8 changes, fixes and new iPhone features available with iOS 16.1 beta 3

The changes in iOS 16.1 beta 3 include new iPhone features such as Live Activities for live sports scores and a demo for the iPhone 14’s satellite connectivity feature.

iOS 16.1 features, changes and fixes

iPhone 14 Pro Max held in hand, displaying the lock screen
New iPhone features are coming with iOS 16.1 | Image: Jeremy Bezanger / Unsplash
  • What’s happening? Apple yesterday released a third beta of what would become the iOS 16.1 software update bringing several feature changes and fixes.
  • Why care? Because iOS 16.1 will bring fixes to some of the widely reported teething issues that have been plaguing early adopters.
  • What to do? Wait a little bit more as Apple is scheduled to release iOS 16.1 and other OS updates in October to play with the new features in iOS 16.1.

1. More elegant wallpapers UI in Settings

Apple has tied up a few loose ends when it comes to the interface for selecting your wallpapers in Settings → Wallpaper. In the third beta of iOS 16.1, that interface is visibly more responsive and provides some additional options. For instance, you can now cycle through multiple lock screens by swiping, as well as create new ones right there without having to go to an actual lock screen.

2. Live Activities for live sports scores

The Live Activities feature promises to bring continually updated real-time information to the lock screen so you can do things such as check sports scores or get package delivery updates without having to launch an app.

If you’ve installed iOS 16.1 beta 3, go to the TV app and follow a few listed games there to get real-time updates via a widget on the lock screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, Live Activities will be also displayed within Dynamic Island.

Apple has said that Live Activities will support NBA and Premier League games for users in the United States and Canada, as well as MLB games for users in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and South Korea. Read: How to set different lock and home screen wallpaper in iOS 16

3. The In-App Content setting for App Store

iOS 16.1 beta brings a new option in your App Store settings. If you go to Settings → App Store, you’ll spot a brand-new switch, labeled “In-App Content.”

It’s turned on by default and Apple says that this option will automatically launch new apps in the background to download content before they’re first launched (not to be confused with the Background App Refresh option which fetches new app data periodically in the background after the app was first launched).

4. The Matter Accessories option is temporarily removed

Image: Apple

The biggest industry players, including Apple, have created a standard dubbed Matter that should make smart home appliances work better together regardless of whether the customer is invested in Apple’s, Google’s or Amazon’s ecosystem.

Apple has said that a future iOS 16 update will enable Matter support. However, this option doesn’t seem to be ready as of yet because iOS 16.1 beta 3 has removed the “Matter Accessories” entry from Settings → General.

This option will be reintroduced at a later stage after Apple works out the kinks.

5. A fix for the YouTube Picture-in-Picture bug

The third beta of iOS 16.1 brings fixes for a known issue with the picture-in-picture feature on YouTube. Previously, you’d get a blank video in a picture-in-picture overlay instead of an actual video. This has now been fixed.

6. Updated visuals for new Focus modes

iOS 16 brings new Focus options like tying a Focus to a specific lock screen. In the third beta of iOS 16.1, new Focus modes in Settings → Focus show updated visuals.

7. Code for emergency SOS via satellite

Composition showing an iPhone 14 with Emergency SOS via satellite in the foreground, with a space shot of Earth along with an orbiting satellite in the background
Composition: Christian Zibreg / iDB | Earth image: Apple / YouTube

The iPhone 14 family uses a new Qualcomm chip that can connect to communication satellites in low-earth orbit. This lets you text emergency services and seek help in areas without cellular or Wi-Fi coverage.

Now, Apple has said that this feature will arrive in November—indeed, the third beta of iOS 16.1 appears to have added supporting code for satellite connectivity.

8. Satellite connectivity demo for iPhone 14 users

Using the new Emergency SOS via satellite feature will be free of charge during the first two years. After that, you’ll need to subscribe though Apple has yet to reveal pricing information. To stop people from trying out this feature with fake 911 calls, iOS 16.1 beta 3 brings a demo feature for Emergency SOS via satellite.

Available in Settings → Emergency SOS when satellite connectivity on the iPhone 14 launches in November, the demo will teach you how to connect to a satellite in an emergency, which involves having a clear view of the sky to boost reception.

iPadOS 16 beta 10 brings Stage Manager to non-M1 iPads

Aside from iOS 16.1 beta 3, Apple also released a developer build of iPadOS 16 beta 10 along with the ninth beta of macOS 13 and the third beta of watchOS 9.1.

As we mentioned earlier, iPadOS 16.0 won’t be released publicly as Apple focuses on iPadOS 16.1 with important Stage Manager changes.

An iPad connected to an external monitor running three apps at once using Apple's Stage Manager multitasking feature in iPadOS 16
Stage Manager will get external display support later | Image: Michale Billig / iDB

In the tenth beta of iPadOS 16, Stage Manager finally runs on other iPads running older chipsets, starting with the third-generation iPad Pro from 2018 which uses the A12 Bionic chip. Further iPadOS betas will permit Stage Manager to run on even older iPads, albeit with fewer capabilities available.

However, Stage Manager won’t support external displays on iPad when the feature initially launches—Apple needs more time to eradicate bugs when using Stage Manager on an external display.

When will iOS 16.1 launch publicly?

Apple has said that iOS 16.1 will launch sometime in October. The company is expected to hold another keynote in October to announce new hardware such as updated Apple silicon computers, the next iPad Pro and more. If history is anything to go by, iOS 16.1 will launch alongside iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura several days before the new devices arrive in stores.

Aside from the aforementioned changes in beta 3, iOS 16.1 will bring other new features to the mix. The battery percentage indicator, for instance, will be available across all compatible iPhones, including iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini. You will be able to delete the stock Wallet app if you have no use for it.

And in Maps, you’ll spot a new Clean Energy Charging option.