iOS 16.3 is here: 3 reasons why you should update

iOS 16.3 update Apple privacy and security
Source: Apple

In a security-packed update for iPhone users, iOS 16.3 is now available, along with a raft of practical features aimed at further securing your data.

Although this update may not be as exciting as the Freeform collaboration app with iOS 16.2 or iOS 16.1 adding shared family photo albums, it’s no less important. As we mentioned last week, one of the biggest features iOS 16.3 brings is the global rollout of Advanced Data Protection for iCloud. This, among other additions, headlines three big reasons why you should update to the latest version of the iPhone’s operating system, which also applies to iPadOS 16.3.

Advanced Data Protection increases iCloud data security

A feature US users got with iOS 16.2, the rest of us now have access to Advanced Data Protection for iCloud. In a nutshell, it’s a new optional setting that enables end-to-end encryption for more native Apple apps that store data via iCloud. When turned on, it means data from apps like Photos and Notes are safe, even in the event of a breach, because Apple doesn’t have access to your data.

However, the end-to-end encryption from Advanced Data Protection means Apple can’t assist with data recovery if you lose access to your account. Instead, only devices you designate as trusted contain the encryption keys to access data, meaning you also need to assign a recovery contact or save a recovery key in case the worst happens.

Apple Advanced Data Protection iOS 16.3 feature

Full support for the new HomePod smart speaker

iOS 16.3 preps iPhones for the recently announced HomePod 2nd gen smart speaker so you can take advantage of its new features while unlocking dormant functions of the HomePod Mini. This includes temperature and humidity sensors that allow you to operate Siri and set climate adjustment automations. Getting too hot? The HomePod will sense that and activate smart home-connected devices, like fans and air conditioners, in response.

Other HomePod features enabled by the latest software update include notifications for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and the ability to ask Siri to locate family members’ devices using Find My.

iOS 16.3 gets physical with Security Keys authentication

This one’s for the hardcore security-conscious types. Added with iOS 16.3, Security Keys for Apple ID enables the use of a physical security key as part of two-factor authentication. It’s another layer of security now supported by Apple as part of its commitment to data privacy. Continuing the privacy and security theme, Apple is beginning to offer free in-store Taking Charge of Your Privacy on iPhone sessions to help people get up to speed.

In terms of security keys, companies like Yubico produce devices you can plug into your computer or phone, or connect via NFC, to provide a hardware-based method of securing your logins. You can even ditch separate authenticator apps in some instances because the physical key serves the same purpose.

Full iOS 16.3 update notes and iPhone compatibility

With every software update, there are also several other changes that might fly under the radar. As listed on Apple’s support website, here are the full update notes:

  • New Unity wallpaper honours Black history and culture in celebration of US 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 two-factor authentication sign-in process on new devices
  • Support for HomePod (2nd generation)
  • Emergency SOS calls now require holding the side button with the up or down volume button and then releasing in order to prevent inadvertent emergency calls
  • Fixes an issue in Freeform where some drawing strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger may not appear on shared boards
  • Addresses an issue where the wallpaper may appear black on the Lock Screen
  • Fixes an issue where horizontal lines may temporarily appear while waking up iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Fixes an issue where the Home Lock Screen widget does not accurately display Home app status
  • Addresses an issue where Siri may not respond properly to music requests
  • Resolves issues where Siri requests in CarPlay may not be understood correctly

To update your iPhone, open Settings>General>Software Update, and then follow the prompts to install the new software. Devices already compatible with iOS 16 can update, including:

  • iPhone 14 (base, Plus, Pro, and Pro Max)
  • iPhone 13 (base, Pro, Pro Max)
  • iPhone 12 (base, mini, Pro, Pro Max)
  • iPhone 11 (base, Pro, Pro Max)
  • iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max
  • iPhone X and iPhone XR
  • iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd gen)
  • iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus

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