The fourth beta of iOS 12.1, expected to be released to the general public later this year, has arrived for developers with registered devices in the Apple Beta program. At the time of this post, it had not been released to the public beta testing group but that could well change today or later this week. This new beta 4 comes just a week after the third beta was seeded to both the developer and public beta groups.
As you would expect, Apple is being tight-lipped on what exactly is in this new beta. It likely contains a lot of bug fixes and other performance improvements for both iPhone and iPad devices. That said, there are a few things of note.
First, Group FaceTime is now full fledged in the beta across the current beta builds of MacOS 10.14.1 and WatchOS 5.1. Group FaceTime allows you to have a video or voice call with up to 32 participants without any additional software on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Second, some 70 new emoji are going to be coming with iOS 12.1. For those who have been watching #Bagelgate unfold, yes, this beta fixes the bagel emoji.
For the iPhone XS series, Beta 4 of iOS 12.1 brings support for dual SIMs. While the feature still has to be supported by your carrier, you can now enable the eSIM that is build into the XS or XS Max. Beta 4 also brings realtime depth adjustment to the camera app for the XS series.
If history is any indicator, Apple should still be able to deliver iOS 12.1 by the end of this year. Most .1 releases get 5-6 beta builds so we are entering the phase where Apple is starting to focus on fit-and-finish rather than introduce new features into the beta cycle. It is also encouraging that Group FaceTime has made this far in the beta cycle. That too likely means we will see the feature before the end of 2018.