Latest iOS 13.4 developer beta hints at over-the-air OS recovery

Another week, another developer beta seeded for iOS 13.4, and yet another previously unannounced feature potentially discovered.

Earlier today, Apple seeded the third developer beta of iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4. With the latest software seed, another feature that Apple could potentially add to the mix is over-the-air (OTA) operating system recovery for iOS devices. Based on the latest code, that appears to be something Apple is working on.

Currently, despite the shift to wireless or self-dependent devices, it’s still necessary to use a Mac or a Windows PC to fully restore a device’s firmware. And for devices like the HomePod or the Apple Watch, which can’t connect to a computer, getting a firmware restore requires a visit to an Apple Store. Something that might not be all that easy for many device owners.

However, as discovered by 9to5Mac, a new feature called “OS Recovery” hints at a different way to handle this problem in the future. As noted in the report, the feature does not have a lot of details associated with it. However, the publication believes that this feature would make it possible to offer an OTA firmware restore for a variety of devices, including iPhones, the Apple Watch, HomePod, and the iPad — without having to connect to a computer or visit an Apple Store.

The report indicates that the feature is not accessible just yet, but it’s there at least.

Restoring via a hardware connection would still be a possibility:

According to what we found in the system, it would be possible to restore the iOS directly over-the-air as well as by connecting the device via USB to another iPhone or iPad, similar to how Apple’s Migration Tool works.

Apple has had its macOS Internet Recovery option in place for years now, but it’s been a missing spot for its other devices. Especially those running iOS. And the discovery of this particular feature would seem to suggest that rumors of a future iPhone without a Lightning port could really be in the works.

If any additional details regarding this OS Recovery feature are discovered, we will update this post accordingly.

What do you think? Does Apple need to launch this feature already?