February 8, 2023

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Here are the key features of Apple’s iOS 16.2 update • TechCrunch

Apple is rolling out its iOS 16.2 update to all users today along with iPadOS 16.2 and macOS Ventura 13.1. The new version brings features like improved encryption for iCloud data, Live Activity on the home screen and a karaoke function for Apple Music. Apple is also introducing its Freeform collaborative whiteboard app.

Here is the list of all things you will experience with iOS 16.2.

End-to-end encryption for iCloud data

In the past, Apple has encrypted sensitive data like passwords while it’s stored in iCloud. Now the company is introducing end-to-end encryption for most data with a new enhanced data protection mode. Email, contacts and calendar events are not end-to-end encrypted as these services rely on standard unencrypted protocols. Enabling Advanced Data Protection means only you can access your device’s data by authenticating your identity on a trusted device like an iPhone or a Mac. If anyone else tries to decrypt the data – including Apple – they will likely find gibberish.

Advanced Apple security

Photo credit: Apple

Don’t confuse this with lockdown mode, which prevents threats like government spyware attacks on journalists, activists, and human rights defenders.

With this launch of iOS 16.2, all US-based users can secure their data behind encryption. The company said a wider rollout is expected next year. At this stage, enhanced privacy mode protects things like device and message backups, reminders, Safari bookmarks, notes, photos, and voice memos.

Apple Music karaoke mode

While Spotify Wrapped is a coveted end-of-year event, Apple Music’s karaoke mode could be a fun feature for house parties year-round. The feature, called Apple Sing, will be available to all users with iPhone 11 and later, as well as iPad and Apple TV.

Photo credit: Apple

Apple uses a combination of improved real-time lyrics syncing for karaoke and on-device machine learning to separate vocals from the music track. It also separates and highlights backing vocals for a better group experience. The company said this feature will be available at launch for the top 80% of its most played songs, with more tracks being added along the way.

For months, users have discovered Spotify’s own karaoke function while testing. But the company has never officially confirmed a rollout. Now that Apple Music has made this feature available to its users, the pressure will be on Spotify to launch it in its service.

freeform app

Apple first introduced Freeform as a digital whiteboard for its own ecosystem during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June. Last month we previewed the app, which was available through iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, and macOS 13.1 betas.

Photo credit: Apple

The app is easy to use: it’s just an infinite board where you can draw objects and lines, insert media, attach documents or notes, and annotate things. There’s also a collaborative element, but that requires everyone to use Apple devices.

Products in the digital whiteboard space are quite valuable. Last month, Adobe acquired Figma for a whopping $20 billion. Earlier this year, Miro raised $400 million at a $17.5 billion valuation. While Apple isn’t vying for enterprise customers or professional designers right now, it wants to attract the attention of casual inventors who want to choose Freeform over other tools.

AirDrop constraint

Apple has tweaked AirDrop settings in China with iOS 16.1.1 update. If you configure AirDrop to receive requests from “Everyone”, it is limited to 10 minutes. Now the company is enabling this feature for all users with the iOS 16.2 update. After 10 minutes, AirDrop’s setting reverts to “Contacts Only” and you have to manually change it to “Everyone” each time.

Live Activity feature updates

Live Activities are lock screen and home screen widgets that can be updated with real-time information. They were rolled out with the iOS 16.1 update. With iOS 16.2, Apple is introducing sports scores updates through the Apple TV app. US and Canadian users get access to scores for NBA, English Premier League and MLB games. Meanwhile, users in Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, the UK and South Korea will be able to access MLB results via live activity.

Other things

iPhone users in India can enjoy 5G in eligible areas of the Reliance Jio network with this update. The weather app will have its own news section to show you local news. Apple is also adding home screen widgets for Sleep. These widgets inform you about the last sessions and stages. You can also quickly view your medication plan.

The iOS 16.2 update will be rolled out to all users with iPhone 8 or later starting today.