Back in September 2021 Apple rolled-out iOS 15, but that doesn't mean that the company had finished development of iOS 15, on the contrary, development of iOS 15 has continued and on 13 December Apple released iOS 15.2 to the general public, followed on 12 January 2022 with the iOS 15.2.1 update.

Now Apple is hard at work on iOS 15.3, with the first beta being released on Friday 7 December 2021 and the second beta version on 12 January 2022.

iOS 15.3 release date

To get an idea of when iOS 15.3 might be released to the general public we can take a look at the gaps between iOS 15, iOS 15.1 and iOS 15.2:

  • 21 September 2021: work begins on iOS 15.1 (the day after iOS 15 launched).
  • 25 October 2021: iOS 15.1 update made available to the public (just over a month later/five weeks).
  • 13 December 2021: Full version of iOS 15.2 is released (seven weeks).

So a seven week interlude seems likely, taking us to the end of January or beginning of February, although with the long break at the end of the year we could be waiting a little longer.

Interestingly, in 2020 Apple released the first beta of iOS 14.4 on 16 December and the final version was with the general public on 27 January 2021. So perhaps we can expect a similar schedule for iOS 15.3 in 2022.

How to get iOS 15.3

If you'd like to join in with the testing, read our guide showing how to join an Apple beta programme. As usual, however, be sure to back up your devices before installing the new beta versions; that way you won't have to risk losing your files.

We explain how to get the iOS beta and how to install iOS 15 and subsequent updates in a separate article.

What's in iOS 15.3?

With iOS 15.2 Apple introduced some features that had been previously announced, but absent from iOS 15 at launch. These included Digital Legacy, SharePlay and more. Read about what's in iOS 15.2.

As for iOS 15.3, hopefully we can expect to see other features that were missing from iOS 15. To find out more about the missing features read Eight iOS 15 features that will be missing at launch

Apple is likely to address bugs and other issues with the software, however the company doesn't always wait for a big update to fix security problems. On 12 January 2022 Apple released iOS 15.2.1. iOS 15.2.1 update closes a critical gap in HomeKit and you should install it now.

Here's what you can expect to find in the next update to iOS 15:

Universal Control (but maybe not...)

While Universal Control is more of an iPadOS and macOS function, you can expect its presence to have some impact on iOS. However, we may have to wait until iPadOS 15.4 as Apple has said that Universal Control will not be released until the spring.

Universal Control is an extension of Sidecar, which was introduced in macOS Catalina and iPadOS 13 and made it possible to place an iPad next to a Mac and seamlessly move the mouse or touchpad pointer from the edge of the Mac display directly to the iPad.

The next version of macOS Monterey and iPadOS 14 is likely to improve this functionality so that you can share the mouse and keyboard across two Macs.Read more about what's coming in macOS 12.2.

Wallet app: Digital ID support

The Wallet app will soon be able to support digital IDs in about 30 US states. It's unlikely that we will get this functionality elsewhere in the world for some time, or at all.

Bug fixes in iOS 15.3

You can be sure that iOS 15.3 will include bug fixes and security enhancements, however, Apple has already fixed, in iOS 15.2.1, a security flaw that "poses a serious risk to users" according to the security researcher who discovered the vulnerability.

Trevor Spiniolas identified the bug that can be exploited through the HomeKit API. The attacker can use the API to change HomeKit device names, the new name is then backed up to iCloud. If the user's Home devices are enabled in Control Center this will render the iPhone unresponsive until the devices names are changed back using the API.

The danger, explains Spiniolas, is that an attacker "could use email addresses resembling Apple services or HomeKit products to trick less tech-savvy users (or even those who are curious) into accepting the invitation and then demand payment via email in return for fixing the issue."

Spiniolas informed Apple of the bug in August 2021 and says that the company had intended to fix it in iOS 15.2 but failed to do so. Apple informed him that it is now planning a fix in "early 2022".

For now, Spiniolas recommends that user remove Home shortcuts from the Control Center. Should they be affected the best solution is to restore the iPhone via another iCloud account, then singing in again after setup and immediately disabling the 'Home' switch. We run thorough this in more detail here: HomeKit bug can render iPhone unusable.