News All the Great Features of iOS 16.3 for Your iPhone « iOS & iPhone :: Gadget Hacks

The latest iPhone software update hasn’t unraveled all its secrets yet, but there’s still something exciting: Enhanced security features to protect your Apple ID account from phishing and other attacks. Read on to find out everything iOS 16.3 has in store for your iPhone.

The iOS 16.2 update was released on December 13, and it includes nearly 40 new features and changes. Like clockwork, Apple rolled out the first iOS 16.3 beta a day later, on December 14. There is no official release date for the iOS 16.3 stable release, but we could see it as early as February 2023. Until then, any iPhone that supports iOS 16 can install the iOS 16.3 beta to get a head start.

Apple on Dec. 7 announced a new security feature for the Messages app called iMessage Contact Key Verification, which will let you know if you’re really chatting with who you think you are. This feature is not available on iOS 16.3, but may be available in a future update.

While I’ll be focusing on new iPhone features, many of the items listed below are also available in iPadOS 16.3 for iPad and macOS 13.2 Ventura for Mac, also in beta.

1. Apple ID Security Key

In Settings –> Apple ID –> Password & Security, you’ll now find an option to “Add a Security Key,” a much-anticipated security enhancement.

A third-party security key is a physical device that you can use to verify your identity when you sign in to your account on a new device. On iOS 16.2, they provide strong protection against phishing and unauthorized attempts to access your Apple ID account.

According to Apple, the hardware security key can replace any two-factor authentication codes it sends to all trusted devices you’re signed in to when trying to sign in or reset a password.

This feature is designed for users such as celebrities, journalists, and members of the government who regularly face threats to their online accounts due to their public image. For opt-in users, Security Key strengthens Apple’s two-factor authentication by requiring a hardware security key as one of two factors. This takes our two-factor authentication one step further and even prevents advanced attackers from gaining users’ second factors in phishing scams.

– apple

Apple’s new feature only works with security keys certified by the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance, which is the industry-wide norm. Apple has a link to select a compatible security key during setup, and a catch-all “Learn More” link, but those pages don’t exist yet.

Apple also says you won’t need to re-authenticate with your security key when buying a new iPhone using the built-in device-to-device transfer protocol.

2. New splash screen for HomePod Handoff

If you have a HomePod, you can use Handoff to stream current audio from your iPhone to your HomePod, whether it’s songs, podcasts, or phone calls. iOS 16.3 includes a splash screen guide that explains the process in case you’ve never used it or don’t know what you can do. A tip titled “Transfer music and control HomePod” states:

Hold your iPhone close to your HomePod to see the controls, or move your music between your iPhone and HomePod while it’s playing.

You can hold your iPhone next to the HomePod again later to view the controls or stream music.

anything else?

So far, iOS 16.3 looks like a minor update, and the other changes we’ve seen are insignificant from a user perspective. As the beta progresses, we’re sure to see more additions or newly discovered features, especially since the stable build isn’t expected until sometime in February or March. Until then, stay tuned. If you spot anything we missed, please let us know.

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Cover photo and screenshots courtesy of Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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