Following the first iOS 16.6 Beta 1 that was released last week and the iOS 16.5 in the middle of May, Apple has now shipped the second beta of iOS 16.6 for public testers. The update notably brings minor changes but creates ground works to test the security feature called iMessage Contact Key Verification.
Apple announced Security Keys and iMessage Contact Key Verification in December last year. However, only the former made its way to iPhones through iOS 16.3. The Cupertino company could likely enable the latter in the upcoming iOS 16.6 after traces were found in the first beta.
To refresh, the iMessage Contact Key Verification was introduced and meant for individuals such as journalists and government employees targeted by cyberattacks and prone to eavesdropping. It's a feature that will enhance the end-to-end encryption and security when using Apple's communication services such as iMessage and FaceTime.
In the first beta, the feature was first searchable from the settings, although appeared unusable if further selected. But in the latest iOS 16.6 Beta 2, Apple has seemingly removed the service. With this note, the iPhone maker could be testing the feature and eventually plan to reintroduce them in the subsequent beta versions based on the 2023 timeframe.
Compared to iOS 16.5 which added a few notable features like support for installing software updates for iPhones and iPad when they are below 50 percent battery capacity, iOS 16.6 is already shaping up as a minor firmware. The reason might be Apple focusing on bringing the iOS 17, which is slated to be previewed on June 5th at WWDC 2023.
However, iOS 16.6 will still continue to optimize the performance of iOS 16, which still have some pending issues. Furthermore, Apple confirms that the new software is resolving some Matter-related problems as described in the published release notes.
Have you updated to iOS 16.5 yet? Which of the new features are you already using? Share your findings in the comment section.