Apple released iOS 16.6 beta 1 to public beta testers Monday, less than a week after the release of iOS 16.5. We don’t expect many new features with iOS 16.6 since Apple is expected to announce iOS 17 at its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but the 16.6 beta sets the groundwork for a new iPhone security tool.
New iOS features can be fun, but we recommend only downloading a beta on something other than your primary phone just in case the new software causes issues. Apple also provides beta testers with an app called Feedback. Testers can notify Apple of any issues in the new software with the app, that way the problem can be addressed before general release.
Here’s what could be coming to your iPhone with iOS 16.6.
iMessage Contact Key Verification
Apple announced iMessage Contact Key Verification in December 2022, and the first iOS 16.6 beta appears to include some of the framework for the tool.
“With iMessage Contact Key Verification, users who face extraordinary digital threats … can choose to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend,” Apple wrote in a news release at the time.
The feature doesn’t appear to be operational, but if you go to Settings and search for “Contact Key Verification” in iOS 16.6, you should see an option for the feature. Tapping the feature just opens your Apple ID settings at this time.
Apple hasn’t announced a release date for iOS 16.6. Apple might include more features in iOS 16.6, and there’s no guarantee that Contact Key Verification will be released in the update.