Should You Upgrade to Apple iOS 16.4?
Six weeks after the release of iOS 16.3.1, Apple has released iOS 16.4 with its suite of features and security patches. This page provides you with all the information you need to know regarding the new version of the operating system. Make sure to save this page, as updates will be provided should further issues be identified. After a full week of testing, I'll give my final judgment.
iOS 16.4 is available for any device that is compatible with iOS 16, including the iPhone 8/iPhone X and later models. Devices from the iPhone 6S and 7 series, as well as the iPod Touch, have been excluded from the iOS 16 update. Apple also issued a dedicated security update in the form of iOS 15.7.4 to protect older devices.
If you haven’t received a notification about an update, you can manually trigger the latest updates by going to Settings > General > Software Update. If you’re running a newer beta version (check out the ‘The Road Ahead’ section at the end), then you need to unenroll your device before you can access the publicly released updates.
This guide does not cover older iOS updates, iPadOS updates or macOS updates, but it does touch upon pertinent topics related to them.
The initial rollout of iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 has been relatively problem-free, but some graphical issues have been spotted. Examples include the cellular strength indicator going missing, the Reminder widget not functioning correctly, and distorted wallpapers. None of these issues appear to be major, however.
Concerns remain about iOS 16’s reporting of ‘system data’, which inflated in some cases after iOS 16.4 was installed. Apple needs to address this in iOS 17.
However, that’s just the beginning. The official iOS 16.4 release notes are unusually incomplete and fail to mention a long list of new features and upgrades, as revealed by MacRumors. These include:
- Improved battery life when playing video
- Enhanced level of water resistance
- Faster Face ID unlocking
- Improved haptic feedback
- A smarter Spotlight search
- Improved performance of certain apps
- Increased device security
It’s clear that Apple needs to update the official iOS 16.4 release notes to accurately reflect the many new features and changes.
Apple's iOS 16.4 security page reveals 33 new security patches with no Zero Day threats detected. The fixes are expansive, covering the Apple Neural Engine, Calendar, Camera, CarPlay, Bluetooth, Find My, iCloud, Photos, Podcasts, Safari, Webkit and more. Additionally, two fixes (CVE-2023-27969 and CVE-2023-27933) have been made to the Kernel, the heart of iOS and iPadOS, in order to counter any potential malicious code execution on iPhone and iPad devices. In summary, iOS 16.4 is a significant update.
iOS 16 has received a wealth of new features and security updates with it's 4th iteration, and so far, it has been a relatively smooth ride with no major issues reported. If you are eager to upgrade, I wholeheartedly recommend doing so without hesitation.
However, if you are someone who prefers to take a more cautious approach, I suggest waiting a week before making a decision. In this time, I will complete a comprehensive review to give you a more definitive verdict.
iOS 17 is set to be unveiled at WWC in early June, though we can still count on a few more updates to iOS 16 before its launch. It's possible that iOS 16.5 might be in the mix, but Apple's 6-8 week testing process needs to be taken into account. If you're eager to try out iOS updates before they're released, you can join the Apple Beta Software Program; however, there are likely to be a few issues present during the testing period.