News: Apple Releases iOS 13.4 Developer Beta 3 for iPhone, Introduces First Evidence of Internet-Based 'OS Recovery' Mode

Apple Releases iOS 13.4 Developer Beta 3 for iPhone, Introduces First Evidence of Internet-Based 'OS Recovery' Mode

So far, iOS 13.4 hasn't been a disappointment. From new Memoji stickers, a refreshed Mail toolbar, and even the beginnings of controlling your car with your iPhone, Apple's latest iOS update is looking like a good one. That's why we're excited that Apple just released the third 13.4 developer beta today, one week after the release of the second one.

The iOS 13.4 dev beta 3 first appeared at 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST) on Feb. 26. Three hours later, Apple pushed out iOS 13.4 public beta 3, so everyone can try it out.

So far, there's only one thing that seems new with beta 3. 9to5Mac discovered evidence of an "OS Recovery" mode. While you can't access the feature currently, the working theory is that "OS Recovery" will serve as an internet-based recovery mode. Right now, you need to plug an iPhone directly into a Mac or PC to boot into recovery mode, but with "OS Recovery," you might be able to do so from the internet instead.

We'll keep this article updated with any additional discoveries we make. In the meantime, you can check out Apple's release notes below:

iOS & iPadOS 13.4 Beta 3 Release Notes


  • The iOS & iPadOS 13.4 SDK provides support to develop apps for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices running iOS & iPadOS 13.4. The SDK comes bundled with Xcode 11.4, available from Beta Software Downloads. For information on the compatibility requirements for Xcode 11.4, see Xcode 11.4 Beta 2 Release Notes.

General - Known Issues

  • To install iOS 13.4 beta 3 using the Restore Image, first install Xcode 11.4 beta 2.

General - Resolved Issues

  • Fixed an issue that could cause the Settings app to quit unexpectedly after a user viewed specific app settings and then returned to the main Settings page. (59124369)

Keyboard - New Features

  • QuickType Keyboard now supports predictive input for Arabic.
  • QuickType Keyboard now supports Live Conversion for Japanese and Chinese (Zhuyin).
  • QuickType Keyboard now supports Swiss German layout for 12.9" iPad layout.

Keyboard - Resolved Issues

  • 12.9" iPad layouts for several languages now match the hardware keyboard layouts accurately.

Location Services - New Features

  • When an app requests Always authorization for the first time after having previously been authorized for While Using the App, the device immediately presents the location authorization prompt. (57106235)

Photos - New Features

  • New keyboard shortcuts are available in Photos on iPadOS, which allow you to quickly navigate between tabs, search, and create albums. While in full screen mode, you can also delete, duplicate, and enter Edit mode using a keyboard. (57195967)

Photos - Resolved Issues

  • Fixed an issue where Photos might not sync as expected to Apple Watch. (59324590)

SwiftUI - New Features

  • When using a NavigationView with multiple columns, the navigation bar now shows a control to toggle the columns. (49074511)
  • The onDrag and onDrop modifiers are now available on iOS. (49661347)

For comparison, here's what we saw with dev beta 2:

  • A new Streaming Options section in TV settings.
  • A new Download Options section in TV settings.
  • An update to the Mail toolbar, which itself was updated with beta 1.
  • "Change Your Clicks" is now "Home Button Haptics" on iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, and 8 Plus.
  • A new prompt when turning on AssistiveTouch for the first time that asks you if you want to add "Dwell" and "Scroll" to the top-level customization.
  • Hints in the code that iOS will soon support MX Anywhere 2 and Corsair Harpoon RGB Gaming Mouse.
  • Hints in the code that CarKeys will be sharable via iMessage.

To update your iPhone to iOS 13.4 dev beta 3, you need to be a registered developer. You can use the restore image for your iPhone available in the Developer portal (install with iTunes or Finder) or install the configuration profile, then update over the air. If you already have the profile installed on your iPhone, head over to Settings –> General –> Software Update to start installing the latest beta build, or you can wait until it installs automatically if "Automatic Updates" is enabled.

Just updated your iPhone? You'll find new features for Podcasts, News, Books, and TV, as well as important security improvements and fresh wallpapers. Find out what's new and changed on your iPhone with the iOS 17.5 update.

Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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