Apple’s iOS 16.2 is now rolling out for all users, along with macOS Ventura 13.1 and iPadOS 16.2. The most important features this version of iOS brings are improved encryption for iCloud data, a new karaoke feature called Sing, and Live Activities on the Home Screen. Apple is also launching a whiteboard app called Freeform. Let’s dig in.
Cloud Data Gets End-to-End Encryption
Apple used to save sensitive data directly into iCloud, this is soon to change. Most data will now be end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) with a new Advanced Data Protection mode. By activating Advanced Data Protection, only you can access your device’s data by authenticating your identity on a trusted device like a Mac or an iPhone.
Anyone else who tries to decrypt the data will likely find nothing of importance, including Apple. Contacts, emails, and calendar events aren’t end-to-end encrypted, as those services are based on unencrypted standard protocols.
This feature should not be confused with Lockdown Mode, which prevents threats like government-grade spyware attacks on activists, human rights defenders, and journalists.
All U.S.-based users will be able to secure their data behind encryption with this iOS 16.2 rollout. The company expects to have a wider rollout of this feature next year. Advanced Data Protection mode will encrypt things like photos, Notes, Safari bookmarks, voice memos, device backups, and message backups – effective now.
Karaoke Mode is Coming to Apple Music
While Spotify Wrapped is a feature many eagerly await at the end of every year, Apple Music’s karaoke mode could be a feature that users will enjoy around the year. All users with iPhone 11 and above, Apple TV, or iPad will have access to this new feature, called Apple Sing.
Apple said that at launch, the feature will be available for the top 80% of its most-played songs, with more tracks being added in the future.
The company uses a combination of enhanced real-time lyrics synced for karaoke and on-device machine learning for splitting vocals from the music track. It also highlights and separates background vocals for a better group experience. Users have noticed that Spotify is working on its own karaoke feature, but the company never officially confirmed a release.
Apple Launches an All-New App – Freeform
Freeform was introduced as a digital whiteboard app by Apple, in June, during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), and it was made available for beta versions of iOS 16.2, macOS 13.1, and iPadOS 16.2.
The app is simple to use – an infinite board where you can draw lines and objects, attack documents or notes, insert media, and annotate stuff. A group of people can use one whiteboard as long as they all use Apple devices, adding a collaborative element to the app.
The digital whiteboard market is valuable today, as shown by the last month’s Figma $20 billion sale to Adobe. Earlier this year, Miro doubled its headcount to just over 1200 employees in its 11 hubs around the world and raised $400 million at a $17.5 billion valuation.
Apple is grabbing the attention of casual tinkerers who will enjoy Freeform over other tools, seemingly not competing to attract enterprise consumers or professional designers.
Other Important Updates Coming With iOS 16.2
With the iOS 16.1.1 update, Apple tweaked AirDrop settings in China so that if you configure AirDrop to get requests from “Everyone” it is limited to 10 minutes. This change will affect all users of Apple devices as iOS 16.2 rolls out. After 10 minutes, AirDrop will turn back to “Contacts Only” and the users will need to manually change it to “Everyone” each time.
Live Activities are Home Screen and Lock Screen widgets that can be updated with real-time info rolled out with the iOS 16.1 update. Now Apple is introducing Sports score updates through the Apple TV app. Canada and U.S.-based users will get access to scores from games from MLB, English Premier League, and the NBA. Meanwhile, users in Brazil, Australia, Japan, South Korea, the U.K., and Mexico will get access to MLB scores via Live Activities.
The iOS 16.2 update rolls out starting today to all users with iPhone 8 or above, including these minor features:
- The Weather app will have a news section showing local news stories
- Home Screen widgets for Sleep. These widgets will inform you of your recent sessions and stages and let you quickly see your medication plan.
- In India, iPhone users will be able to use 5G in eligible areas on the Reliance Jio network.