Apple recently released the fifth beta version of iOS 17.2, the upcoming major update to the iOS operating system. iOS 17.2 beta 5 includes several notable new features and changes that give a glimpse of what we can expect when the final version rolls out. In this article, we’ll highlight the most important additions found in the latest iOS 17.2 beta release.
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iOS 17.2 promises to bring some substantial improvements and new capabilities when it becomes publicly available, likely within the next few weeks. The beta testing period allows Apple to test these new features, tweak the performance, squash bugs and generally polish the user experience before the full rollout.
As one would expect from a point release rather than a whole new version, iOS 17.2 refines and builds on the existing feature set rather than reinventing the wheel. Still, based on the betas issued so far, users can expect some compelling upgrades that make an already smooth operating system even more capable and intuitive when used on compatible devices like the latest iPhone models.
Let’s delve into some of the most noteworthy changes that beta testers have uncovered in iOS 17.2 beta 5 and how they could benefit users once the final version drops.
One of the most interesting new iOS additions coming in version 17.2 is the new first-party Journal app. As the name suggests, Journal enables users to make private diary entries securely stored locally on-device. It goes beyond a simple notes app by offering additional prompts and reminders to encourage sticking to the journaling habit.
The new Journal interface includes a timeline view for browsing and navigating previously created entries. There’s also a ones-tap Quick Note button for jotting down thoughts quickly. Each entry can include text, images, tags to categorize journal posts, weather/location data and more automatically recorded when creating the entry.
For those who have never consistently journaled before, the app provides optional prompts to stimulate writing inspiration on topics like gratitude, memories, emotional states and self-reflection. It remains to be seen how extensive these prompts will be in the iOS 17 release, but they should add guidance for inexperienced journalers.
Spatial Audio and Video Recording
Another iOS 17.2 feature that beta testers have spotted is support for recording Spatial Audio videos using compatible iPhone models. However, this seems to require Apple’s upcoming Reality Pro head-mounted AR/VR headset expected to launch next year.
iPhone videos captured with Spatial Audio encode surround sound data into the file, reproducing a cinema-quality, 3D audio environment when played back on capable devices. The Reality Pro headset will take special advantage of this for incredibly immersive video watching.
Only iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro owners will have access to Spatial Audio video recording, thanks to the built-in LiDAR scanner on those devices. Capturing Spatial Audio also requires iOS 17.2, so make sure to update when this lands.
Collaborative Apple Music Playlists
Early iOS 17.2 betas briefly included a “Share Playlist” option for Apple Music subscribers to let friends and family collaboratively work on music playlists together. However, Apple removed this feature in the fourth beta release without explanation.
There were hopes that collaborative playlists could return in iOS 17.2 beta 5, but that does not seem to be the case yet. We’ll have to wait for the public release to know for sure whether this coveted ability to jointly edit Apple Music playlists with other users remains on Apple’s iOS 17 roadmap.
Messages Reactions Get Stickers
Already available in apps like WhatsApp, iMessage in iOS finally lets users react to texts with stickers via the latest 17.2 beta. This playful alternative to plain text reactions like thumbs up/down or heart emojis helps express reactions in a more visual, vibrant way.
To access the new sticker-based reactions, long-press a message bubble like before. Only now you’ll see a mini sticker picker alongside the usual text reactions. Tap a sticker to send it instantly as a reaction without needing to type anything.
The selection of stickers seems fairly limited for now, but that will likely expand by the time iOS 17.2 hits general release. For frequent iMessage users, it brings some welcome extra visual punch to conversations.
Siri Health Data Readouts
iOS 17 introduced the option to have Siri read out and log Health data like sleep, steps, weight changes and workouts via voice requests rather than manually recording it. But this required unlocking the device to maintain privacy and security first.
The latest iOS 17.2 beta now permits Siri health data queries without authentication, enabling requests like “Hey Siri, log that I slept for 8 hours last night” hands-free. It records to the Health app automatically following the voice command.
Accessing health data via Siri rather than manually remains opt-in and can be disabled for those concerned about privacy. Nonetheless, it will make health tracking and aggregating smart device data into Health a lot more convenient once iOS 17.2 goes public.
AirDrop Gets a Boost
Receiving multiple AirDrop transfers could often be a slow and laggy experience in previous iOS versions when accepting many files at once. That changes with iOS 17.2 beta 5.
Specifically, the latest beta significantly cuts down on previous stability issues and interface lag when rapidly receiving multiple AirDrop content from nearby senders. Many testers have observed faster, smoother AirDrop performance even with multiple incoming transfers.
This fix should eliminate previous bottlenecks, allowing quicker AirDrop transfers between neighbors without the transfers interrupting each other. As public venues and offices reopen post-pandemic, managing high AirDrop volume will become increasingly pertinent on congested networks, so this upgrade is timely.
While mostly iterative rather than groundbreaking, iOS 17.2 delivers some appealing new capabilities based on the latest beta version tested by early adopters. The new Journal app finally brings first-class, securely encrypted diary software to iPhone for the first time. Spatial audio recording sets the stage for next-level immersive video watching once the Reality Pro headset launches.
Smaller but welcome enhancements like Messages sticker reactions, hands-free Siri health logging and faster AirDrop build on what already worked well. For those who subscribe to Apple services like iCloud, Music or Fitness+, iOS 17.2 marks an encouraging step toward tighter integration and utilization of these offerings within the iPhone software experience.
The public release date remains unconfirmed as Apple squashes remaining bugs. But users can likely expect the final iOS 17.2 rollout within a few short weeks. As a free update for existing users, it will bring helpful enhancements and new possibilities once installed. For the fullest feature set, only iPhone models from the past 2-3 years support all capabilities covered here, so consider upgrading from older devices if you wish to tap the complete potential of iOS 17.