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Discover Everything You Need to Know About iOS 17

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Apple announced iOS 1 and iPad OS 17 at WWDC in June 2023. After a pretty lengthy beta period, Apple released iOS 17 and iPad OS 17 to everyone worldwide on September 18, 2023. It started out looking like a pretty minor update and probably more of a bug-fixing update for iOS, but it brings in several pretty nifty features for the iPhone and iPad.

In this article, we will review everything you need to know about iOS 17.

When was iOS 17 announced?

iOS 17 was announced at WWDC on June 5 in the opening keynote. This is pretty typical for new versions of iOS. Apple tends to reveal new versions of its operating systems in the keynote, with betas available later that day.

While iOS 17 was announced in June, the final version didn’t launch until September 18, 2023. That’s pretty common for Apple. They will typically run betas all summer, and then the week of the new iPhone release, the latest version of iOS becomes available for everyone.

iOS 17 updates

iOS 17 was released on September 18, 2023. But that was not the final version of iOS 17. Here’s the complete list of each release for iOS 17.

  • iOS 17 – Released on September 18, 2023
  • iOS 17.0.1 – Released on September 21, 2023
  • iOS 17.0.2 – Released on September 22, 2023
  • iOS 17.0.3 – Released on October 4, 2023
  • iOS 17.1 – Released on October 25, 2023
  • iOS 17.1.1 – Released on November 7, 2023
  • iOS 17.1.2 – Released on November 30, 2023
  • iOS 17.2 – Released on December 11, 2023
  • iOS 17.1 – Released on December 22, 2023
  • iOS 17.3 – Released on January 23, 2024
  • iOS 17.3.1 – Released on February 8, 2024

iOS 17.1

The first point update for iOS 17 was launched in late October and actually brought along quite a few new features for the iPhone. Here’s what’s new in iOS 17.1.

  • Apple Music: Users can add a star to any song, album, playlist,t or artist. This new selection will be saved to your library and used to help improve recommendations.
  • AirDrop: Apple is also bringing in a new “out of range” option that will allow users to send and receive files even if the two devices are not in close proximity.
  • Apple Wallet: For those in the UK, Apple is adding a new feature that will allow users to add their debit and credit cards from selected banks in the Wallet app. This will also allow users to view their latest transactions and balances for their cards.

iOS 17.2

Released in December 2023, iOS 17.2 brought quite a few new features and the much-anticipated Journal app.

  • New Journal app that was first introduced at WWDC 2023.
  • Action Button: New Translate option to quickly translate phrases or have a conversation with someone in another language.
  • Camera: Addition of Spatial Video, Improved telephoto camera focusing speed when capturing small faraway objects on iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
  • Messages: The catch-up arrow finally arrives to jump to your first unread message easily. You can now add stickers in the context menu to a specific text. Memoji updates include the ability to adjust the body shape of any Memoji.

iOS 17.3

iOS 17.3 was one of the more minor updates so far for iOS 17. It did bring in some very useful and needed features, however. Here’s what’s new in iOS 17.3:

  • Stolen Device Protection: this update increases the security of iPhone and Apple ID by requiring Face ID or Touch ID with no passcode fallback to perform certain actions. Security delay now requires Face ID or Touch ID, an hour wait, and then an additional successful biometric authentication before sensitive operations like changing device passcode or Apple ID password can be performed.
  • Lock Screen: New Unity Wallpaper for Black History Month is available.
  • Music: Collaborate on playlists now with your friends and family. Emoji reactions can also be added to any track in a collaborative playlist.

When can I download the iOS 17 beta?

There are two answers to this question, actually. If you’re a registered developer, you are able to download it now. However, those who aren’t registered developers are still able to download it now. That could be a bug, but we’ll have to wait and see.

If you want to wait for the Public Beta, that will be available in July. Basically, the Public Beta is available for everyone, and you’re getting put onto the second beta. So you should, theoretically, be able to surpass the most unstable version of iOS 17.

How many beta’s were there?

Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t lay out the beta timeline, telling us exactly how many beta releases there will be. But for Apple, typically, they start out at about once a month, and as it gets more polished, Apple will update a bit more often. In August, you could see a beta followed by a release candidate in a week’s time. Which is probably the better way to do it.

  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 1: Released on June 5, 2023
  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 2: Released on June 21, 2023
  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 3: Released on July 5, 2023
  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 4: Released on July 25, 2023
  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 5: Released on August 8, 2023
  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 6: Released on August 15, 2023
  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 7: Released on August 22, 2023
  • iOS 17 Developer Beta 8: Released on August 29, 2023
  • iOS 17 Public Beta 1: Released on July 12, 2023
  • iOS 17 Public Beta 2: Released on August 2, 2023
  • iOS 17 Public Beta 3: Released on August 9, 2023
  • iOS 17 Public Beta 4: Released on August 15, 2023
  • iOS 17 Public Beta 5: Released on August 22, 2023
  • iOS 17 Public Beta 6: Released on August 29, 2023
  • iOS 17 Release Candidate: Released on September 13, 2023
  • iOS 17 stable: Releasing on September 18, 2023

What features are coming in iOS 17?

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iOS 17 was rumored to be mostly a maintenance release for the iPhone, and that is exactly what it is. There’s still a handful of new features here for iOS 17, but not as many as usual. Apple really focused on making it smoother and getting rid of some of the long-standing bugs. But here are some of the larger features of iOS 17.

Personalizing phone calls & Live Voicemail

Apple has made some changes to the phone part of the iPhone. Two big changes here. For one, you can now edit your calling card. So when you call someone, you can customize what they see on their screen. This will show your name in various fonts, as well as a picture or an emoji. You can also opt to leave it blank and only show your name. There’s quite a bit of customization here, which is a surprise for Apple.

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Live Voicemail is a really interesting feature. Now, when you send a call to voicemail, you can see a live transcript of the message on the display. This is kind of similar to Google’s Call Screening feature on the Pixel, but in this case, the call has already gone to voicemail.

Messages get a huge overhaul, but still no RCS

To no surprise, Apple did not announce RCS coming to iMessage. But the Messages app did get a nice revamp this time around. One of the first changes you’ll notice is that iMessage Apps have now moved. Now, next to the text field, there’s a + sign. Tap on that, and you’ll see an app drawer appear with all of your iMessage apps. Like Giphy, Photos, Digital Touch, Music, and much more.

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Apple has also added a new feature called “Check In.” This is a new safety feature where you can automatically notify your friends and family members when you arrive at your destination, such as your home. This can be really useful for parents and their kids, and it will work with kids even if they don’t have an iPhone and only have an Apple Watch.

Facetime voicemail

Facetime has a number of new features, including a voicemail, err, videomail, and type feature. Basically, if someone misses your Facetime call, you can record a video or audio message for them. Apple calls it “Leave a message,” which I guess is accurate, but it’s really just voicemail.

Also, with iOS 17 and tvOS17, you’ll be able to use Facetime on your Apple TV. You can hold your phone and see them on the big screen or mount the iPhone in front of the TV for a more wide view. This is very helpful for when you are with a group of people and want everyone on the Facetime call.

Finally, Facetime is also getting a reaction with your hands feature. You can add a reaction that will fill the camera frame with fun 3D augmented reality effects. These are similar to what you get with iMessage already. Like herts, confetti, fireworks and more.

Turn your iPhone into a smart display

Apple is also turning your iPhone into a smart display when it is docked on a MagSafe charger. It’s called StandBy (yes, with a capital B). Basically, turn your iPhone onto its side, and you can see all sorts of things on your screen while it’s charging. This includes a clock, so it can replace your bedside clock. Music, a photo slideshow, and so much more is available.

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Apple has also added Live Activities and Siri results to StandBy. So you can see exactly how far away your Uber Eats is from you, and you can also ask Siri things and get the answer right there on your phone.

Widgets get interactive

Perhaps the most exciting feature in iOS 17 is the fact that Interactive Widgets is finally here. Apple introduced Widgets in iOS 14, but they weren’t interactive; they really only showed you information. Tap on them, and they open their specific app. Now, you can interact with them.

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A good example of this is the Home widget. Which will have a smart light on the widget; you can just tap on that to turn the light on or off. Sure, you can do this by swiping down from the top and getting into Control Center, but this is a few fewer taps and swipes away.

These are just some of the many features in iOS 17

These are just some of the many features coming in iOS 17. Like NameDrop, which allows you to swap contact information over AirDrop. Or Spell Check powered by an LLM, new SharePlay features, and more.

You can check out Apple’s iOS 17 preview here.

Will my iPhone get iOS 17?

Apple has a better track record than all Android OEMs when it comes to updating their phones. Apple has confirmed which iPhones will be supported on iOS 17, and here’s the list:

  • iPhone SE (2nd and 3rd gen)
  • iPhone XS and XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max
  • iPhone 12 and 12 mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max
  • iPhone 13 and 13 mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max
  • iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max

Apple also generally releases iOS for every model on the same day. So you won’t need to wait around for the update to come to your device. That’s something we have to do on Android, unfortunately.

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