Apple has released the final versions of macOS 13.1, iOS 16.2, and iPadOS 16.2 to the public after a few weeks of beta testing. In addition to the standard bug fixes and security patches, these updates include the Freeform collaborative app announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Increased use of end-to-end encryption for iCloud dataand (for iPhone) karaoke-friendly volume downgrade Apple Music Sing Property.
Freeform uses your AppleID and iCloud to sync changes to a large bulletin board between multiple users in real time. Input can include written text, images, files, documents, shapes, handwritten text, or images made with the Apple Pencil, creating something similar in look to a shared note or document but with more input flexibility. Users can share multiple boards with different groups of people, and communicate in real time via Messages or FaceTime.
Grouped together under the banner “Advanced Data Protection,” the iCloud encryption additions extend the service’s use of end-to-end encryption. Hardware backups for iPhone and iPad can be fully encrypted, as can bookmarks and data from Safari from photos, notes, voice memos, reminders, shortcuts, and wallet apps. Calendar and mail data remain unencrypted “because of the need to interact with global email, contacts, and calendar systems.”
Advanced Data Protection also includes support for physical two-factor authentication keys, as well as key verification for iMessage contacts so people with private conversations can be sure they’re talking to the person they think they’re talking to.
Like the Lockdown Mode feature introduced in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, advanced data protection features are turned off by default and should be turned on after an update. When it’s enabled, you can also designate an emergency contact and generate a recovery key if your account is locked, since Apple won’t have the encryption key and won’t be able to help you recover your data in another way.
For owners of older devices, Apple has provided security updates for macOS Monterey and Big Sur (12.6.2 And the 11.7.2respectively) as well as a separate update for Safari 16.2. Older devices that cannot update to iOS 16 can be installed iOS 15.7.2which includes many of the security-only updates included in iOS 16.2.
Apple also released software updates for most of its other products: watchOS 9.2 adds some new workouts and “improves” crash detection on devices that support it; tvOS 16.2 includes Apple Music Sing support for the latest Apple TV 4K and video previews for Apple TV+ shows; The HomePod 16.2 software update adds “performance and stability improvements” and supports a “new infrastructure” for the Home app.
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