After a strange false start, Apple has started its beta test of iOS 15.3. The company did not release the iOS 15.3 beta on December 17, but eagle-eyed observers found that the developer’s site page for the download simply had the whole iOS 15.3 section commented out of the HTML.
Some hours later, the beta version was officially released to developers with no explanation as to why the download was delayed. For now, there doesn’t appear to be any new features in this release, and Apple’s support page lists “no new release notes.” We’ll update this article as future beta builds are released or features are discovered.
Update 01/12/23: The second beta of iOS 15.3 is now available.
iOS 15.3: New features
We’re not aware of any new features in the first build of iOS 15.3, so it’s likely loaded up with bug fixes and security updates. It’s also not uncommon for some beta builds to support for hidden, unannounced features or services that crop up later. Future builds may reveal other changes, including two features that Apple delayed: digital ID cards and Universal Control in iPadOS.
Apple also tweaked the wording for the iCloud Private Relay error message, telling users, “Private Relay is either not supported by your cellular plan or has been turned off in Cellular Settings. With Private Relay turned off, this network can monitor your internet activity, and your IP address is not hidden from known trackers or websites.” Previously, Apple told users that their cellular plan didn’t support the feature.
iOS 15.3: How to get the beta
If you’re interested in beta-testing iOS 15.3 (or iPadOS 15.3), you should do so on a device that is not your primary everyday iPhone or iPad.
Registered developers can go to developer.apple.com/download using the device upon which they wish to run the beta. From there, you can download a developer beta profile. Head to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management to enable the beta profile. Then your iPhone or iPad will restart, and you can go to Settings > General > Software Update to download the latest version.
To participate in the public beta test (which usually gets beta builds between a few hours and a day after the developers do), head to beta.apple.com using the device upon which you wish to run the beta. From there, you can download a developer beta profile. Head to Settings > General > VPN & Device Management to enable the beta profile. Then your iPhone or iPad will restart, and you can go to Settings > General > Software Update to download the latest version.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life – over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.