iOS 16, iPadOS 16 & macOS Ventura Beta 1 hands-on

Picture of Craig Federighi on stage at WWDC.

It's that time of the year again – WWDC, this time with a twist compared to previous years' fully online conference: selected developers and media can attend in-person once again. As much as I would have loved to see everything with my own eyes over at Apple Park (and meet other developers), the cost just wasn't justifiable for my little university budget. So here I am, writing this blog post from home after the amazing online keynote as well as State of The Union.

Picture of beta profiles download page.

Right after the keynote ended, I was already on Apple's Developer downloads website refreshing frantically to get the beta profiles, and luckily, I arrived in time before the servers buckled up, 'snatching' the developer beta profiles and installing them immediately on my devices, and so far, so good!

Picture of all devices with their special features for the year.

I won't go into too much detail on the new features, for that Apple's website is a better reference. Instead, I'll just be pointing out some interesting new tidbits I noticed with the new OS releases.

Tweaked design

iOS design (at least in stock apps) has been tweaked in some areas, some immediately noticeable while others, not so much.

Picture of Apple Music Browse page.

Starting with the little details, section separator lines have been removed in some apps like, being replaced with a chevron after the bold section header. Personally, I'm a fan of this change, as it helps the UI have a less cluttered feel.

Picture of Apple Music Now Playing view.

The seekbar/range controls also got a facelift, removing the well known circle grabber with...nothing. If you hold on the seekbar, you'll enter seek mode, and the bar increases in height to denote that. Not really liking this one, it's not obvious that one could use it since there's no obvious grabber.

GIF of new editing popover

Editing popovers received a slight touch up, now available with popping animations and a new 'page' transition animation that's pretty slick. Definitely a huge improvement in responsiveness over prior versions.

Picture of thinner list row

List rows now have a noticeably lower default height than before. This is obvious in apps that use them, like Music, Podcasts, TV, etc.

Picture of native media player view

A more obvious change would be the native media player view. The play/pause and time seek buttons now have much more prominent placements in the UI. Since this view is commonly encountered within the OS, having it revamped for easier feature discovery is great.

New Apple TV episode end screen

Another addition to the media player view specifically in the Apple TV app is an end of episode page. The poster art for the next episode, or of a suggested show if there are no further episodes, is shown in the background, accompanied by a 'Next episode' or 'Go to show' button.

New button arrangement in TV app

Speaking of the TV app, the purchase & rent buttons are now on the same row instead of being on separate rows. Take that, 'Apple doesn't innovate' people. (/s)

GIF of page change animation

Last but not least, Apple Books removed the iconic 'curled' page turn animation in favor of a simple slide-style transition :(

Redesigned apps

Picture of new Podcasts sidebar on iPadOS.

Podcasts for iPadOS received the sidebar facelift that some Apple apps got in iOS 14 or 15. This makes it easier to use on wider, modern iPads such as the Air/Pro, and moves it in line with the macOS version of the app. While the new UI is great and all, I'm more curious to whether they've finally fixed the teething syncing issues with the app.

Other changes

Shortcuts for Mac now supports the share menu on macOS.

Shortcuts for Mac on Ventura now ships with a share extension, enabling you to use shortcuts that use the share sheet on other platforms to work almost identically on macOS. You will need to enable this in System Settings –> Privacy & Security –> Extensions though, for some reason it's not enabled by default.

Beta stability

Surprisingly, out of all betas, I find this year's macOS Ventura beta to be the most stable first build so far. iOS and iPadOS, not so much. I've been facing plenty of resprings and problems with the lock screen, especially on iOS. I have reported some of them to Feedback Assistant, and I encourage other beta users to do so. (even if they're not developers).


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