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Apple’s iOS 16.4 beta brings new emoji, web app notifications, and more

Apple has just released the iOS 16.4 beta for developers and anyone else who wants a really early look at the new software. This is the first beta for iOS 16.4, following numerous releases for iOS 16.3.

The first highlighted items for iOS 16.4 are the new Unicode 15 emoji. These are the first new emoji in over a year. Some of these new emoji include a shaking face, pink heart, light blue heart, goose, donkey, angel wing, jellyfish, pea pod, ginger, folding hand fan, maracas, flute, and more. These new emoji additions were originally proposed in July 2022, and they were added to the Unicode standard in September 2022. It has taken a few months for these to get added to iOS because designers at Apple needed to create the icons with the information provided by the Unicode Consortium.

Sample of new emoji coming in iOS 16.4

Another big feature in iOS 16.4 is new support for web push notifications. This was promised in June 2022 during WWDC. With this feature, if you save a website as a web app on your home screen, you can get push notifications for that web app through Push API, Notifications API, and Service Workers. These web apps need permission from the user first before being able to send push notifications. These notifications are like other apps, showing up on the lock screen in the Notification Center, and even on a paired Apple Watch.

On the topic of webpages, third-party web browsers can also add web apps to the iOS home screen.

The beta also lets developers opt into the betas directly from the Settings app through Software Update Settings. For those on the developer beta, it will eliminate the need to install a profile from the Developer Center, making it easier to get the newest betas. The same thing also applies to those who are on the public beta.

Another interesting tidbit about iOS 16.4 is the addition of new features in the Podcasts app. There will be a new Channels menu in Podcasts, giving users a complete list of podcast channels in a single place on the iPhone, as well as the iPad and Mac. The next new addition is a change in the Up Next queue, as it will now include episodes that users have saved to the Library, as well as episodes that they play from shows that they don’t yet follow. More tools will be added later, giving listeners more control to manage Up Next, including touching and holding show artwork to remove it from the queue if desired.

Users can also see how many unplayed episodes await them at the top of a show page. Improvements to CarPlay are also included in this update, allowing access to Up Next and Recently Added queues from the Listen Now section in CarPlay.

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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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