iOS 15.4 Beta: the features that could arrive on your iPhone

The latest iOS beta has arrived for developers.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple’s iOS 15.4 remains in beta, meaning the operating system isn’t ready for its public debut just yet. But we’re probably getting closer to the release date of the new operating system since Apple rolled out the fourth version of the iOS 15.4 developer beta last week. Among other features, it would include a Gender-neutral voice option for Siri and anti-harassment alerts for AirTags.

Other highlights of the iOS 15.4 beta releases include new emoji, Face ID updates, and the long-awaited arrival of Universal Control. iOS 15.4 will follow iOS 15.3.1, which was released earlier this month to fix a security flaw in iPhones and iPads.

As the name suggests, iOS 15.4 is the fourth major update of iOS 15launched with the iPhone 13 in September. These updates, which began with December iOS version 15.1added more features to Apple’s iPhone operating system and updated existing ones.

As with every beta version of the operating system, we recommend download only on a test device, rather than your primary iPhone. Beta builds are for stability and bug testing, which means they’re not optimized like release builds – you’ll likely experience shorter battery life and app instability.

What is the release date of iOS 15.4?

Apple hasn’t announced a release date for iOS 15.4, but we might see the update on Apple’s rumored March event. Also look for an iOS 15.4 RC or “release candidate” version of the beta – these are usually the last beta builds before the public launch.

How to Download iOS 15.4 Beta?

You must first register for Apple Beta Software Program. Once in the program, download configuration profile from apple. Then you should be able to find the latest beta version by going to Settings > General > Software update and selection Download and install. Again, we only recommend this for secondary devices and testers due to the buggy nature of beta testing.

What is Universal Control?

Universal Control lets you use other devices as second screens, moving content seamlessly between them using a single device. This highly anticipated feature was originally announced as is part of MacOS Monterey but has been delayed over the fall, with a new timeline pointing to “this spring”. Fortunately, Universal Control has finally appeared in the iOS 15.4 beta and is expected to launch alongside the Monterey OS 15.3 update.

Can I use Face ID with masks?

Apple is finally updating its Face ID feature to be usable while wearing a mask. Since the feature uses a smaller part of your face to verify your identity, you’ll need to be more specific about the angle you’re holding your phone at when using Face ID. Your phone will even ask you if it needs you to look more directly at the screen. The updated feature should work for users who wear glasses, but it won’t work with sunglasses.

What new emoji are coming?

If you’re the type of person who prides themselves on using creative and fun emoji, you’ll love iOS 15.4. There is more of 37 new emojis in the update, including new options for pregnant women, heart-shaped hands, a salute, and – our favorite – a lip-biting emoji. The emojis were revealed last fall and also include a melting face, tear-holding face, bird’s nest, coral, lotus, low battery, and red beans.

Another feature included in the update is the ability to copy text from objects using the camera in the Notes or Reminders apps. And, as spotted by ZDNet, the second iOS 15.4 beta update as well fixes a bug related to Siri interaction recordings.

For more information about Apple, read how Apple would let your iPhone be a payment terminal and how Apple would prepare a wide range of new products for this fall.

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