iOS 16.2, macOS 13.1 released with new collaboration features and other updates

iOS 16.2, macOS 13.1 released with new collaboration features and other updates

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Zoom in / The new Freeform app included in the iOS 16.2 and macOS 13.1 updates.

An apple

Apple has released the final versions of macOS 13.1, iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 to the public after several weeks of beta testing. In addition to the standard bug fixes and security fixes, these updates include the Freeform collaborative app that was announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, increased use of end-to-end encryption for iCloud dataand (for iPhones) a karaoke-friendly vocal reducer Apple Music Sing feature.

Freeform uses your AppleID and iCloud to sync changes to a large bulletin board-like canvas between multiple users in real time. Input can include typed text, images, files and documents, shapes, and handwritten text or images made with Apple Pencil, creating something similar in form to a shared note or document, but with more input flexibility. Users can have multiple boards shared with different groups of people communicating in real time via Messages or FaceTime.

The iCloud encryption add-ons are grouped together under the “Advanced Data Protection” banner, and they extend the use of the end-to-end encryption service. iPhone and iPad device backups can be fully encrypted, as can Safari bookmarks and data from the Photos, Notes, Voice Memos, Reminders, Shortcuts, and Wallet apps. Calendar and mail data remain unencrypted “due to the need to interact with global email, contact, and calendar systems.”

Enhanced data protection also includes support for physical two-factor authentication keys, as well as key verification for iMessage contacts, so people having private conversations can be sure they’re talking to the person they think they’re talking to.

Like the Lock Mode feature introduced in iOS 16 and macOS Ventura, Advanced Data Protection features are turned off by default and must be turned on after an update. When you enable it, you can also specify an emergency contact and generate a recovery key if you’re locked out of your account, since Apple won’t have your encryption key and won’t be able to help you get your data back any other way way.

For owners of older devices, Apple has provided security updates for macOS Monterey and Big Sur (12.6.2 and 11.7.2respectively), as well as a separate update of Safari 16.2. Older devices that cannot be updated to iOS 16 can be installed iOS 15.7.2which includes many of the security-only updates included in iOS 16.2.

Apple has also released software updates for most of its other products: watchOS 9.2 adds some new workouts and “optimizes” the crash detection feature on the hardware that supports it; tvOS 16.2 includes Apple Music Sing support for the latest Apple TV 4K and video previews for Apple TV+ shows; and HomePod Software Update 16.2 adds “performance and stability improvements” and supports a “new core architecture” for the Home app.

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