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12 iOS 16.4 features that are about to make your iPhone even better

While we wait to get our first look at iOS 17 later this summer, Apple has officially released its latest iOS update in the form of iOS 16.4. This is the fourth major iOS 16 update, and there’s a surprising amount of new features and goodies to check out.

Following multiple beta versions over the last few weeks, Apple began rolling out the final build of iOS 16.4 to everyone on March 27, 2023. If you have an iPhone and want to know what’s new, here’s a look at the 12 biggest iOS 16.4 features you need to check out.

Apple Books brings back the page curl effect

If you’re an avid Apple Books user, then you may recall the old page curl effect, which was removed in a previous iOS update. Basically, when you would turn the page in an e-book, the app would mimic an actual book, so you would see the page slide from one side of the screen to the other. Since this was removed, the page would simply vanish and be replaced by the next page.

Anyone who likes skeuomorphic design will appreciate the return of the page curl. There are also other changes in Apple Books, so you can choose the page curl effect transition, themes, and more.

31 new emoji

Sample of new emoji coming in iOS 16.4

One of the headliner features of iOS 16.4 is the arrival of 31 brand-new emojis. Some of these include pink (finally!) and light blue hearts, new animals like a moose and a goose, peas in a pod, maracas, a “talk to the hand” gesture, and a shaking face.

All of these new emoji are here thanks to Unicode 15.0, which was introduced in September 2022.

Push notifications from websites with Safari

If there’s a particular website that you follow regularly, and you don’t want to miss a beat, such as Digital Trends, then you can grant permission to get push notifications for websites.

Of course, you don’t want to be inundated with web push notifications, so this feature will only work with websites that you’ve saved to the home screen from Safari.

Always-on display options for Focus modes

iOS 16 Work Focus with a Fantastical widget and two rows of work-related apps
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Those who have the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max have Apple’s brand-new always-on display. If you use Focus modes, iOS 16.4 adds a new Focus mode filter for the always-on display settings. With this, you should be able to enable or disable the always-on display as you see fit when Focus is enabled.

New Apple Wallet widgets

In iOS 16, Apple added some new features to the Wallet app, which involve tracking certain online orders with the Shopify app. With iOS 16.4, Apple has added new widgets that will display your tracking information, as long as where you ordered from supports Shopify. The widgets come in small, medium, and large sizes for your needs.

Mastodon link previews in Messages

Mastodon app listed on the App Store.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

As Elon Musk continues to ruin Twitter, many people have flocked over to the decentralized rival, Mastodon. Though Mastodon may be confusing for some, once you find the right app and UI for it, the network can rival that of Twitter.

With exponential growth in recent months, Mastodon links have been exchanged in Messages, but you wouldn’t get the neat preview of the post you would with Twitter. Apple has added rich previews for Mastodon links in iOS 16.4, so you can see a preview of what the post is before actually clicking on it.

Improved Home app with HomeKit

Apple HomeKit logo.

Originally, iOS 16.2 brought a revamped Home app architecture, but that was eventually pulled because of bugginess. But it’s coming back in iOS 16.4, so HomeKit users have that to look forward to.

The new architecture was designed to improve the communication between any smart home accessories and your Apple devices. For example, if you use Philips Hue light bulbs, then you should expect better and more reliable connections with your iPhone that has iOS 16.4 running on it.

Easier beta opt-in from the Settings app

Some people may have trouble remembering if they’re registered in Apple’s public beta program, or perhaps they’re in the developer beta program. With iOS 16.4, Apple has made it easier to check if your current Apple ID is associated with either the developer beta, public beta, or both.

Those who may have a separate Apple ID for beta testing, such as for work, can even switch to that account right on the device to get the latest beta. It’s a lot easier to manage your beta testing Apple IDs, and that’s always a good thing.

See who (and what) is covered with AppleCare

When you have a lot of Apple devices, it can be hard to remember what you have AppleCare coverage for. This is even more true if you use Family Sharing and there are other people in your Family group. This is easier to manage with iOS 16.4 as well.

With the latest iOS 16.4 release, you’ll be able to go right into Settings to check who and what is covered under AppleCare right now. Any devices that are under AppleCare will have an icon next to them for easy recognition.

Voice isolation for phone calls

The iPhone SE 2022 and the iPhone 14 Plus's screens.
iPhone 14 Plus (left) and iPhone SE (2022) (right) Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Voice isolation is a feature that has been available for video calls and other services, such as FaceTime. But iOS 16.4 is bringing voice isolation to cellular calls as well, which is a feature that has been missing for quite some time.

In fact, some people even just use FaceTime Audio when it’s an option just to make use of the voice isolation feature. But now that it’s coming to regular phone calls, you won’t need to do this workaround anymore.

Apple Music improvements

Apple Music listeners will enjoy the new, albeit small, modifications to the Apple Music app. First, there is an easier way to access your profile — a more prominent profile button now appears at the top. This makes it easier to get to your profile settings. Another change is when you add a song to your queue, now only a small banner pops up along the bottom, rather than taking up the entire screen.

A better Podcast app

Those who listen to podcasts on a regular basis may be using Apple’s own Podcasts app. There are some notable improvements in iOS 16.4.

First, there is now be a devoted section for channels. With a channel, a content provider can have all of their various podcast offerings in a single place for the listener to peruse from. Up Next gets some extra functionality by allowing users to touch and hold on a show’s artwork to remove it from the queue, as episodes that are saved to the library are automatically added. So now it will be easier to remove if you want to listen to it later.

The episode dashboard is also easier to understand, as the number of unplayed episodes will be at the top of each show page, as well as the Recently Updated section of your library.

How to download iOS 16.4 on your iPhone

iPhone 14 Pro Max with an iOS 16.4 icon next to it.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

There’s a good deal of new features for you to use in iOS 16.4. But before you can check out any of them, you need to download iOS 16.4 first.

Thankfully, downloading iOS 16.4 is a piece of cake. All you have to do is the following:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Tap Download and Install once the iOS 16.4 update appears.

That’s all there is to it! The update comes in at 1.97GB, so make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network (or a fast 5G connection) before beginning your download.

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Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
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