Should I update my iPhone to iOS 16.4.1?
iOS 16.4 was released on 27th March 2023, and it brought two minor features, along with regular security updates and bug fixes. It wasn’t as significant as iOS 16.2 and 16.3, which brought a lot of extra features to iOS.
We got Apple Music Sing and the Freeform app with iOS 16.2. There was also advanced data protection, which meant you could use end-to-end encryption on iCloud.
iOS 16.3 mainly focused on stability and added the option to use Security Keys for your Apple ID.
iOS 16.4 brought 21 new emojis, web apps on the home screen, notifications from web apps, and some slight UI redesigns to Podcasts and Apple Music, it wasn’t stable, and there are many reports of experience-breaking bugs.
This update also brings real-time voice isolation during calls, which works much better than the previous noise cancellation feature. Since the update was 5.4GB, we thought it’d be free of major software glitches, which wasn’t the case.
Problems with iOS 16.4
There were some reports that Face ID is inconsistent with iOS 16.4. It isn’t recognizing faces as well and isn’t unlocking as fast as before, either. Also, Face ID randomly gets disabled, and you have to restart your device to get it working again.
This is mostly a software glitch, which was solved for some users after a restart. Unfortunately for others, the glitch stubbornly persists. Face ID was a little faster on our unit after the iOS 16.4 update.
There are many complaints on Twitter that iOS 16.4 completely ruins the battery life on iPhones.
While our unit had no major issues except for extra battery drain when left unused for 6 hours, it shouldn’t have happened in the first place for a minor update that wasn’t even a feature drop update.
On 16.4, there were many issues with AirDrop as well. It took way longer than usual to connect. So long that copying your text or image into the Notes app and pasting it from another device using iCloud sync was faster.
At times, AirDrop fails to recognize your device completely, and you must restart either one or both to get it working. The worst problems with iOS 16.4 boil down to ecosystem features like Handoff and Continuity breaking.
iPadOS wasn’t stable either since Universal Control didn’t work as it was supposed to with iPadOS 16.3. There was no apparent workaround for this. Apple didn’t mention a fix in the update changelog for 16.4.1.
Temporary solutions like signing out and into iCloud might help, and restarting the devices also works for some units. Officially, Apple only specifies two bugs with iOS 16.4 in the changelog of 16.4.1.
What was fixed with iOS 16.4.1?
When using an emoji, you can long-press it to get various skin tone options. However, on iOS 16.4, the Pushing Hands emoji didn’t show these skin tone variations. iOS 16.4.1 officially addresses this problem.
You can activate Siri on your iPhone using the side button; a long press and Siri will pop up. Another way is using the “Hey Siri” voice command. There are some other ways if you set up Shortcuts.
On iOS 16.4, Siri wasn’t responding in some cases, which is annoying in daily use. Thankfully, 16.4.1 officially addresses the problems with Siri’s responses. There are vague mentions of other important bug fixes and security updates.
We’re not sure which other bugs were fixed exactly on 16.4.1, but we didn’t have any issues with Face ID. The standby drain is normal too, and the battery graphs look fairly acceptable, with no major loss in battery percentage or health to report.
We can’t tell if there are any solutions with iOS 16.4.1 for the Universal Control and Handoff problems.
How to install iOS 16.4.1
All devices that support iOS 16 also support iOS 16.4.1. To install it, you’ll have to:
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap on the General menu.
- Tap on the Software Update submenu.
- Let the phone finish scanning for updates.
- Download and install iOS 16.4.1, and let the device restart.
Note: If you don’t see the update in the Software Update section, you can try to restart your device.
What to expect from iOS 16.5
Developer and Public Betas of iOS 16.5 are already out. You can manually opt into the beta updates directly from your Settings app, and you can no longer use Developer Profiles.
A subscription for trying out Beta software is 99$ a year, and you must create a developer profile with your iCloud account. We already have a good idea of what iOS 16.5 will offer.
The Apple News app gets a dedicated tab for Sports, and there are some new button placements and extra text size options throughout the UI. You can use Siri commands to record your screen as well.
We’ll hopefully see other minor tweaks and also stability improvements. And the truckload of bugs with Universal Control? We haven’t seen them pop up on 16.4.1 yet, but we must wait for other reports before declaring anything conclusive.
Should you update to iOS 16.4.1?
iOS 16.4.1 is a minor refinement update that solves the problems with Siri and the skin tone options when using a particular emoji. While this is all that Apple officially discloses, there are many minor tweaks to improve the experience.
Since many reports of iOS 16.4 breaking the experience with bad battery life, standby drain, and ecosystem bugs, iOS 16.4.1 might address those behind the scenes without a direct admission from Apple.
Since we didn’t face any problems with iOS 16.4.1 after over 12 hours of testing, we can safely give it the green light.
As Apple gears up to launch iOS 17, we don’t expect any more huge features with any iOS 16 versions. iOS 17 could go two ways: the stability route with more refinements and bug fixes. Another way is adding more features to the OS.
We’re unsure which approach they’ll take, but most significant features will remain exclusive to iOS 17. We’ll update you if there’s anything new about iOS 16.5 or iOS 17.
Meanwhile, feel free to head to your Settings app and update to iOS 16.4.1 if you haven’t since the update is mostly stable.