iPhone Might Soon Get Over-The-Air OS Recovery, as Per iOS 13.4 Beta Code
Apple may be working on an over-the-air OS recovery feature for iPhones, as per code found in the latest iOS 13.4 beta. This feature will allow users to restore the operating system on their iPhone, without connecting it to a computer using a cable.
The code was found in iOS 13.4 beta 3 by folks over at 9to5Mac. A pop-up, similar to the AirPods connectivity pop-up, is available in the beta, which simply says 'OS Recovery' and features a connect button. The existence of this pop-up suggests that Apple might allow users to restore the operating system on iPhone, and perhaps iPad and iPod touch, without connecting the device to a Mac or Windows PC via a cable.
The code also hints at the possibility of operating system recovery by connecting an iOS device to another iPhone or iPad, via a cable. This will work similarly to how Migration Tool works in iOS. For most users, this is good news as it removes the last bit of dependency that users have on computers, when using their iPhone or iPad. This feature will move the iPad one step closer to becoming a standalone computer.
Apple has featured Internet Recovery as a part of macOS for a long time. This feature allows users to boot up their Mac and download macOS to perform a clean install, without having to rely on a USB installation drive.
Although OS Recovery hints at a potential "connector-less" future of Apple devices, it is too early for that. Apple still has to sort out fast wireless charging and figure out how to bundle a wireless charger with an iPhone, before users can survive with a port-less iPhone. Perhaps Apple might want to introduce OS Recovery for Apple TV, Apple Watch and HomePod until then.
iOS 13.4 has been in testing for the past few weeks and contains a number of new features which include iCloud folder sharing, new Memoji Stickers, Universal purchase, CarPlay updates, CarKey API and more. The update is expected to release to all users in March. However, it is unclear when the OS Recovery feature will make its way to the public.