Apple’s vision of user-controlled messaging is coming into focus.
On Wednesday, the iPhone maker finally released the long-awaited iOS 16 Developer Beta 4, which includes updates to Messages and Mail that give you a better understanding of how its new communication controls will and won’t work. The latest version arrives a few weeks after Apple’s first iOS 16 public beta.
On the messaging front, retrieving and editing sent messages is much more like when Apple announced the feature – and iOS 16 as a whole – at its WWDC developer conference in June. But the company is also adding some nuances that weren’t entirely obvious at the time.
Messages can be edited for up to 15 minutes after being sent. On the recipient side, they see a log of their changes. This means they see both the original and the new message, preceded by “Edited to”. Editing messages in iOS 16 is not changing the history. The record of your original words remains.
There is also a limit to the number of edits you can make. You have five. If you need more, consider deleting the message.
As far as the message sending function is concerned, the window is much smaller. You have two minutes to rethink your words. But not shipping is unreliable in the current beta, and the words may not disappear from the phones of those not running one of the iOS 16 betas.
Tools to control your mail mishaps are also coming together. iOS 16 Developer Beta 3 had an Undo Send preference setting that allows you to turn it off for either 10, 20, or 30 seconds. Gmail offers a similar 30-second no-send window.
That’s half a minute to reconsider your missive and pull it back. The Undo Send appears in this period of time at the bottom of the email screen and with the clock ticking it can be very easy to miss. After all, 30 seconds goes by really fast.
Other updates to this build include the ability for developers to create live activities via a new API. These activity windows can be displayed on the new lock screen and show, for example, live scores from your favorite teams.
Early availability of the new tool would normally mean developers can have their Live Activities ready for iOS 16 when it releases, hopefully, in September. However, an update on Apple developer page (opens in new tab), reminds developers that “Live Activities and ActivityKit will not be included in the initial public release of iOS 16”. Developers will have more time to create these widgets and submit them for App Store approval before Live Activities launches later this year.
All these developer updates should make their way to the next iOS 16 public beta update whenever it arrives.
If you’re thinking about getting a new iPhone to support iOS 16, read our best iPhones roundup.