iOS 16.3 is here: Try these new features on your iPhone now

Apple’s iOS 16.3 update is available now, and it brings new features, bug fixes, and security updates to your iPhone. The update was released alongside updates to other Apple software, such as iPadOS, Safari and earlier versions of iOS. The latest iOS update arrives about a month after the release of the iOS 16.2.

Here are the new features landing on your iPhone with iOS 16.3.

Support for the second generation of HomePod

Apple’s iOS 16.3 software supports second generation HomePod, which is set to be released on February 3 for $299 (£299, AU$479). Apple announced the release of the new HomePod four days before the latest iOS software was made available.

New Unity wallpaper for Black History Month

A green, black and red wallpaper

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

The latest iOS update includes a new iPhone wallpaper as part of Apple’s Black Unity Collection. The collection celebrates Black History Month with a special edition Apple Watch Black Unity Sport Loop, a mosaic watch face and the new iPhone wallpaper. Apple also plans to release a selection of Black History Month content to Apple TV, Fitness Plus, Music, Maps, Books, Podcasts and the App Store as part of the collection.

New ways to use Emergency SOS via satellite

Emergency SOS via satellite was introduced at Apple’s event in September. In iOS 16.3 is Call with team option has been replaced with Call with Hold and Release. If you activate Call with Hold and Release, you can hold down the side button and a volume button to start a countdown and an alarm. After the countdown, release the buttons and your iPhone will automatically call emergency services. Lead along Call with team, pressing the side button and a volume button will first bring up the SOS emergency call slider. If you kept holding down the buttons, a countdown would start and an alarm would go off. After the countdown ended, your phone would make an emergency call.

Security Keys screen in iOS 16.3 beta

Security keys add more protection to your device.

Screenshot by Zach McAuliffe/CNET

There is also the possibility of that Call quietly in Emergency SOS. When you enable this option, your phone will not start flashing or make an alarm sound when you try to make an emergency call.

Security keys come to Apple ID

Users can now use third-party security keys instead of two-factor authentication for their Apple ID.

Security keys are very similar to keys to your home. You still use passwords, but this extra layer of security can help protect you from phishing scams and hackers.

“Hardware security keys are very, very secure,” said Diya Jolly, chief product officer of authentication services company Okta. CNET’s Stephen Shankland.

Apple’s security key feature only works with FIDO Alliance certified security keys.

Here is the list of new features and changes included in iOS 16.3.

  • New Unity wallpaper honors black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month.
  • Security keys for Apple ID allow users to strengthen the security of their account by requiring a physical security key as part of the sign-in process for two-factor authentication on new devices.
  • Support for HomePod (second generation).
  • SOS emergency calls now require the side button to be held down with the volume up or down button and then released to prevent accidental emergency calls.
  • Fixes an issue in Freeform where some strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger might not appear on shared boards.
  • Fixes an issue where the wallpaper may appear black on the lock screen.
  • Fixes an issue where horizontal lines temporarily appear while waking the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
  • Fixes an issue where the Home Lock Screen widget does not accurately display the status of the Home app.
  • Addresses an issue where Siri may not respond correctly to music requests
  • Addresses issues where Siri requests in CarPlay may not be understood correctly.

For more iOS 16 news, see the new features in iOS 16.2 and iOS 16.1. That’s how you can sign up to test Apple’s iOS beta softwarealso.

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