iOS 17 is Apple‘s upcoming operating system for its iPhone models. Previewed during the WWDC 2023 keynote, the Cupertino firm focused on three main features: communication, intelligence, and new experiences. Here’s everything you need to know about this operating system before it’s released to all users later this fall
The release date should be in September
After previewing iOS 17 during the WWDC 2023 keynote on June 5, Apple released the first beta for developers to try out the upcoming features. In July, a public beta will be made available to consumers, with the official release date expected to be September, around the iPhone 15 announcement.
iOS 17 is full of new features. BGR gathered the most important ones.
Phone, Messages, and FaceTime
For the first time since iOS 7, Apple revamped the Phone app. It brings personalized Contact Posters, which provide a new way for users to express themselves by customizing how they appear, bringing a completely new look to incoming calls. They can choose treatments for photos or Memoji and eye-catching typography and font colors.
After customizing your contact info, you can share it with NameDrop. It allows users to easily share contact information by simply bringing their iPhones together. This is the same gesture to start SharePlay to listen to music, watch a movie, or play a game.
With Live Voicemail, you can see real-time transcription when someone leaves a voicemail. Calls identified as spam by carriers won’t appear as Live Voicemail and will be instantly declined.
For FaceTime, when users call someone who is unavailable, they can share a message in audio or video that can be enjoyed later. In addition, the app adds Reactions such as hearts, balloons, fireworks, and more.
Messages app, for example, lets you create Live Stickers, and a new drawer in the keyboard puts all of a user’s stickers in one place for easier access across iOS. An expandable menu can be accessed with a simple tap to display iMessage apps. In addition, a new catch-up arrow indicates where the user last left off in the conversation, and replying inline is as simple as swiping on a text bubble.
Check-In is one of Apple’s most important security features ever made
Although this is a Messages feature, Check In deserves its own subheadline. This is an important feature when a user wants to notify a family member or friend that they have made it to their destination safely.
After a user initiates a Check In, their friend or family member will automatically be notified as soon as the user arrives. If they are not making progress toward their destination, useful information will be temporarily shared with the selected contact, such as the device’s location, battery level, and cell service status. Any information shared is end-to-end encrypted.
Autocorrection and Dictation are more intelligent than ever
Apple says Autocorrect received a comprehensive update with a transformer language model for word prediction. It also received a refreshed design to better support typing, and sentence-level autocorrections can fix more types of grammatical mistakes.
Users can receive predictive text recommendations inline as they type, so adding entire words or completing sentences is as easy as tapping the space bar, making text entry faster than ever. Dictation also has a new speech recognition model to make it even more accurate.
Apple Music now offers new tweaks
Apple Music has also added a few new things with iOS 17. For example, with this new operating system, Apple Music users will be able to use SharePlay to control the music in the car through CarPlay, so everyone can play their favorite songs and contribute to what’s playing.
In addition, animated covers don’t appear solely on the artist’s album page anymore but also on the music player. After years of this Android-only feature, Apple has added crossfade support between songs on iOS. Crossfade will smoothly transition between tracks, so the music never stops.
Later this year, Apple Music on iOS 17 will let users invite friends to join a playlist so anyone can add, reorder, and remove songs. It will also be possible to use emoji to react to the song choices in Now Playing.
StandBy offers glanceable information while iPhone is charging
StandBy is a new experience that gives users a full-screen experience with glanceable information designed to be viewed from a distance when iPhone is on its side and charging.
With support for Live Activities, Siri, incoming calls, and larger notifications, StandBy makes iPhone even more useful when viewed at a distance.
When charging with MagSafe, StandBy remembers a user’s preferred view. It is easy to bring up StandBy anytime by tapping the screen, and on iPhone 14 Pro with the Always-On display, it is always available.
Health app expands mental health awareness
The Health app on iOS 17 lets you log your state of mind by scrolling through engaging visuals to help you select how you’re feeling at that moment and during the day overall. In the Health app, it’s also possible to see your state of mind and how it could correlate with lifestyle factors.
With a new Mental Wellbeing section on the Health app, you can even log how anxious or depressed you feel. This will help you understand if you need to pursue medical help or not.
All of this data combines with a new Apple Watch Series 6 (and later), Apple Watch SE 2, or Apple Watch Ultra tracker available with watchOS 10 that identifies how much time you spend in daylight thanks to its ambient light sensor.
Journal app comes at a later date
Another feature that Apple announced as a “new experience” is a Journal app. Using on-device machine learning, it will display personalized suggestions that can inspire a user’s journal entry.
Suggestions are intelligently curated from recent activity, including photos, people, places, workouts, and more, making it easy to start a journal entry, and scheduled notifications can help build a journaling habit.
Apple already confirmed these iOS 17 features
In a press release prior to WWDC, Apple announced “new features for cognitive accessibility, along with Live Speech, Personal Voice, and Point and Speak in Magnifier.” These will be available “later this year,” which means they will release alongside iOS 17.
One of the most interesting features is Personal Voice, a new feature that allows users to recreate their voice by recording around 15 minutes of audio. Apple says that the feature was made to assist those who may be at risk of losing their voice.
Personal Voice will work with Live Voice, another feature announced. Live Voice will allow users to type what they want to say and then have that spoken for them on a phone or FaceTime call. If you use Personal Voice, the person on the other end of the call will hear your actual voice, even though you simply typed a response.
The company also revealed Assistive Access, which introduces a customized experience for the Phone FaceTime, Messages, Camera, Photos, and Music apps. Apple says that the feature offers a “distinct interface with high contrast buttons and large text labels, as well as tools to help trusted supporters tailor the experience for the individual they support. For example, for users who prefer communicating visually, Messages includes an emoji-only keyboard and the option to record a video message to share with loved ones.
Every major iOS update offers new emojis. For example, Apple released 20+ emojis for iOS 16 with iOS 16.4. While we still have to wait for Unicode to announce the new figures it’s considering, Apple will likely add new emojis during the lifecycle of iOS 17.
While it doesn’t happen, there’s even more coming to iOS 17 that Apple didn’t even tell you.
Supported devices that can run iOS 17
With iOS 16, Apple was pretty radical about dropping support for old iPhones, meaning no more iPod touch could run the latest iOS version. In addition, only 2017 iPhone models or newer could update to iOS 16.
iOS 17 keeps ditching old phones. This time, the iPhone 8 and iPhone X models will not be supported by this new operating system. Here are all iPhones that will be able to run the new OS:
- iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2nd gen)
- iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (3rd gen)
- iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
That said, not every iOS 17 feature will be available to all compatible iPhone models.
Official iOS 17 download
As of now, general users can’t download iOS 17 as only the developer beta is available.
Can I download iOS 17 beta?
If you are a developer, yes, you can download iOS 17 beta version as long as you ar registered on Apple’s Developer Program. BGR made a how-to on the process of downloading the iOS 17 beta.
A public test version will be available around July alongside the official developer beta for more people to try out this operating system update before it’s out to all users in September.