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Apple has released iOS 16.1.2 for all iOS 16-compatible iPhones ahead of its big iOS 16.2 update, due later this month. It is an important but limited (and in some ways frustrating) release. Here’s everything you need to know.

Who Is It For?

Apple iOS 16.1.2 is available for all iOS 16-compatible devices, namely the iPhone 8/iPhone X and newer. iOS 16 dropped support for the iPhone 6S and 7 ranges and the iPod Touch. There is no iPadOS 16.1.2 update.

Given Apple’s confirmation of auto-update delays, the update can be triggered manually by navigating to Settings > General > Software Update. If you are running newer beta software (see ‘The Road Ahead’ section at the end), you must unenroll your device before the update appears.

Note: If you are still running iOS 15, you can read my iOS 15.7.1 Upgrade Guide here.

The Deal Breakers

The first 24 hours for iOS 16.1.2 are encouraging. There are isolated reports of problems with search, cellular connectivity (ironic given the fix list, see the next section), and Bluetooth headset volume control. No new widespread bugs have been reported at this stage.

However, the biggest frustration with iOS 16.1.2 is its limited scope. A litany of iOS 16 bugs remain, and users continue to voice their irritation that update after update fails to address them. iOS 16.1.2 again continues this very very well-worn theme.

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So What Do You Get?

iOS 16.1.2 contains only two bug fixes, with Apple’s release notes stating:

This update provides important security updates and the following enhancements for your iPhone:

– Improved compatibility with wireless carriers

– Crash Detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models

The improved wireless carrier compatibility is something of a mystery. Apple offers no further explanation, and it doesn’t relate to 5G support for iPhones in India, which is coming in iOS 16.2 (more in ‘The Road Ahead’ section below). Some performance issues have been reported, but right now, we don’t know what carriers or countries will benefit from the changes.

Apple needs to be more explicit here, and I have asked the company for details. I will update this guide when/if I receive a reply.

On the other hand, Crash Detection optimizations are long overdue. The feature, which itself was a catch-up to the ‘Car Crash Detection’ feature available on Android since 2019, has made headlines for triggering on rollercoasters, ski slopes and more.

Aside from this, I have not found any fixes omitted from the official release notes (something Apple has done with increasing regularity in recent years). Apple did promise to patch an advertising-related bug at the start of November, but it doesn’t appear to have made it into iOS 16.1.2 either.

iOS 16.1.2 Security

At the time of publication, Apple’s official security page has not listed any security fixes for iOS 16.1.2 but does tease “details available soon.” I will update this section once that information is published.

Apple iOS 16.1.2 Verdict: Upgrade

For keen upgraders, I don’t see any show-stopping issues with iOS 16.1.2. While the carrier improvements are a mystery, the Crash Detection improvements are essential and should reduce the number of false calls made to emergency services.

For cautious upgraders, note I will keep this guide updated and provide a final verdict in a week. iOS 16.2 is a popular target for many iPhone owners still running iOS 15, but Apple’s feature-heavy releases often contain more bugs than the more minor updates. As such, it would be helpful if iOS 16.1.2 could be a (relatively) reliable stepping stone.

The Road Ahead

Apple iOS 16.2 has now hit beta 4, and the feature-focused release includes multiple new features, such as the collaborative Freeform whiteboard app and a new Home app architecture.

Critically, iOS 16.2 also adds support for Apple’s new ‘Rapid Security Response’ feature. This allows security patches to be installed on iPhones and iPads independent of new iOS versions. Android has operated this way for some time and issues monthly security patches. Join the Apple Beta Software Program if you’d like to try iOS 16.2 before it launches towards the end of December.

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