iOS 17 is the next generation of Apple's operating system for the iPhone. We caught a first glimpse at WWDC 2023, with a full release expected alongside the iPhone 15 range. That's slated to launch next month.
Initial expectations were tame. Last year, iOS 16 saw quite a substantial suite of upgrades, which led many to believe that iOS 17 would be a small change by comparison.
The result was actually surprisingly plump. Several new features and apps were announced, which should make a pretty substantial difference to the iPhone user experience.
What new features will iOS 17 have?
The new operating system saw a host of upgrades across pretty much every aspect.
First, we got Contact Posters. These allow users to take greater control over how they appear on the phones of their contacts. Users can customise an image or Memoji to use as their avatar, as well as the colouring of the image. Then, you can add in your preferred name and adjust the font and colour to match.
We also saw a feature called Live Voicemail unveiled. That provides a real-time transcript of the message being left, and allows users to jump in if needed. It also works to reject this feature for spam calls.
Another new feature is called Check In. This is really important, and could be really useful for a large proportion of users. It allows users to share an estimated time of arrival to a destination with a friend or family member. Then, if you stop making progress towards that, your device will notify that person, sharing details of your last known location, battery level and signal level. Everything shared is end-to-end encrypted.
One of the biggest changes comes to AirDrop. Now, users can simply bring two devices together to initiate the sharing of files and contact information. The same gesture can even be used to initiate SharePlay, allowing users to listen to music or watch a movie while in close proximity.
StandBy is another new feature which is really handy. When your device is placed horizontally on a magnetic charging stand, the screen will automatically adjust to serve easy-to-read content. That includes the time, but also widgets for your calendar and other useful things.
Last, but by no means least, we saw the hotly-anticipated Journal app. This is designed to offer a boost to mental wellbeing, by journaling important events that happen in your life. The app uses location data, workouts and photos to make intelligent suggestions about what is worth documenting, while users can also schedule alerts to build a habit.
When is iOS 17 being released?
After the first glimpse at WWDC, users can now opt to take part in the iOS 17 beta testing. That allows you to get full access to the new features which are available right now.
Do be warned though, these are still trial versions of software. While they're generally okay, they can still be susceptible to bugs and issues. It's not recommended to put this on a critical device, for example.
If you'd prefer to wait for the full release, you probably wont have to wait too long. While nothing has been officially confirmed, that has historically accompanied the release of the new iPhone, which is expected to take place in September.
Which iPhones can use iOS 17?
The following models will be compatible with the new iOS 17 software:
- iPhone XR / iPhone XS / iPhone XS Max
- iPhone 11 / iPhone 11 Pro / iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2nd Gen)
- iPhone 12 / iPhone 12 Mini / iPhone 12 Pro / iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 13 / iPhone 13 Mini / iPhone 13 Pro / iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (3rd Gen)
- iPhone 14 / iPhone 14 Plus / iPhone 14 Pro / iPhone 14 Pro Max