iOS 17.3 Beta 2: New Features and Bricking Threat

Apple recently released iOS 17.3 Beta 2 to developers and public beta testers, marking another incremental update on the road to iOS 17.3’s full public release. However, this latest beta version has come with its fair share of issues, most seriously complaints from users that it has bricked their iPhones.

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The iOS 17.3 updates have so far focused on minor tweaks and fixes leading up to the full release, without introducing major new features. iOS 17.3 Beta 2 continues this trend, including small enhancements like UI changes to the volume HUD (heads-up display) and TV app.

However, within a day of 17.3 Beta 2’s availability, reports began surfacing on Reddit and Apple’s support forums of the update bricking users’ iPhones. The main issue seems to center around the Back Tap gesture, with affected users reporting that their iPhone gets stuck in a boot loop after updating. Apple has since pulled the beta and is likely working on a fix before releasing a new build.

iOS 17.3 Beta 2: New Features

While light on new user-facing features, iOS 17.3 Beta 2 does contain some subtle UI changes and updates:

  • Refined volume HUD: The volume heads-up display that appears when pressing the volume buttons has been reworked to take up less space. It’s more compact and also has a darker blur effect.
  • TV app enhancements: The Apple TV app has some small tweaks, like setting sports events to default launch to the Live tab when opened from the TV app. There are also new tabs making it easier to find live content.
  • Other minor changes: Other modest changes include the ability to delete Apple News notifications by swiping left, refinements to Safari web page translation, and a new setting to disable wallpaper and widgets when using Low Power Mode.

Overall, iOS 17.3 is shaping up to be a relatively minor update focused on general refinements and system improvements leading up to the iOS 18 release later this year.

Bricking Issue Caused by Back Tap Gesture

Soon after its release, reports of iOS 17.3 Beta 2 bricking iPhones began appearing on social media and Apple’s support communities. The issue stems from the Back Tap accessibility feature introduced in iOS 14.

Symptoms of the bricking bug

Those affected find that after updating to iOS 17.3 Beta 2, their iPhone gets stuck in a boot loop during restart. Specifically:

  • Phone screen becomes frozen on white Apple logo with spinning wheel
  • Continuous automatic reboots, preventing phone from fully loading
  • Occurs after restarting the device following the 17.3 Beta 2 update

Based on user reports, this issue seems to be strongly correlated with having the Back Tap feature enabled. Back Tap allows you to double tap or triple tap the back of your iPhone to trigger actions like taking screenshots or opening apps.

Many users experiencing the bricking issue noted they had Back Tap set to invoke the power menu for restarting their iPhone. The connection between Back Tap and the boot looping suggests a bug with how the gesture is handling restarts after being updated to iOS 17.3 Beta 2.

Fix involves factory resetting and restoring older iOS

Unfortunately, the boot loop issue prevents the iPhone from fully loading, rendering it unusable unless fixed through a reset. Users have reported that restoring an earlier version of iOS through recovery mode resolves the problem.

The steps are:

  1. Enter DFU (Device Firmware Update) mode by holding Power + Home buttons while connected to computer
  2. Restore iPhone to previous iOS version through iTunes or Finder
  3. Set up iPhone again, being careful not to update back to iOS 17.3 Beta 2

This forces the phone to install a stable iOS version without the Back Tap bug, allowing normal use again. However, it requires completely wiping the device, meaning data loss unless the user has a recent backup.

Apple has since pulled iOS 17.3 Beta 2 likely due to this serious bricking issue, and a new beta will need to be released before proceeding towards the public iOS 17.3 launch.

When to Expect Next iOS 17.3 Beta and Workaround

With iOS 17.3 Beta 2 withdrawn, Apple will need to address the Back Tap reboot issue before releasing a new build, likely as iOS 17.3 Beta 3. Based on past timelines, the next beta will probably arrive within 1-2 weeks.

In the meantime, users are advised to avoid updating to iOS 17.3 Beta 2 given the risks, and instead remain on the current stable iOS version. If you did already update and are affected by the bricking bug, you will need to factory reset and restore to an earlier iOS as outlined above.

Disabling Back Tap before updating could be a preventative measure, but a fixed beta release will be needed to properly address the issue. Apple is generally quick to respond with fixes when major bugs like this occur in beta, so the problem will likely be resolved in the next beta version.


While iOS 17.3 is not intended as a major iOS release, the bricking issues caused by iOS 17.3 Beta 2 have given it an inauspicious start. However, based on Apple’s typical swift response to serious bugs affecting users, we can expect an updated beta soon that will enable testing to resume.

This reflects the importance of beta testing to catch problems before public release. Once Apple isolates the cause of the reboot looping and Back Tap incompatibility, they should be able to address it in the next beta.

Hopefully the incident highlights the risks inherent in installing early beta software. Going forward, the bug will likely delay the final iOS 17.3 public release by a couple weeks, but should not impede its eventual launch with the fixes and improvements users are waiting for.

Table summarizing the issue

iOS VersionIssueSymptomsFix
iOS 17.3 Beta 2Bricking caused by Back Tap gesture<ul><li>Frozen on Apple logo during restart</li><li>Constant reboot loop</li><li>Unusable phone</li></ul>1. DFU restore to earlier iOS version<br>2. Reset up phone from scratch

This summarizes the key details around the iOS 17.3 Beta 2 bricking threat – the version affected, symptom of boot looping, and necessary fix by factory resetting and downgrading iOS. Hopefully an updated beta can resolve the problem soon.

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