Apple today released the iOS 16.4 update for users, which includes a number of new features such as an expanded set of emojis, voice isolation for calls, website push notifications, and more. Users can update to the latest version by going to Settings > General > Software Update.
While iOS updates often patch security vulnerabilities or tweak minor settings, updates that deliver new emojis or expanded functionality are often more popular with consumers, leading to high demand for the download. That means you might have to wait a while to install the latest update on your device.
With iOS 16.4, users get 31 new emojis. (The release notes refer to “21” new emoji, but this only has to do with how the variations are counted).
Among the new additions are a quivering face, the long-awaited pink heart, two pushing hands, a Wi-Fi symbol, and others, including various animals and objects. The Unicode Consortium approved these emojis last year, and in February it was announced that they would become available with the latest iOS update.
The new set also includes gray and light blue hearts, a folding hand fan, ginger, a pod, jellyfish, a moose, a goose, a hair pick, maracas, a flute and several others.
You can read more about the new emojis here.
Another new feature is voice isolation for mobile calls that prioritize your voice and block ambient noise around you. This makes for clearer calls as you can hear the speaker’s voice and not what is going on in the background, such as other people talking or sounds in their environment. The feature was already available for FaceTime calls and other VoIP apps, but not for mobile until now.
To enable the feature, you need to open the Control Center during the call, tap Mic Mode and then choose Voice Isolation from the list.
Web push notifications
Last year at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple had shown off a feature that allows developers to send web-based push notifications to end users. The company rolled out this feature for Safari 16.1 with an update to macOS Ventura. Now iOS developers can send a notification to users (after requesting permission) when the user has pinned a web app to their home screen. This feature could be immediately useful for some of the new Twitter rivals like Post and T2 that haven’t built native iOS versions of their apps yet, but still want to alert users to important conversations.
But it also gives Apple a way to counter claims that its App Store is the only way to reach mobile consumers, which could help it fight antitrust and other lawsuits.
The update’s release notes also reference some other tweaks and fixes, including the following:
- Duplicate album in Photos extends support to detect duplicate photos and videos in a shared iCloud Photo Library
- VoiceOver support for maps in the Weather app
- Accessibility setting to automatically dim video when flashing lights or strobe effects are detected
- Resolves an issue where “Ask to Buy” requests from children may not appear on the parent’s device
- Resolves issues where Matter-compatible thermostats may become unresponsive when paired with Apple Home
- Crash detection optimizations on iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro models