We're expecting to see a lot of new things at WWDC 2023 in June: Apple's annual developer event is likely to launch new hardware such as new MacBooks, and as it's a developer event we'll also see the future operating systems for the Mac, for the iPad, for the Apple Watch and for the iPhone too. The last of those operating systems, iOS 17, looks like it's going to include some significant improvements that'll breathe new life into every supported iPhone.
We've already seen leaks of some of those improvements, such as changes to Wallet and the Heath apps in iOS 17, but there are more changes coming. Here's what to expect.
What changes are coming in iOS 17?
The biggest change is likely to be a very significant change to Control Center, which is a bit of a mess right now: it's apparently going to be much more customisable, which is something that's been on my wish list for ages: I don't really use CC because the buttons it has aren't the buttons I want it to have. So on a purely selfish basis that's the most important one for me.
The most intriguing rumour is a new Apple journalling app which, according to the Wall Street Journal, "underscores the company's growing interest in mental health." It'll help you keep track of your daily life and will "analyze the users' behavior to determine what a typical day is like, including how much time is spent at home compared with elsewhere, and whether a certain day included something outside the norm"; it'll have access to your phone call and message histories and possibly to the new iOS 17 mood tracking in Health, but it will apparently also protect your privacy. I'm fascinated by this, and while it's not certain that we'll see it in iOS 17 it is apparently far enough in development that its launch should be fairly imminent.
For those of you in the EU, there's also going to be a very un-Apple thing: the ability to sideload apps, which means installing apps without them having to go through the App Store. Apple doesn't want to do this for multiple reasons – it gets a cut of every App Store sale, for starters, but in fairness the lack of side loading also contributes to the lack of malware and dangerously crappy apps for iPhones – but the EU compels it to. The change is unlikely to be mirrored in countries outside the EU, however, and that means it'll come to Ireland but probably not the UK.
Last but not least we should see improved privacy protections in AirTags – Apple and Google have joined forces to develop a proposed privacy specification not just for AirTags but Bluetooth trackers generally – and Apple has also promised to share mode details about the previously announced next generation of CarPlay this year.
We'll find out more at WWDC, which this year begins on 5 June.