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iOS 12.2 beta 5 is available for public testers, brings much-improved iMessage voice quality

After releasing iOS 12.1.3 with a few minor bugfixes, Apple has has moved on to iOS 12.2. The first beta was released to developers on January 24, 2019, with the first public release following on the 28th.

Registered developers can download the iOS beta profile by visiting developer.apple.com/download using the device on which they want to run the beta. Non-developers can enter the public beta program by visiting beta.apple.com on the device they wish to enroll in the beta.

Updated 03/13/19: iOS 12.2 beta 5 is now available for developers and public testers. It appears that the quality of voice messages in iMessage have been improved dramatically.

What’s new in iOS 12.2

Support for AirPlay and HomeKit on TVs: Apple recently announced that AirPlay is coming to a bunch of smart TVs this year and iOS 12.2 starts to add support for them. They’re referenced in the Home app, and there’s an updated design to the TV Remote control center tile.

Apple News in Canada: iOS 12.2 will bring Apple News to Canada. In the first beta, the number of news sources is quite limited, but is expected to grow before the final release. 

New Animoji: You can now chat with your friends using the new giraffe, shark, owl, and boar Animoji.

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Four new Animoji grace your Messages in iOS 12.2 (starting with Developer Beta 2).

Minor interface tweaks: In addition to TV references in the Home app, iOS 12.2 tweaks a few other minor interface elements. The Wallet gets a cleaned-up “last transaction” details list, and the AirPlay screen mirroring icon is new, for example.

Improved voice Messages: Voice messages in the Messages app have sounded pretty bad for a long time. Starting with iOS 12.2 beta 5, Apple is fixing that by replacing the old AMR voice code with the superior Opus codec, and tripling the sample rate from 8,000 Hz to 24,000 Hz. Fredrik Riedel noticed the change and documented the night-and-day difference on Twitter.

Safari changes: Sites that do not use HTTPS are now listed as “Not Secure” in the menu bar. This used to appear only if a non-HTTPS site requested a password or credit card number. There are now blue arrows in the google search suggestions, which will add those terms to the search bar when tapped. Apple has added a new “Motion & Orientation Access” toggle in the the Privacy & Security section of Safari settings.

Weather and AQI in Maps: In Settings > Maps, there’s a new Climate section with toggles for Weather Conditions and Air Quality Index. Previously, there was no way to turn weather conditions off, and AQI is entirely new. The weather and AQI appear in the lower right corner of the Map view.

Support for new devices: It’s possible that iOS 12.2 is set to pave the way for compatibility with new, unannounced devices. Apple is rumored to be readying a new iPod touch, iPad mini, and maybe a new inexpensive 10-inch iPad. We’re also waiting for an update to AirPods, and the AirPower wireless charging pad has not been released. It’s possible that iOS 12.2 is meant to add support for some or all of these devices.

9to5Mac has found a “Hey Siri” setup screen for AirPods hidden in 12.2, suggesting that new AirPods that support hands-free Siri are indeed coming soon.

When will iOS 12.2 be released?

The first developer beta of iOS 12.2 was released on January 24, and the first public beta a few days later on January 28. There is no way to know exactly when Apple will roll out the final iOS 12.2 release, but point releases of this type typically remain in testing for at least a few weeks.

We estimate a final release sometime in March. If Apple holds a special event in March to announce new products or services, it would probably want iOS 12.2 released just before that date.



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