iOS 17 Overview
iOS 17 is the newest version of iOS, the operating system that is designed to run on the iPhone. Previewed in June, iOS 17 is in beta testing and is set to see a release in September alongside new iPhones. There are new features for Phone, FaceTime, and Messages, along with small improvements for other apps and an all new app that's coming later this year for journaling.
Apple focused on communication, and overhauled the Phone app. You can now create customized Contact Posters that people see when you call them. You can choose a photo or a Memoji, select a font, a font color, and more. Contact Posters are available for the Phone app and also for third-party apps.
When someone leaves a voicemail, the Live Voicemail feature shows a real-time transcription of the message on the Lock Screen as the person is speaking. Based on what's being said, you can choose to pick up the phone. Calls marked as spam by carriers will be instantly declined and won't appear as Live Voicemail.
NameDrop, a new facet of AirDrop, lets you bring your iPhone near another iPhone to exchange contact information. This works with Apple Watch as well. Bringing two iPhones together can initiate SharePlay so you can listen to music, watch a movie, or play a game with another person who has an iPhone, and it also works for transferring content. Later this year, AirDrop will allow large file transfers to be initiated by two phones in close proximity, with the transfer finishing over iCloud.
FaceTime supports both audio and video messages, so if you don't pick up a call, the person on the other end can leave a video recording for you or an audio message. FaceTime also supports a range of Reactions like hearts, balloons, fireworks, laser beams, and rain. Effects are activated through gestures, and will also work in third-party apps.
An iPhone or iPad can now link to the Apple TV 4K for FaceTime on the TV. Using Continuity Camera, an iOS device serves as the camera for a FaceTime call, but the video is displayed on the larger screen of the TV. It supports Center Stage framing and all other FaceTime features, including Handoff, for transferring calls between an iOS device and the TV.
In the Messages app, there's a cleaner interface with access to apps, photos, and the camera tucked away behind a "+" button that's next to the compose bar. Tapping on the button gives quick access to the Camera, Photos, Apple Cash, Audio Messages, your Messages apps, and an updated Stickers experience.
All emoji characters are now stickers and are in the Stickers section of the Messages app. Emoji can be used as normal, but can also be placed over images and messages like a sticker. You can create your own stickers from your photos using the Remove Subject from Background feature that was introduced in iOS 16. If you use a Live Photo, you'll end up with an animated sticker that you can share in the Messages app. Stickers can have special effects like a hand drawn look, glitter, or a different color, and they can also be used across iOS, essentially wherever you can use an emoji.
Search in Messages supports search filters for finding exactly what you're looking for. You can start with a broad search and narrow down the results by entering additional search terms. If you have trouble keeping up in group chats or with a person who sends a lot of messages, the catch-up arrow lets you know exactly where you left off so you can see what's unread. You can reply right inline by swiping on a text bubble, and if you send an audio message, it's now transcribed automatically so it can be read right then. One-time verification codes delivered by the Messages app can be deleted automatically.
Location sharing in Messages is simpler and when a user shares a location, it's updated in real time in the conversation. It works in tandem with Check In, a safety feature that tells a friend or family member that you've arrived safely at your destination when traveling. When Check In is turned on, the person you're communicating with is notified when you arrive where you're going, and if you don't make it in time or progress stalls, your contact can see your iPhone's location, battery level, and cellular status to determine whether you need help. Unsolicited nude photos can also be blocked in messages with a new nudity warning.
Apple improved autocorrect across iOS, adding a new machine learning model that can better predict what you want to say. It can offer to autofill entire sentences with inline predictions when typing, so finishing a word or a sentence is as simple as pressing the spacebar. Correcting mistakes is easier because it can be done with a tap. There's also a new speech recognition model for dictation that makes it more accurate.
When you're not using your iPhone, you can put it horizontally on a charger to activate StandBy mode, a full-screen display with information you can see at a glance. StandBy mode works best with an always-on display, but you can see it with a tap, too. It is similar to Nightstand mode on Apple Watch, offering different clock styles, photos, calendar, weather, a view of Live Activities, or customizable widgets through Smart Stack.
On the Home Screen, widgets are now interactive so you can use them to do things like control music, activate a light, mark off a reminder, and more. Spotlight Search is also more interactive so you can do things like change settings without opening an app.
The Health app has a mood tracking feature that lets you log your daily emotions to track your state of mind over time. It will offer up options for recording your mood along with what's causing that mood, so you can make useful connections. Apple is also offering depression and anxiety assessments used in clinics to help you determine if you might be at risk.
Using the TrueDepth camera, the Health app can help you determine whether you are too close to your screen through the Screen Distance measuring tool in Screen Time. This is developed for kids, but adults can use it too, with the feature letting you know if you're holding your device closer than 12 inches to your face.
Though not available yet, iOS 17 will bring a Journal app that's designed to let you record your thoughts and activities on a daily basis. The iPhone will use on-device machine learning to suggest topics for you to write about based on what you've done during the day, such as traveling, completing a workout, visiting people, taking photos, and more. Third-party apps can offer journaling suggestions, but all content is protected and even passcode locked.
In Safari, private browsing is locked with Face ID, and it also blocks trackers from identifying your device and following your browsing traffic across websites. An option for Profiles separates your work browsing from your personal browsing with different histories, extensions, Tab Groups, favorites, and cookies.
The Photos app can recognize pets, and Visual Lookup works in paused video. The option can now identify food to provide recipes, plus it recognizes storefronts, signs, and videos.
Passwords and passkeys can be shared with other people through a Family Sharing feature available in the Passwords app. Everyone in the group can add and edit passwords that are shared safely through iCloud Keychain. This feature is useful for passwords that need to be accessed by more than one person, such as for streaming services.
Apple Music supports Collaborative Playlists for listening to music with friends, and thanks to SharePlay in the car, passengers can add songs to what's playing through CarPlay even without an Apple Music subscription. With crossfade, songs will fade into one another so there's never a pause.
In the Maps app, you're now able to download offline maps for select regions, so you can access turn-by-turn navigation, estimated time of arrival, and nearby locations even with no signal. Apple updated maps to provide more information on trails in parks across the United States, and there is real-time charging availability information for electric vehicles.
AirTags can now be shared with other people, so friends and family members who live together can both track an item with an AirTag in the Find My app. Everyone can see the item's location, play a sound, and use Precision Finding, plus it works with Find My network accessories.
AirPlay is smarter and can learn your device sharing preferences, plus later this year, select hotels will support AirPlay on TVs for easier access to your content when you're traveling. It's now easier to sign into an iPhone with your Apple ID using a nearby device or an email address or phone number listed in your account.
There are new features for AirPods. An Adaptive Audio option for AirPods Pro 2 combines Active Noise Cancellation with Transparency so you can be more aware of your surroundings while also cutting down on unwanted noise. Conversation Awareness turns down your music when someone is talking to you so you can hear them, and Personalized Volume adjusts sound to your preferences. With improvements to Automatic Switching, swapping between devices is faster and more reliable, and you can mute and unmute sound by holding on the AirPods stem.
The Home app lets you see activity history for up to 30 days for door locks, garage doors, contact sensors, and alarm systems, and PIN codes and tap to unlock work with Matter-based smart locks.
In Reminders, there's a built-in grocery list that groups items you add into categories, and in Notes, you're able to create links between notes so related notes can be interlinked. The Notes app also has deeper support for PDFs so you can view and mark up PDFs and scans.
You no longer need to say Hey Siri to activate Siri, and can instead just say "Siri." Multiple commands can be issued in succession without needing to reactivate Siri. Note that activating Siri without the Hey is limited to newer devices.
The Mail app supports automatic filling of verification codes just like Messages. In Apple News, subscribers can access daily crossword puzzles and listen to Apple News+ Audio Stories in the Podcasts app.
In the Fitness app you can see highlights of friends' workout activities and create custom workout and meditation schedules with Apple Fitness+ Custom Plans. Freeform features new drawing tools like a watercolor brush, highlighter, and ruler.
With Personal Voice, users in danger of losing their ability to speak can create a voice that sounds like theirs, and the Live Speech accessibility feature lets typed words be spoken in person, on the phone, or through FaceTime. Point and Speak reads text on physical objects for those who have low vision or are blind.
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How to Install the Beta
As of right now, iOS 17 is only available for developers to download, but Apple recently made a major change to its policies that allows developer betas to be accessed for free. All that's needed is an Apple ID.
You can follow our instructions to get access to the developer beta, but it's not recommend to install the software on a main device. Betas are unstable and can be riddled with bugs and other issues, and apps sometimes do not work for months.
iOS 17 is compatible with the iPhone XR/iPhone XS and later, which means it drops support for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. These devices were able to run iOS 16, but cannot be updated to iOS 17.
- iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)
iOS 17 will be in beta testing for several months. It is currently available to developers, with Apple planning to make a public beta available in July.
An official launch will happen in September with iOS 17 coming out alongside new iPhone models.
iOS 17 Roundup Changelog
- June 7 - Overhauled the iOS 17 roundup with official information about the new features.
- June 2 - Added details about credit card balances being shown in the Wallet app in iOS 17.
- May 18 - Apple announced new accessibility features coming in iOS 17, which have been added to a new accessibility section.
- May 8 - Expanded Lock Screen section with rumor about Maps app interface.
- April 21 - Added rumored journaling app.
- April 21 - Added overview of rumored improvements to the Find My app.
- April 12 - Added info about possible "active" widgets in iOS 17.
- April 5 - Outlined rumored Control Center changes.