iOS 16 launches on September 12, but Apple nevertheless seeded the release candidate for iOS 15.7 on Wednesday. This is – obviously – likely to be the last significant update to the version first introduced in 2021.
Apple also seeded release candidates for macOS Monterey 12.6 and iPadOS 15.7, but their replacements aren’t expected for weeks.
iOS 15.7, macOS Monterey 12.6 and iPadOS 15.7 are on the way
Release candidates are what Apple used to call golden masters, and give beta testers an opportunity to test the final version of operating systems before they’re introduced to average users. Apple making these available for testing means the full launch is coming in just a few days.
It’s not clear what’s different in iOS 15.7 RC as Apple has yet to post any release notes. It’s probably just a collection of small tweaks and bug fixes. The last update, iOS 15.6.1, launched to close a dangerous security hole but it didn’t go through Apple’s public beta testing process.
The timing of this update is somewhat odd, coming at about the same time as iOS 16. But Apple is surely aware that many iPhone users will hold off on installing iOS 16 until they’re sure it’s reasonably bug free. Also, those still packing an iPhone 6S or iPhone 7 series can’t upgrade past iOS 15.x.
With macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16 not expected until October, Apple putting out release candidates for macOS Monterey 12.6 and iPadOS 15.7 now is less odd.
Beta testers can try all three of the release candidates for iPhone, Mac or iPad. The final versions could come any day now, as noted.