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iOS 16.3 is now available with a big focus on security

iOS 16.3 is now available with a big focus on security


The update adds the ability to protect your Apple ID with a physical key.

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Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

Apple has released iOS 16.3, which adds the ability to use a security key to lock down your Apple ID and appears to bring the company’s Advanced Data Protection for iCloud feature to countries outside of the US. It also tweaks the Emergency SOS call system, includes a new “Unity” wallpaper, and adds new features for the existing HomePod Mini (as well as support for the second-gen HomePod).

Last year, Apple announced the hardware key feature, which lets you use something like a Yubikey as a second factor to log in to your Apple account, as part of a push to help people lock down their iCloud accounts. Also included in that announcement was Advanced Data Protection, which expands the types of data that are end-to-end-encrypted in your cloud storage. The feature came to the US with iOS 16.2, but the update released on Monday seems to make it available globally — Apple has removed a note from a support document saying that it’s only available in the US, and we’ve seen at least one report from someone in another country saying it’s available.

iOS 16.3 also comes alongside an update for HomePod Minis that adds some nice new features. The most notable change will is that the smart speakers act as temperature and humidity sensors, which you can use in automations. It also lets you set up automations using your voice and ask Siri where family, friends, and Find My devices are. You can download the update by going to the Home app, tapping the circled ... button in the top right, then tapping Home Settings > Software Update.

You can read about a few other upcoming HomePod features and our impressions of them here.

There’s also a macOS update that brings support for Apple ID security keys to desktops and laptops, and a tvOS update.

You can download iOS 16.3 by going to Settings > General > Software Update. It can take a while before it shows up for everyone, so you may have to check back every few hours.

Here are the official release notes from Apple:

New Unity wallpaper honors Black history and culture in celebration of Black History Month

Security Keys for Apple ID allow users to strengthen the security of their account by requiring a physical security key as part of the two factor authentication sign in process on new devices

Support for HomePod (2nd generation)

Emergency SOS calls now require holding the side button with the up or down volume button and then releasing in order to prevent inadvertent emergency calls

Fixes an issue in Freeform where some drawing strokes created with Apple Pencil or your finger may not appear on shared boards

Addresses an issue where the wallpaper may appear black on the Lock Screen

Fixes an issue where horizontal lines may temporarily appear while waking up iPhone 14 Pro Max

Fixes an issue where the Home Lock Screen widget does not accurately display Home app status

Addresses an issue where Siri may not respond properly to music requests

Resolves issues where Siri requests in CarPlay may not be understood correctly

Update January 23rd, 2:47PM ET: Updated to note that the update also seems to include global availability for Advanced Data Protection.

Update January 24th, 12:08PM ET: Updated to note that the HomePod’s 16.3 update hasn’t released yet.

Update January 24th, 2:03PM ET: Updated to reflect that the HomePod 16.3 update has arrived.