The five best new features of Apple’s iOS 16.3 update released today

The five best new features of today’s Apple iOS 16.3 update…including one that might really be a lifesaver

Apple’s latest iOS software update has arrived, and it includes some new features — one of which could be a real lifesaver.

IOS 16.3 is available for iPhone 8 and above devices. To download, open the Settings app, go to General and select Software Update.

Aside from the usual bug fixes and quality of life changes, the theme of this update appears to be security. looks at the five best new features:

Apple's latest iOS software update has arrived, and it includes a bunch of new features, one of which could be a real lifesaver

Apple’s latest iOS software update has arrived, and it includes a slew of new features — one of which could be a real lifesaver

SOS emergency lets you call silently

Apple’s Emergency SOS service has been upgraded, and you can now call silently if you enable the feature via a slider option (useful in situations where an attacker may be present).

This is an option that you enable so that when you make an SOS call from the emergency SOS service, the phone will not flash or count down.

The Emergency SOS service has also been tweaked to reduce the chance of accidentally triggering it.

The new Call With Hold and Release feature triggers an emergency call when you press and hold the side button and volume buttons to start a countdown, then release them to trigger an emergency call (previously it was triggered when users simply held the buttons).

Security key for added two-factor security

The new update adds support for physical security keys instead of using verification codes from other devices.

Users will be able to protect their Apple ID and iCloud accounts with a security key — a physical device that acts as a second layer of two-factor authentication.

So instead of getting a code from another signed-in Apple device, you use your Security Key to generate the code.

Apple won’t be making its own, but the new service will work with existing security keys from brands like Yubikey.

Homepod just got better

New tips make it easier to stream music, podcasts, and phone calls from your phone to your Apple Homepod speaker via Handoff.

The new update also adds support for the next-generation Homepod speaker.

Several other features Apple announced earlier this month (along with a second-generation Homepod speaker) will arrive with the 16.3 software update.

Among other things, it can activate previously unused temperature and humidity sensors inside the Homepod speaker, providing users with information about the indoor climate.

There are several audio upgrades, including sharpened sounds for spoken content like podcasts and remastered ambient sounds that can be added to automations and alarms in tApple’s Home app.

The Find My app on the Homepod also allows users to ask Siri for the location of friends or family (they have to share this data with you first).

Advanced Data Protection

This update enables end-to-end encryption for data in iCloud, including messages, device backups, and photos.

It also means Apple no longer stores encryption keys in iCloud – meaning your data is safe even if Apple’s servers are compromised or law enforcement tries to gain access

According to Apple, “If you choose to enable Advanced Data Protection, most of your iCloud data—including iCloud backups, photos, notes, and more—is protected using end-to-end encryption. No one else can access your end-to-end encrypted Data, even Apple, is safe even in the event of a cloud data breach.

The downside, of course, is that you’ll need to set up an alternate recovery method — a trusted contact or a recovery key — since Apple no longer has the key to let you recover your account.

Advanced Data Protection is rolling out in the US as part of the 16.2 update: This new update is available globally.

You Can Celebrate Black History Month

Apple has introduced a black Unity-themed iPhone wallpaper for the lock screen, rolling out with iOS 16.3.

“Members and allies of Apple’s Black creative community came together to develop this year’s Black Unity collection and design new expressions inspired by the mosaic creation process, celebrating the energy and unity of the Black community,” Apple said.

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