We’re a couple of months out from Apple officially rolling out the next major versions of its various operating systems. However, you can try out iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, macOS Ventura and tvOS 16 right now. Apple has released a public beta, a few weeks after it offered up the first developer betas. To access them, you’ll need to sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program and follow the directions.
Bear in mind that there may be some bugs that Apple hasn’t detected and resolved. Be sure to back up your data before installing any beta (though backing up regularly is always a good practice). You’ll have the option to remove your device from the public beta program and revert it to an older version of its OS.
You can get to grips with some of the new features in iOS 16. Among those are a revamped lock screen with more layout and customization options, such as dynamic wallpapers. Notifications and Focus Mode have been revamped too, while you’ll be able to keep on top of things like sports scores and transit rides with Live Activities. Face ID will finally work in landscape orientation and you’ll no longer need an Apple Watch to use the Fitness app.
Also new are the option to edit missives after you send them in Messages, a way to report spam text messages, a Pay Later function in Wallet and an email scheduling option in the Mail app. There’s much more on the way too, including updates for Apple Maps, CarPlay and Family Sharing. An “extreme” security option for high-profile users will be available too.
As for iPadOS 16, improved multitasking options will grant you more control over how to resize apps with, for instance, overlapping windows. Some of the features are limited to M1-powered iPads, however. Elsewhere, there’s support for external displays, Google Drive-style document collaboration and (later this year) SharePlay features in Game Center.
Apple has made multitasking a key focus for macOS Ventura as well. The Stage Manager tool can group windows on the side of your screen and organize them by app. There will be an undo send option in the Mail app, along with the option to share tab groups in Safari and a new security function called passkeys, which will use Face ID and Touch ID for authentication. You’ll also be able to use an iPhone as a webcam for your Mac.
In watchOS 9, Apple is giving the fitness features a significant upgrade. You’ll have access to distance and time intervals for workouts. There will also be a way to view which heart rate zones you’re in during workouts and sleep. In addition, Apple is promising improved sleep tracking as well as medication reminders.
When it comes to tvOS 16, the updates are light compared with some of the other devices. One key update is the addition of full support for the Matter smart home standard. As seems to be the case on iOS 16, tvOS will support Nintendo’s Joy-Con and Switch Pro controllers.
Apple is ending support for some older devices with this year’s OS updates. To use iOS 16, for instance, you’ll need an iPhone 8 or later.
Update 7/11 2:32PM ET: Tweaked the subheading and Lockdown Mode details for clarity.