Apple released iOS 12.3 in the second week of May, bringing us its new TV app with Channels subscriptions. Just days later, it started releasing betas to developers for another point release, iOS 12.4.
With WWDC just around the corner, and the first iOS 13 beta likely to land at that time, it’s not yet clear why Apple needs another release. Simple bug and security fixes generally don’t get major point-release status; we would get a 12.3.1 release if there were no significant user-facing features.
Those who are part of Apple’s developer program can register a device for developer betas by heading to developer.apple.com/download. Those who are not in the developer program can register their devices for public beta releases by visiting beta.apple.com while using the device on which they wish to run the beta software. While many beta releases are stable and even include new bug fixes, we suggest you do not run beta releases on your primary device.
What’s new in iOS 12.4?
Apple Card support: It’s likely that this release is to prepare iOS for the release of Apple Card, which is due this summer. Other Apple services like Apple Arcade and Apple TV+ aren’t due until the fall, and the OS features necessary to support them might be a part of iOS 13.
Visual tweaks: Most iOS major point-releases contain a few small visual tweaks. An updated icon here and there, realigned fonts, cleaned-up lists. So far, we haven’t seen any such tweaks in iOS 12.4, but we’ll keep our eye out.
When will iOS 12.4 be released?
Apple Card has a vague release date of “summer” and if iOS 12.4 is all about preparation for Apple Card, it could land at any time over the next few months. We’ve seen rumors that Apple employees are already receiving their Apple Cards to test, so we guess sooner rather than later.
WWDC begins on June 3, and it would make sense for Apple to release iOS 12.4 before hyping up iOS 13, if possible.