Apple's iOS 16

The public betas of Apple’s iOS 16, macOS Ventura, and watchOS 9 are all ready to be downloaded.

The beta for iPadOS 16 is also out.

We still have a few months to go before Apple releases the next major versions of its operating systems. But you can try out iOS 16, iPadOS 16, watchOS 9, macOS Ventura, and tvOS 16 right now. A few weeks after giving the first betas to developers, Apple put out a public beta. Sign up for the Apple Beta Software Program and follow the instructions to get to them.

Keep in mind that Apple might not have found and fixed all of the bugs yet. Make sure you have a copy of your files before you install any beta (though backing up regularly is always a good practice). You can take your device out of the public beta program and put it back on an older version of its operating system.

You can learn how to use some of iOS 16’s new features. One of them is a redesigned lock screen with more layout and customization options, like dynamic wallpapers. Notifications and Focus Mode have also been updated, and with Live Activities, you can keep track of things like sports scores and transit riders. Face ID will finally work in landscape mode, and the Fitness app will no longer require an Apple Watch.

Also new is the ability to edit messages after sending them in the Messages app, a way to report spam text messages, a “Pay Later” option in Wallet, and the ability to schedule emails in the Mail app. Apple Maps, CarPlay, and Family Sharing will all get updates, among other things. For high-profile users, there will also be an “extreme” security option.

With iPad 16, you will have more control over how to resize apps that have, for example, windows that overlap. Some of the features are only available on iPads with M1 processors, though. There is also support for external displays, document collaboration like Google Drive, and (later this year) SharePlay features in Game Center.

Apple has also made multitasking an important part of macOS Ventura. With the Stage Manager tool, you can group windows on the side of your screen and put them in order by the app. In the Mail app, you will be able to undo sending, and in Safari, you will be able to share tab groups. There will also be a new security feature called “passkeys” that will use Face ID and Touch ID to log in. You’ll also be able to connect an iPhone to a Mac and use it as a webcam.

In watchOS 9, Apple is making big changes to the fitness features. You’ll be able to get distance and time intervals for your workouts. You will also be able to see what heart rate zone you are in when you work out or go to sleep. Apple is also promising better tracking of sleep and reminders to take medications.

When it comes to tvOS 16, there aren’t as many updates as there are for some other devices. One important change is that the Matter smart home standard is now fully supported. Like iOS 16, tvOS will support the Joy-Con and Switch Pro controllers from Nintendo.

With this year’s OS updates, Apple is ending support for some of its older devices. For example, to use iOS 16, you’ll need an iPhone 8 or later.