone 3G was released AT&T began to refer to the previous one as iPhone 2G so the name stuck as a way to distinguish the general iPhone product line from the specific 2007 model.
  • I don't remember any AT&T advertising doing that.
  • Easier to call it iPhone 2G than "the original 2007 iPhone".
    I think everyone understands.
  • Apple finally has hotspot, just a little too late android has been all over this already. I noticed the wobly feature when swipping, looks like the idea came from Ubuntus gnome project gui interface. Way to go Apple now we are stilling ideas from freesource code and selling it. I bought an iPAD and regret every minute of it.
  • I don't think Apple is "stilling" anything. Sell your iPad so you don't have to whine about it to us.
  • Apple likes to make sure there feature work properly, unlike android.
    Plus, adding a wobble to switching isn't stealing, I've seen it tones of times on my iPhone, like in photo's when you get to the last one and try to go further, switching between pages at a curtain speed does that too,.
    Also, you said
    ... Project Graphic User Interface Interface.
    And why buy an iPad if your gonna bitch about it, or did you get it because of peer pressure?
  • Maybe one day they will have a correct british english dictionary - and a quicker way to enable/disable WIFI
    also we should be able to create folders and move photos/vids
  • Photo-Sort in the App Store. No JB required.
  • Wish they'd do something about those notifications. The notification system is in serious need of a complete redesign
  • I would finally like to be abe to send more than one media type at a time through my sms. It's either a picture or a sound clip but not both. I too would also like to be able to make custom text tones. The ones provided just don't sound that great to me. And I have a question about the personal hot spot. Is it available to all of the different data plans?
  • Excuse my spelling I meant able not abe and mms not sms.
  • Rene , will the iPad have the HotSpot feature??
  • This might not be the right place to make this comment but when are Apple going to make it easier to access the Bluetooth option instead of going Settings>General>Bluetooth!
    I quite often forget to switch on Bluetooth before setting off driving, I then have to go through two fiddly menu layers to switch it on. Come on Apple make Bluetooth easier and safer to switch on! How about a simple App that does it in one click!
  • Apple A4 is horribly slow.
    The GUI is terribly laggy.
  • Will I still have to correct "he'll" to "hell" every time I want to write it?
  • Preach!!!!!
  • Can you use the hotspot if you have unlimited data on at&t? Im looking tp buy a iphone today and dont know which company to go with... Im in nj
  • Being able to use hotspot at a reasonable cost (or better for free!) would make buying the 3G option on iPad useless (if you have an iPhone 4 of course). Really impatient to see how it turns out.