Apple’s iOS 17 is one of the most highly anticipated iOS updates in years. As the successor to iOS 16, iOS 17 is expected to bring new features, improvements, and changes to the iPhone experience. In this article, we’ll take a close look at everything we know so far about iOS 17, including its release date, new features, compatibility, and more.
Overview of iOS 17
iOS 17 was first unveiled by Apple at their annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5, 2023. This newest version of iOS for iPhone will succeed iOS 16, which was released in September 2022.
iOS 17 is still in early development but is expected to launch widely in Fall 2023. The initial developer beta has already been made available for testing. A public beta version of iOS 17 will likely be released in July 2023. This will allow regular iPhone users to test the software before it is officially rolled out.
Historically, major updates to iOS are released each September. Based on past release timelines, iOS 17 will likely be available starting on Monday, September 11 or September 18, 2023.
iOS 17 will be compatible with many of the same iPhone models which support iOS 16. This includes the iPhone 8 and newer devices. Some older models may lose support with iOS 17, which is typical as Apple phases out software updates for hardware that is more than 5-6 years old.
New Features in iOS 17
While full details of what’s new in iOS 17 are still under wraps, some rumored features have already generated excitement. Here are some of the enhancements we may see when iOS 17 finally becomes available:
- Improved multitasking for iPadOS: For iPad users, iOS 17 may bring improved multitasking capabilities. There are rumors of new windowing controls and the ability to run multiple instances of the same app side-by-side. This would push the iPad closer to a true laptop replacement.
- Interaction improvements: iOS 16 brought the addition of haptic feedback to the keyboard. Improvements to interactions and haptics are likely to continue in iOS 17, with speculation around new feedback for volume and power buttons.
- Always-On Display: The Always-On Display feature allows glanceable info like the time and notifications to be displayed while the screen is asleep. While this is already available on iPhone 14 Pro models, iOS 17 may bring it to more iPhone models.
- Refreshed Home Screen: The iOS Home Screen has remained relatively static for years in terms of layout and capabilities. iOS 17 could finally bring long-awaited enhancements like support for widgets on the Lock Screen.
- Enhanced AI capabilities: On-device intelligence will continue improving with iOS 17. Look for upgrades to apps like Translate, improvements in Siri’s natural language processing, and new smart suggestions across the system.
- Messages improvements: Features like message editing and unsending are already on their way in iOS 16. But iOS 17 may allow users to mark conversations as unread, recover recently deleted messages, and make other changes.
- Health app upgrades: The Health app is a core part of the iOS experience. iOS 17 could add new data types, summary views, health recommendation notifications, medication tracking, and more.
- AR/VR support: As Apple pushes forward with AR and VR initiatives, iOS 17 may lay the groundwork for upcoming hardware. Improvements in location accuracy, motion tracking, and device connectivity could signal Apple’s VR/AR plans.
This is still just a subset of the changes users can expect with iOS 17. Apple will reveal the full suite of new features as we get closer to iOS 17’s official release in the fall.
Based on past iOS release history, these iPhone models will likely be compatible with iOS 17:
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 Mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 Mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone SE (2nd generation or later)
The iPad will also receive software updates with iPadOS 17. Compatible iPad models will include:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (all generations)
- 11-inch iPad Pro (all generations)
- iPad Air (3rd generation or later)
- iPad (6th generation or later)
- iPad Mini (5th generation or later)
Apple Watch users can anticipate watchOS 10 to correspond with iOS 17. Compatible models will likely include:
- Apple Watch Series 8
- Apple Watch Series 7
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 3
Apple may drop support for older iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models with iOS 17 and its companion operating systems. Devices not listed above have reached the end of their guaranteed iOS support lifespan as dictated by Apple policy.
Installing iOS 17
Once iOS 17 becomes available in Fall 2023, compatible device users will be able to update using the following steps:
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap General > Software Update.
- iOS will automatically check for available updates.
- Tap Download and Install when the iOS 17 update appears.
- Agree to Apple’s terms and conditions.
- Tap Agree again to confirm.
- Connect your iPhone or iPad to power and WiFi to enable the download.
- After downloading, tap Install to complete the process.
- Follow any additional prompts until your device reboots.
- After your device restarts, iOS 17 will be installed.
The iOS 17 update will download and install automatically for most users. It’s still a good idea to backup your device before updating though.
Users who want to update manually can do so by connecting the device to a computer and using Finder (macOS) or iTunes (Windows).
Public beta testers of iOS 17 can update over-the-air once the beta is made available in July 2023.
New Features and Changes in iOS 17
Multitasking for iPadOS
One of the most anticipated changes coming in iOS 17 is improvements to multitasking on the iPad. The multitasking experience on iPadOS has remained fairly static since the early days of the iPad Pro. iOS 17 aims to change that.
Early reports indicate iOS 17 will allow users to run multiple instances of the same app. This means you could have two Safari windows open side-by-side. iPadOS 17 may also add improved gestures or controls for splitting the screen and switching between apps.
For heavy multitaskers, these iPadOS 17 upgrades will help boost productivity on the iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad. The iPad inches ever closer to being a true laptop replacement with enhancements like this.
Interaction and Haptics Upgrades
iOS 16 introduced haptic feedback for keyboard inputs on compatible iPhones. iOS 17 is ready to build on that with additional tactile feedback for interactions throughout the system.
Rumors suggest volume and power buttons may get new haptic sensations. iOS 17 code also points to new methods of providing haptic feedback.
With these improvements, user interactions on the iPhone will provide definitive tactile indications. As Apple continues embracing haptics in areas like the trackpad, expect to see iOS interactions get more advanced.
Always-On Display debuted with the iPhone 14 Pro, allowing glanceable info while the screen is in standby. iOS 17 may bring this feature to more models.
On the iPhone 14 Pro, the Always-On Display intelligently dims the screen and refreshes at low rates to conserve battery life. Only essential data like the time or notifications are shown.
Expanding this to additional iPhone models would let users access key info without fully waking their device. It can add convenience while also reducing unnecessary screen time.
For iPhone models like the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12, the Always-On Display could sway owners unsure about upgrading. It demonstrates that older iPhones can still gain new iOS capabilities.
Enhanced Home Screen
Aside from minor organization options, the iOS Home Screen remains virtually identical to the first iPhone era. iOS 17 finally looks ready to deliver some upgrades.
The two big expected changes are support for widgets on the Lock Screen and allow users to replace empty Home Screen pages with something useful.
Lock Screen widgets would provide quick access to data like calendar events, weather, and more without unlocking your device. Removing blank Home Screen pages reduces wasted space.
Between these two changes and the App Library addition in iOS 14, Apple is methodically revamping iPhone navigation and information access. Widgets, in particular, add personalization and character to your Home Screen.
Apple consistently works on behind-the-scenes machine learning and artificial intelligence. Each year, new capabilities emerge for system apps like Translate, Siri dictation, and more.
iOS 17 should continue this trend with upgrades like:
- More natural and context-aware Siri interactions
- Faster, more accurate voice dictation and typing suggestions
- Object and text identification in Photos and Camera
- Improved recommendations in Maps, Music, and other apps
- New Siri accent options and multi-user support on shared devices
- Faster, more accurate translations in Messages and Translate
Incremental enhancements like these may go unnoticed but collectively give your iPhone a “smarter” feel over time. Apple is still playing catch-up to leaders in AI like Google but steadily closing the gap with each iOS release.
After taking a big leap forward in iOS 16, the Messages app looks ripe for more enhancements in iOS 17.
Two particular improvements we expect are:
- Message editing – iOS 16 added message unsending. iOS 17 will likely allow editing sent messages as well.
- Message unread – Marking conversations as unread for later follow up is a popular request. iOS 17 could finally deliver this capability.
Other plausible additions include recovering recently deleted messages, pinned conversations, typing indicators, and expanded reporting.
Messaging is central to the iOS experience. Smoothing out common pain points makes Apple’s default app more competitive as rival platforms add features.
Health App Upgrades
Health and fitness are perennial areas of focus with each new iOS release. iOS 17 seems poised to expand the Health app’s capabilities.
Specific rumors point to:
- More health data types like respiratory rate, blood glucose, and sleep stages
- Medication tracking and reminders
- Health recommendation notifications similar to Activity alerts
- New summary and overview screens
- Ability to share health data with doctors
These and other improvements aim to make the Health app a more comprehensive health hub. Apple is promoting the Apple Watch’s health monitoring features, and iOS enhancements like these give users more ways to engage with their data.
While Apple has already confirmed work on a mixed reality headset, iOS 17 could lay the groundwork for its future launch.
Developer logs contain references to “RealityOS” which is expected to be the name of Apple’s AR/VR operating system. iOS 17 will likely add integration points between it and RealityOS.
Things like handoff between devices, shared experiences, continuity features, and movement tracking are probable inclusions. Apple may even announce its long-rumored headset alongside iOS 17.
Any AR/VR support in iOS 17 provides clues into how Apple envisions its next major platform. The iPhone and iPad will serve as convenient compliments once Apple’smixed reality efforts get underway.
iOS 17 – Summary of Changes
Here is a quick rundown of the major changes coming in iOS 17 based on credible rumors and Apple’s development roadmap:
- Multitasking improvements for iPadOS
- New haptic feedback methods
- Always-On Display for more iPhone models
- Home Screen enhancements like widgets and removing empty pages
- Updates to built-in apps like Health, Translate, and Messages
- Expanded artificial intelligence capabilities
- Integration with AR/VR hardware and RealityOS
- The usual performance optimizations and bug fixes
iOS 17 shapes up to be an ambitious release addressing user requests like better multitasking on iPad and Always-On Display for iPhone. And under-the-hood improvements in areas like AI lay groundwork for Apple’s future initiatives.
iOS 17 – FAQs
Q: When will iOS 17 be released?
A: iOS 17 will likely be released in September 2023. The official release date announcement is expected in late August or early September.
Q: Will my iPhone be able to run iOS 17?
A: iOS 17 should support iPhone models as old as the iPhone 8. Some older models may lose compatibility though.
Q: What are the new features in iOS 17?
A: Major additions expected are improved iPad multitasking, Always-On Display, Home Screen widgets, Messages upgrades, and more intelligent AI.
Q: How can I get the iOS 17 beta?
A: The developer beta is already available, with a public beta coming in July 2023. Both require signing up through Apple and enrolling your devices.
Q: Should I install the iOS 17 public beta?
A: The public beta lets you preview new features, but could be buggy. It’s best to wait for the public release unless you regularly test betas.
Q: Will iOS 17 have a new design?
A: No major visual changes are expected. Improvements will focus more on new features and functionality over design.
Q: What iPhone models won’t be able to update to iOS 17?
A: Devices older than the iPhone 8, such as the iPhone 5S or iPhone 6, will likely be excluded from the iOS 17 update.
Q: Can I still install iOS 17 if I don’t have enough storage?
A: No, you’ll need sufficient storage space for the iOS 17 download and installation process to complete. Clear storage or upgrade space if needed.
Q: Will iOS 17 slow down my older iPhone?
A: Some sluggishness can occur after major updates, but Apple aims to maintain good performance on older iPhones. New devices will see the biggest speed gains.
That covers everything we know so far about iOS 17 that’s coming later in 2023. It promises to be one of the biggest iOS releases in years with upgrades for both iPhone and iPad users.
Improved multitasking on iPad brings it closer to being a true laptop replacement for many people. Always-On Display and Home Screen widgets also address long-standing iPhone user requests. And under-the-hood upgrades continue to make iOS devices smarter and more capable.
For the latest details on iOS 17 features, compatibility, release date, and more, be sure to follow Apple news as we get closer to the anticipated launch this fall. The company is working hard to ensure iOS remains the premier mobile platform with ambitious updates like iOS 17. Exciting times lie ahead for iPhone, iPad, and Apple users!