Updated 12/01/17: The sixth iOS 11.2 beta is available to developers and public testers.
iOS 11 is the biggest change to Apple’s mobile operating system in years. It’s so ambitious in scope that many of it’s promised features still haven’t shipped yet. iOS 11.1 mostly fixed bugs and brought us a bunch of new emoji, but iOS 11.2 is more substantial, with the addition of Apple Pay Cash. Hopefully, it will also introduce iMessage in iCloud, though that seems increasingly unlikely.
Here’s what we know about 11.2 so far. What’s in it, when it’s coming, and how you can grab the beta right now.
So far we’re up to the sixth beta release, and there are plenty of bug fixes and small bits of polish, along with two major changes: Apple Pay Cash and faster wireless charging (for iPhone 8 and X).
Notably, Apple fixed that bug in the Calculator app where your input was waiting for long animations to play out (if you hit 1+2+3 you’d get 24, because it didn’t register the second plus sign).
There are a number of small visual changes. Album art in the Command Center is in a square icon, a few emojis have new art, there’s a new waiting animation for the Live Photo effects (loop, bounce, and long exposure), and you can now access the same wallpapers that came with the iPhone 8 and X on other iPhone models. The lock screen has a small indicator in the upper right to show where Control Center is.
11.2 adds the ability to control AirPlay 2 devices in Control Center. You can quickly switch between controlling multiple different playback destinations independently. This is important groundwork for the coming HomePod release, but it works with Apple TV (4th generation or 4K) right now if you update that device to the tvOS 11.2 beta as well.
11.2 beta 2: The biggest change to 11.2 is the addition of Apple Pay Cash. According to Apple’s support site, you’ll need a device with iOS 11.2 (beta 2 or later), you’ll need to be at least 18 and live in the U.S., and you’ll need two-factor authentication and have an eligible card set up in your Wallet.
This update adds three new live wallpapers for the iPhone X. It also brings a change for developers who offer recurring subscriptions—they’ll be able to charge introductory rates. For example, a service that costs $10 a month could be free for the first two weeks, or $5 for the first month. This change should affect tvOS 11.2 as well, so all those subscription streaming services might get introductory deals.
iOS 11.2 beta 2 also fixes that weird captial-I bug.
11.2 beta 3: Beta 3 was released to developers on November 13, one week after the second beta. The public beta version landed a day later. There appear to be two big changes in this version of the beta. First, the new Wi-Fi and Bluetooth toggle behavior in Control Center is explained in a pop-up window, and there’s a small indicator on the lock screen to show where control center is.
Second, accessory maker RAVPower tipped off MacRumors, who confirmed that this update improves wireless charging performance from a maximum of 5 watts to 7.5 watts. That’s not as fast as some other phones’ wireless charging performance, but it’s a 50% improvement and faster than the adapter that comes in the box.
11.2 beta 4: The fourth beta, currently only available for developers. No word yet on any substantive changes, though we suspect it includes the cold weather fix from the public 11.1.2 update.
11.2 beta 5: The fifth beta didn’t introduced any new user-facing features or design changes yet. We have probably entered into the phase of beta where Apple is just wrapping up the last of the bugs before release.
11.2 beta 6: Just a few days after the release of beta 5, beta 6 is upon us. We haven’t seen any new major features or interface changes in this one. But it’s really big: a 2.2GB download on the iPhone X coming from beta 5. This, along with the short build number with no trailing letter (15C114) makes us think this is likely to be the GM candidate. In other words, there’s a good chance this is the build that will roll out to the public very soon.
We don’t have an official release date for iOS 11.2, but with beta releases happening every week (or faster), it shouldn’t be long. The last couple beta releases contained no significant new features, so we’re probably getting very close to release. Apple would certainly like to get Apple Pay Cash out in the world before the holiday season.
We originally suspected the release would have to come quickly in order to ship HomePod (which makes use of AirPlay 2 features) in December. But with HomePod bumped back to 2018, that’s no longer a factor.
Beta 6 is an unusually large update with a build number (15C114) that makes us think it is probably the last beta before general release.
If you want to try out the changes for yourself, you can help Apple test the latest iOS update. The first iOS 11.2 beta for developers was released on October 30, and the first public beta release on November 1. Since then, developer betas have been released nearly every week, with public releases usually a couple days after.
Once you log in to the Beta Software Program page, you’ll see a link to Enroll your iOS device. Apple will remind you to make a backup (you should definitely back up to iTunes, and Apple recommends you “archive” the backup to make sure it’s saved), and then you’re instructed to go to beta.apple.com/profile on the iOS device that you want to put the beta on, in order to download and install a configuration profile. That will make the beta available as an over-the-air software update in the Settings app.
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