Everything new in iOS 16.4: Fresh new emoji, page curl, web notifications, AOD Focus filter, new Shortcuts actions, etc.

Apple launched iOS 16.4 for iPhone on March 27, 2023, with new emoji, an Always-On display Focus filter, Podcasts and Music app improvements, and more.

To install the update without losing any data or settings, go to Settings → General → Software Update and follow the onscreen instructions. You’ll want to be connected to Wi-Fi and keep your device plugged into power to install the update.

Aside from iOS 16.4, Apple also released the new macOS Ventura 13.3, watchOS 9.4 and tvOS 16.4 updates. In this guide, we lay out all of the new features, essential enhancements and under-the-hood tweaks available in iOS 16.4, so grab your iPhone and follow along with us.

iOS and iPadOS 16.4 release notes

iOS 16.4 pack in these enhancements and bug fixes:

  • 21 new emoji, including animals, hand gestures and objects are now available in emoji keyboard
  • Notifications for web apps added to the Home Screen
  • Voice Isolation for cellular calls prioritizes your voice and blocks out ambient noise around you
  • Duplicates album in Photos expands support to detect duplicate photos and videos in an iCloud Shared Photo Library
  • VoiceOver support for maps in the Weather app
  • Accessibility setting to automatically dim video when flashes of light or strobe effects are detected
  • Fixes an issue where Ask to Buy requests from children may fail to appear on the parent’s device
  • Addresses issues where Matter-compatible thermostats could become unresponsive when paired to Apple Home
  • Crash Detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models

iPadOS 16.4 brings these enhancements and bug fixes:

  • 21 new emoji including animals, hand gestures, and objects are now available in emoji keyboard
  • Apple Pencil hover adds tilt and azimuth support so you can preview your mark at any angle before you make it in Notes and supported apps on iPad Pro 11-inch (4th generation) and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th generation)
  • Notifications for web apps added to the Home Screen
  • Duplicates album in Photos expands support to detect duplicate photos and videos in an iCloud Shared Photo Library
  • VoiceOver support for maps in the Weather app
  • Accessibility setting to automatically dim video when flashes of light or strobe effects are detected
  • Fixes an issue with Apple Pencil responsiveness that may occur while drawing or writing in the Notes app
  • Fixes an issue where Ask to Buy requests from children may fail to appear on the parent’s device
  • Addresses issues where Matter-compatible thermostats could become unresponsive when paired to Apple Home

You can also access these changelogs on Apple’s website:

For information regarding the security content of these and other software updates, read Apple’s support document. Apple also maintains a webpage listing iOS and iPadOS feature availability for all regions.

Everything new in iOS 16.4

21 new emojis

Images of several new emoticons being consider for Emoji 15, including a shaking face, pushing hands, a pink heart, a light-blue heart, a grey heart, a donkey, a moose, a black bird and jellyfish
Some of the new emoji in iOS 16.4 | Image: Emojipedia

31 new emoji are available with iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4, macOS Ventura 13.3 and tvOS 16.4. The new emoji characters, announced in July 2022 as part of the Emoji Consortium’s 5.0 specification, include new faces, hand gestures and heart colors.

There are also emoji representing animals like a blackbird, donkey, jellyfish, goose, hyacinth and maracas; objects such as a hair pick, comb and flute; foods like ginger; and so on. After updating your devices, the new emoji are available on the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV.

The page-turning animation is back

Page turning animation styles in iOS 16.4's Books app
The page curl effect is back! | Image: MacRumors

iOS 16.4 revives the page curl effect that has been present in the Books app since its inception. It was removed in iOS 16.0 without explanation, but now Apple has returned it. After installing iOS 16.4, access the Themes and Settings section in the Books app to choose between the Curl, Side and None options.

Choosing Curl lets you transition from one page to another by swiping from the bottom left or right corner to the other edge as if trying to turn a physical page. The Slide option replaces this skeuomorphic effect with a more traditional navigation requiring touching the right margin or swiping right to left to go to the next page.

Inline Mastodon previews in Messages

Native Mastodon embed in iOS 16.4's Messages app
Inline Mastodon embed in iOS 16.4’s Messages | Image: Benjamin Mayo/9to5Mac

iOS 16.4’s Messages app renders rich inline embeds for Mastodon links sent via iMessage. With Twitter folding and people defecting to the self-hosted social network Mastodon, Apple saw an opportunity to boost the user experience of exchanging Mastodon links via Message.

The software Mastodon links are now embedded inline in conversation threads, with additional information available similar to the tweet balloon previews in iMessage, including author name, body and post attachments which are not displayed when sharing regular article URLs.

Web notifications and Safari changes

Several changes in Safari should make web apps feel more like their native counterparts. For example, Safari now supports push notifications from web apps like Google Maps, Uber and Instagram—just like on the Mac.

Similar to alerts from native apps, web notifications appear in the Notification Center, on the Lock Screen and on your paired Apple Watch. Web notifications can also be used in Focus modes to give you control over when, where and how web apps can push these alerts to your device.

Home Screen badges for web apps

iOS 16.4 permits third-party web browsers like Chrome to add web apps to the Home Screen. This is a significant change because only Safari was allowed to add web apps to the Home Screen since the iPhone’s inception.

Speaking of web apps, only those websites you’ve added to the Home Screen can send push notifications. This limitation exists to protect you from being inundated with unwanted web notifications.

Web apps on the Home Screen can even display unread notification count as a badge, further erasing the difference between web apps and native ones.

Voice isolation for cellular calls

iOS 15 brought a new Voice Isolation mode for suppressing ambient noise during calls, but it was limited to VoIP calls in apps like FaceTime and Skype. With iOS 16.4, you can use this feature during a cellular call to make your voice sound clearer to the other party. Open the Control Center during a call, hit the Mic Mode tile and choose Voice Isolation from the menu.

Voice Isolation mode for FaceTime VoIP calls on iPhone
iOS 16.4 brings the Voice Isolation mode to cellular calls | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

Finding duplicates in shared Photos libraries

The iCloud Photo Sharing Library feature in the Photos and Camera apps on iPhone
iCloud Photo Sharing Library in Photos and Camera | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

The handy duplicate image finder that iOS 16 introduced in the Photos app has been extended to work with iCloud Shared Photos Libraries in iOS 16.4. Now you can save even more storage space by eliminating duplicate images and videos in your shared library. Before iOS 16.4, the feature was limited to personal libraries.

Install iOS 16.4, iPadOS 16.4 and macOS Ventura 13.3 on your iPhone, iPad and Mac, then leave the device on its charger with the Photos app running in the background. When Photos finishes scanning your shared library, go to the Duplicates album.

New Home app architecture, take two

iPhone screenshot of an upgrade prompt in iOS 16.2's Home app, set against a colorful background
The Home app got a performance upgrade | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

iOS 16.0 brought a revamped Home app with new features, and iOS 16.2 was supposed to introduce a new underlying architecture for the connected home. But the launch was botched as people reported problems with their smart home appliances, so Apple pulled the update to resolve the bugs and issues.

The new Home app architecture is finally ready in iOS 16.4. After updating your device, open the Home app and touch the … (ellipsis) button, then choose Home Settings → Software Update and hit Learn More under Home Upgrade Available to upgrade your smart home. As a result, you should enjoy more reliable connectivity between smart home devices.

Software Update in iOS 16.4’s Home app now supports updating Matter accessories.

Apple Podcasts enhancement, including Up Next

Splash screen in the Apple's Podcasts app on iOS 16.4 advertising new features
Up Next in Apple Podcasts lets you resume episodes | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

Podcast channels are now supported in the Library view for quick access to content from your followed shows. A channel is a collection of shows offered by a podcast creator. With this feature, brands can list all their podcasts in the same place.

Another improvement should let you start listening to a podcast episode on one device and pick up where you left off on another via the Up Next queue. The Up Next queue is also accessible in the Podcasts app on CarPlay. In addition, Podcasts on iOS 164. ’s CarPlay lets you find new shows via the newly-added Browse section.

The Up Next queue also includes episodes you’ve saved to your library and episodes from shows you don’t follow. Of course, you can easily mark any item in your Up Next as watched/played or remove it instantly from the queue.

Minor TV app changes

There are no new features for the TV app in iOS 16.4 except for a few minor changes and tweaks. For example, films and TV shows in your Up Next queue now show the … (ellipsis) menu. This lets you quickly remove a show from Up Next, jump to its details, share it, etc. Before iOS 16.4, this menu was unavailable in Up Next.

Apple has also fixed an issue causing the TV app to become unresponsive or freeze for users with an extensive library of purchased movies and TV shows.

A new Focus filter for the Always-On display

iPhone screenshots showcasing a new Focus filter in iOS 16.4 for toggling the Always-On display feature
iOS 16.4’s Always-On display Focus Filter | Image: Federico Viticci/Mastodon

iOS 16.4 brings a new Focus filter for automatically toggling the Always-On display on or off. You can use this filter for your Driving focus or similar to avoid distractions. Go to Settings → Focus, choose a focus, scroll down, choose Add Filter, and then select Always-On Display in the System Filters section.

iOS 16.0 introduced the Focus Filters feature to automatically configure compatible apps or toggle certain device features when using specific focus modes.

The Music app tweaks

The Music app on iOS 16.4 includes several minor changes. The Profile icon for your Apple Music profile is now accessible from the Library section. Previously, only the Listen Now and Browse tabs showed your profile picture.

Moreover, artwork covers shown when browsing playlists are now smaller to fit more than twice the number of playlists on the screen simultaneously. Some of the buttons in the app, like the sort icon, have been updated visually.

Apple is also readying its classical music offering via the new standalone Apple Music Classical app. It will be available to download beginning March 28, but you won’t be able to install it if you remove the stock Music app.

12 new actions in the Shortcuts app

Closeup of the Apple Shortcuts app icon on iOS home screen
Automate your Always-On display with Shortcuts | Image: Dimitri Karastelev/Unsplash

There are 12 new actions in iOS 16.4’s Shortcuts app, including ones for automating display features such as Always-On display, Night Shift and True Tone.

Features like your VPN, Stage Manager and AirDrop, and settings such as Auto-Answer Calls, Silence Unknown Callers and Announce Notifications, are now available as customizable actions in the Shortcuts app.

As you can see, iOS 16.4 finally lets you automate the Always-On display or other display features above when triggered by events or locations.

Beta testing via Software Update

Signing up for beta updates in iOS 16.4's Software Updates section
Sing up for beta updates in Software Update are | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

iOS 16.4 lets you enroll in betas directly in Software Update. As long as you are enrolled in the Apple Developer Program or Apple Beta Software Program, you can go to Settings → General → Software Update → Beta Updates to choose whether you’d like to install the developer or public iOS beta (and select the Apple ID for beta testing) or stop receiving beta updates over the air altogether.

This new way of signing up for betas eliminates the need to download a configuration profile from Apple’s website. Some developers would share configuration profiles online to let others test iOS betas without paying the annual $100 developer program fee. With the new system, that’s no longer possible.

A new Coverage section in Settings

iPhone showcasing the new Coverage section in iOS 16.4's Settings app
A new Coverage section in Settings | Image: Christian Zibreg/iDB

The iOS 16.4 Settings app has picked up a new Coverage section. Found in Settings → General → About, it lists helpful information related to the standard 1-year warranty and optional AppleCare+ coverage for your device and any paired compatible accessories, such as AirPods and Apple Watch.

“Coverage is only shown for this iPhone and Bluetooth-paired devices that can be covered by AppleCare+,” reads the feature’s description in the Settings app.

Before iOS 16.4, you could view limited information about the device’s warranty in Settings → General → About but there was no dedicated section for AppleCare details on connected accessories.

5G support expansion

iOS 16.4 also turns on 5G support in Turkey and support for the fast 5G Standalone network via T-Mobile in the United States, Brazilian carriers Vivo and TIM Brazil and Japanese carrier Softbank. Additionally, iOS 16.4 will let customers of Docomo and JCOM carriers in Japan convert their physical SIM cards to eSIMs.

Tidbits: Satellite tracking, Crash Detection changes and more

The new Wallet Order Tracking widget in iOS 16.4 for Apple Pay purchases

Predictive text and Apple’s gestural keyboard, QuickPath, are now available in Ukrainian. Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu keyboards in iOS 16.4 support transliteration layouts, while new keyboard layouts are available for Choctaw and Chickasaw.

Emergency SOS via satellite on the iPhone 14 family now informs you when the next satellite will pass over your location using specific hour and minute timelines like “Satellite Available in X Hours and Y Minutes.” The Crash Detection feature on the iPhone 14 models has been optimized to reduce the number of false 911 calls triggered by skiers and snowboarders.

iOS 16.4’s Tips app offers user guides for other Apple devices, not just the iPhone‌. There are new Wallet widgets for tracking your orders on the Lock Screen, and the Settings → Battery section now shows battery drain for the Always-On display.

The iOS 16 code suggests that Apple will soon bring ‌Apple Pay‌ to South Korea.

On top of that, there are also signs of the plumbing work for the upcoming high-yield Apple Card savings account in iOS 16.4, although it’ll probably take a while for this feature to officially launch. Next, forgetting a Wi-Fi network in iOS 16.4 requires authenticating with your passcode for added security.

There’s a new option in Settings → Accessibility → Motion to automatically dim video content that depicts repeated flashing or strobing lights.

Lastly, iOS 16.4 brings tilt and azimuth support to the Apple Pencil.

How do you like iOS 16.4?

Have you installed iOS 16.4 yet? If not, are you planning to update your iPhone anytime soon? Which new feature(s) in iOS 16.4 do you like most, and why?

Chime in with your thoughts in the commenting section down below.