Apple just revealed the coolest iPhone upgrade yet

The next iPhone software, iOS 16, will have an amazingly cool feature. It will be released in the fall, although public beta versions will begin to drop next month. Oh, and the new addition to the iPad is coming in iPadOS, too.

Update June 23 below. This post was first published on June 20, 2022.

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As spotted by Joe Rossignol at MacRumors, the program will allow users to avoid CAPTCHA exams. You know, when you have to look at a grid of photos and choose tractors, bridges or the like. These are often ambiguous images, designed to deceive robots but often make life difficult for us humans as well. Or those colorful and brilliantly arranged letters and numbers that you have to solve.

Either way, they literally aren’t happy to do that, and I’d appreciate getting back the time I wasted on things. Those seconds add up, you know.

Update 23 June. Apple just released the second beta of iOS 16 to developers and there are a lot of features in the Store. Perhaps none of it has been quite as convincing as the update on the CAPTCHAs below, but there’s a lot to look forward to.

For a start, Beta 2 contains messaging updates, easily allowing users with two phone numbers on one phone (one work, one personal, for example) to be dealt with separately. Therefore, messages can be filtered according to the relevant SIM, and this applies to both iMessages and non-iPhone SMS as well as MMS. This capability applies to iPhones from iPhone XS onwards. For the iPhone 13 series phones, it works with two eSIMs instead of one physical and one eSIM.

SMS filtering is something Apple mentioned in its last keynote, where developers promised to use 12 subcategories, so that messages could be categorized as a transaction or promotion, for example.

This beta version also makes it easier to report spam from unknown senders to carriers. This will initially only be for select US carriers.

There are other new features in iOS 16 which are suddenly available in beta to developers, and they will be rolling out in public beta and public release in due course.

Another update regarding messages coming in the new beta is a tweak to the new editing and unsend capabilities. As you know, with iOS 16, users can edit a message after sending it for a short period (15 minutes). But let’s say the recipient is using an old device with earlier software. With this update, older iPhones, for example, will see the original message but then you will see the second message which is the modified one. For clarity, this new letter begins with the words, “Modified to.” On iOS 16 to iOS 16 devices, of course, the previous message is simply replaced by the newer message, even though it’s marked as Edit.

Also new is the ability to back up your device in a wide variety of circumstances. Previously, you could only backup your iPhone, for example, to iCloud via wi-fi and 5G, if your carrier supported it. Now, this backup can be done over LTE (or 4G, as most of us call it) and 5G connections as well as wi-fi.

The new lock screens are part of iOS 16 and beta 2 has improved the way you edit and create them. It is also easier to delete unwanted lock screens. In addition, there are changes in the filters for backgrounds, including duo color and color wash. One of the backgrounds, Astronomy, now adds a green dot on the map showing where you were in the world at that time. Note to self: Book a plane ticket to test this out.

There’s also a new HomePod beta menu, which developers will find handy. There is more to come. For now, let’s go back to the cool CAPTCHA feature.

Now, with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, this seems like a possibility thanks to special access tokens. Instead of clicking the required boxes, Apple will privately verify that the device and Apple ID are trusted, and instantly take you to the site you’re trying to access. In Apple’s demo, the change was immediate.

But it is not that the time saved is the most important thing, it is the frustration avoided that is the most beneficial.

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Users with disabilities have long complained that CAPTCHAs are unhelpful and hard to beat, so this will be more useful to them.

It’s found in iOS 16 in Settings, under Apple ID, Password, and Security. Here, it is called automatic verification and you can choose to turn it on or off. It works by default, hurray.

The item in Settings says, “Bypass CAPTCHAs in apps and on the web by allowing iCloud to verify your device and account automatically and privately.”

As Apple’s demo explains, when you use your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you’ve already done a bunch of things that bots can’t do, even if you’re interacting with a particular website for the first time. These things, which bots can’t mimic well, include unlocking your device with a password, Face ID, or Touch ID and potentially signing in with their Apple ID.

I honestly can’t wait for this to arrive.

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