iOS 17 was officially announced at WWDC, marking Apple’s largest annual software update for iPhone users. This year, iOS 17 packs new features for Messages, FaceTime, and widgets. Head below for a summary of our coverage, new features, beta and release date details, and more.
iOS 17 beta
As of June, iOS 17 is available for developer beta testers only, but there is a big change in the developer beta testing process this year. In previous users, iOS developer betas were only available to registered developers who paid $99 per year.
For iOS 17 this year, Apple is making beta versions available to anyone who signs up for a free developer account. No $99 annual subscription required.
That said, we recommend that you proceed with caution. Apple says these are “developer” betas for a reason. The iOS 17 beta has a number of bugs, performance issues, and will have a big impact on battery life. Just because the iOS 17 developer beta is available for free doesn’t mean you should rush to install it.
Sometime this month, however, Apple willrelease a public betafor iOS 17, which will still contain bugs and quirks but to a lesser extent than the developer beta releases.
When will iOS 17 be released for everyone?
After the beta test is complete, Apple will release iOS 17 to the general public. Based on the previous one, this will happen in September. Here’s a rundown of previous iOS update release dates in September:
- iOS 16: September 12, 2022
- iOS 15: September 20, 2021
- iOS 14: September 16, 2020
- iOS 13: September 19, 2019
- iOS 12: September 17, 2018
As you can see, Apple is quite consistent with its iOS release schedules. That’s why we expect iOS 17 to follow the same pattern and release in mid-September.
iOS 17 supported devices
Specifically, iOS 17 requires the A12 Bionic chip or newer. That means iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus, all first released in 2017, won’t get the update this year. Here is the complete roundup of devices supported by iOS 17:
- iPhone XS and XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro and ProMax
- iPhone 12 and 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro and ProMax
- iPhone 13 and 13mini
- iPhone 13 Pro and ProMax
- iPhone 14 Pro and ProMax
- iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd generation)
What’s new in iOS 17?
With the boring stuff out of the way, let’s dive into some of the new features in iOS 17. Apple says the goal of iOS 17 is to make your iPhone more personal and intuitive, and it has a wealth of new features to accomplish this.
iOS 17 includes a new feature called Contact Posters, which lets you customize the look of your profile when interacting with other iPhone users. You can set up your contact poster to include profile photos, special typography and font colors, and much more.
For FaceTime audio and video calls, Apple added voicemail support for the first time. So if you call someone, you can leave a message explaining why you were calling. And when they call you, they can leave their own voice message.
Even for FaceTime, Apple has added a variety of new reactions. This includes things like hearts, balloons, fireworks, laser beams, and rain. These effects can be triggered by certain gestures and are compatible with third-party apps as well.
iOS 17 also packs improvements to AirDrop. For example, NameDrop is a new AirDrop feature that lets you share your contact information with another iPhone or Apple Watch user by simply bringing your devices together. Also, by placing two iPhones close to each other, you can turn on SharePlay for things like videos, music, and games.
AirDrop now also supports touching two phones together to transfer other content from one device to another, including photos, videos and files. Also later this year, AirDrop will introduce the ability to initiate the transfer of large files between two nearby phones, with the transfer completing via iCloud.
The Music application has been revamped with support for collaborative playlists and crossfades (finally). In CarPlay, the Music app now includes SharePlay support to let anyone in your car have a say in what’s currently playing (if you’re brave enough to allow such a thing).
Another tentpole change in iOS 17 is a major revamp of autocorrect, which according to Apple will finally let you say what you want to say. Powered by machine learning, the new AutoCorrect system learns from the way you type, makes it easier to correct mistakes, and even autofills words and sentences as you type. Dictation has also been updated with a new speech recognition model to make it even more accurate, Apple says.
StandBy is one of the most notable changes for iPhone users this year. When you place your iPhone horizontally on a charger, it’ll show a new custom smart display-style interface with visible widgets for things like the time, calendar, alarms, and more.
For fans of Home screen widgets, iOS 17 includes a big update with support for interactive widgets. This means that you can now interact directly with the widgets themselves, rather than needing to be taken directly to the app itself. For example, you can interact with the play and pause controls for the Music app widget right on your iPhone’s home screen. Coinciding with this, Apple also added Home app widget even for the first time.
iOS 17 includes a number of Accessibility updates, such as Assisted Access. It is a new customizable interface that simplifies the use of their iPhone by users with cognitive disabilities. Personal Voice offers users at risk of speech loss, such as those with ALS, the ability to create a voice that sounds like their own. Live Speech is a new feature that gives non-speaking users the ability to type and have their words spoken in person, on phone calls, or in FaceTime calls.
THE Messages The app in iOS 17 is also getting a major boost with new features for stickers, reactions, and more.
- The interface for iMessage apps has been overhauled with easy access to things like the camera, Photos app, location sharing, GIFs, and more.
- Audio messages are now automatically transcribed, so you don’t have to listen to your friend ramble for two minutes.
- Stickers has been revamped, with Apple turning all emoji into stickers and letting you create your own stickers using your own photos. Stickers can be used in Messages, as a Tapback, and more.
- The Messages app includes updated search functionality with support for search filters.
- It’s easier to reply to a specific message by swiping right on it, instead of long-pressing.
Apple’s robust set of management features two-factor authentication codes it’s also getting an update with iOS 17. This year, even two-factor codes sent to Mail will now support autofill. The Messages app will now automatically delete 2FA text messages as well.
Combining the functionality of Messages and Find My is a new feature called To record, which Apple says is an important feature for when a user wants to notify a family member or friend that they have arrived at their destination safely. When check-in begins, your friend or family member will automatically be notified when you arrive at your destination. If you’re not making progress towards that destination, iOS 17 will share information like your location, battery level, and cellular service status with the other person.
Live voicemail in iOS 17 allows you to see the transcript in real time while someone leaves a voicemail, including the ability to answer the call while the person is leaving the message. Calls identified as spam by the managers will not appear as live voicemail and will instead be rejected immediately.
iOS 17 will also include a brand new Diary application within this year. Using the Journal app, Apple says iPhone users will have a new way to appreciate life and preserve memories. The Journal app in iOS 17 will use machine learning to create suggestions of moments you might want to remember. The app will ask you to journal based on things like photos, music, workouts, and more.
Here is a rundown of more and more Changes in iOS 17 for iPhone users this year:
- New features for private browsing, including the ability to lock tabs behind Face ID or Touch ID.
- Passwords and passkeys stored in iCloud Keychain can now be shared with friends and family.
- Apple Maps is adding support for offline maps and real-time availability information for electric car charging stations.
- The Health app now offers robust mental health features, including the ability to log your daily mood and momentary emotions.
- Screen Distance is a new feature in iOS 17 that Apple says will help reduce the risk of nearsightedness for children by making sure kids don’t hold their devices too close to their faces.
- Now AirTags can be shared with up to five other people. It also works with all other Find My network accessories.
- AirPlay is smarter and now uses on-device intelligence to learn more about how you interact with AirPlay-enabled devices. Apple is also working to expand AirPlay availability in hotels, starting with a partnership with LG.
- The Notes app now offers internal note linking, so you can link from one Apple note to another.
- Siri can now be activated by simply saying Siri, rather than Hey Siri.
- AirPods now offer adaptive audio, custom volume, conversation awareness, and improvements to automatic switching and call controls.
- Visual Look Up now works in video, along with the ability to recognize new things like food, storefronts, signs, symbols, and more.
- The Reminders app can now automatically group items you add to your shopping list by categories, such as fruits, vegetables, drinks, meats, and more.
- The Photos app can now recognize cats and dogs as your person. For example, if you have two dogs named Blake and Ruby, the Photos app will automatically separate the pictures for each of them into their own albums.
Increased coverage of iOS 17
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