With iOS 10.2.1 beta 4 now available to developers, what are the changes, if any, that have been added in this new seed by Apple for compatible iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices?

Apple really isn’t messing around when it comes to releasing new beta versions of its in-development iOS operating system. After the release of iOS 10.2.1 beta 1beta 2 and beta 3 to developers, and the subsequent public beta releases, we are now seeing beta 4 arrive.

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Apple’s current beta program, which pushes updates out to registered developers first before also making them sometimes available to those who are registered on the public beta program, is working through the kinks in iOS 10.2.1 in order to get it ready for prime time. Apple’s official changelog for this new release is identical to that which accompanied beta 1, beta 2 and beta 3, suggesting there are few changes under the hood this time around. Indeed, the build number iteration from 14D10 (beta 1) to 14D15 (beta 2) to 14D23 (beta 3) and now 14D27 (beta 4) also heavily suggests that this fourth beta is far from chock-full of feature enhancements or additions.

So why release beta 4 at all? We expect this new version to carry some changes beneath the surface that have the potential to impact developers, and as such requires testing before being rolled into either the next beta, or the public release of the software. Bug fixes, a bit of polish here and there and general tweaks under the hood are likely very much the order of the day here.

As mentioned earlier, official release notes and known issues remain identical to those included in the previous release.

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Given the current rate of beta releases, small bump in build number, no changes in release notes, and no more signing of any other firmware beside iOS 10.2, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the final release of iOS 10.2.1 arrive sooner rather than later. Apple clearly wants to get the software out the door as soon as possible, as evidenced by the rapid beta releases so soon after iOS 10.2 was released to the public just a few weeks or so ago.

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