iOS 16.2 arriving in mid-December with Freeform app and new iPhone features

iOS 16.2 is due in mid-December, bringing new iPhone features such as Apple’s new Freeform app, more frequent live activity updates and other improvements.

Apple's Freefrom app on iPhone, iPad and Mac
Freeform app for collaboration and brainstorming | Image: Apple
  • What’s happening? Apple is rumored to release the iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 updates around mid-December.
  • Why care? You’ll get new features for your iPhone just ahead of Christmas.
  • What to do? Update your devices to the latest OS versions if you haven’t already.

iOS 16.2 due in mid-December with new iPhone features

Writing in his Power On newsletter on Bloomberg, reporter Mark Gurman mentioned that Apple will release iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, tvOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1 around the middle of December 2022. Read: How to back up your iPhone

While the new Macs won’t debut until next year, the company still has some software coming. The iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 updates, which began beta testing this past week, should be released around mid-December.

iOS 16.2 is currently available for developer testing.

What’s new in iOS 16.2 and other Apple OS updates?

iOS 16.2 will include feature improvements and under-the-hood changes, including more frequent updating of live activities displayed on the lock screen, a more modern architecture for the Home app and the ability to report accidental SOS calls.

We’ve rounded up the best new iPhone features in iOS 16.2.

As for iPadOS 16.2, it will bring Apple’s new app for real-time collaboration, sketching, jotting down notes, sharing links and so forth, dubbed Freeform.

Both updates will bring a new Sleep widget, display sports scores from the TV app on the lock screen and provide other quality-of-life improvements. The State Manager multitasking feature in iPadOS 16.2 will support external displays.

On the Apple TV front, tvOS 16.2 will bring voice recognition to the Apple TV. With this feature, a person picks up their Siri Remote and presses the Siri button to invoke the smart assistant, which then recognizes the user by their voice and automatically activates their tvOS profile for personalized recommendations and more.

iOS 16.3 launching in early 2023

Gurman went on to say that there would be no new Macs this year. Instead, the journalist expects M2-powered MacBook Pro notebooks to arrive by spring 2023.

And before those machines land on store shelves, the Cupertino company will release the iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.3 software updates.

I’m told that Apple is aiming to introduce the upgraded models—including M2-based versions of the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros—in the first quarter of calendar 2023 and has tied the launches to the upcoming macOS Ventura 13.3 and iOS 16.3. Those software updates are expected to debut between early February and the beginning of March.

We don’t know what new features iOS 16.3, iPadOS 16.3 and macOS Ventura 13.3 will contain because Apple’s yet to beging testing those updates with developers.

As a rule of thumb, expect continued feature improvements and bug fixes. Some of the iOS 16 features Apple announced at WWDC22 have yet to arrive. It’s safe to bet that iOS 16.3 will bring most, if not all, of the features that are still missing.