Apple has released the release candidate versions of iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1 for developers and public beta testers. These updates come after the third beta released on October 10, which followed the second beta on October 3. The release candidate build number is 21B74, replacing the previous third beta build 21B5066a.
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iOS and iPadOS 17.1 are expected to be relatively minor updates, mainly focusing on bug fixes and small feature additions. However, some key new capabilities are anticipated, particularly around improving iPhone 12 performance and safety.
Apple has not provided full release notes detailing all the changes in iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1. However, examining the various beta versions gives insight into some of the updates users can expect.
Addressing iPhone 12 Concerns
One of the main purposes of iOS 17.1 is likely addressing radio frequency exposure issues on the iPhone 12 line. Some users and regulators have expressed concerns about the iPhone 12 models emitting higher levels of RF radiation than legally allowed. Apple previously said a software update would resolve these problems by more tightly controlling 5G power levels.
iOS 17.1 includes updated software and settings to mitigate iPhone 12 RF issues. The third beta specifically mentioned “optimizations to reduce occurrences of unexpected AirDrop disconnects between iOS and iPadOS devices.” This implies tuning AirDrop to use less wireless power, thereby reducing radiation exposure.
New Music App Features
The first iOS 17.1 beta introduced two new features to the Music app: a playlist of your favorite songs and a section recommending tracks based on listening history and likes.
The favorites playlist creates a collection of your most played songs from the Music library. It automatically updates as your listening habits change. This provides quick access to your current favorite tunes.
The new recommendations section uses on-device intelligence to suggest tracks you may enjoy. It considers factors like genres, artists, and songs you frequently listen to. Recommendations refresh daily, providing a simple way to find new music you like.
AirDrop Over the Internet
iOS 17.1 adds the ability to use AirDrop between devices far apart, transferring files over the internet instead of Bluetooth LE. This new feature lets you AirDrop photos, documents, and other content to devices across the world.
AirDrop previously only worked between Apple devices in close proximity, relying on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. But with iOS 17.1, you can share files using AirDrop with friends or family in other cities or countries.
This should make it much more convenient to exchange files between distant iPhones and iPads. However, the impact on data usage and internet speeds remains to be seen.
Standby Mode Display Options
To reduce power consumption, iOS 17 already offered a Standby Mode that turns off the display and backgrounds apps when the iPhone or iPad is idle. iOS 17.1 adds new customization options for Standby Mode.
In Settings > Display & Brightness, you can now choose whether Standby Mode shows just the time and widget or a full-screen version with notifications too. This allows customizing Standby Mode to show the information most important to you.
There are also new settings for keeping the display on when using certain accessories or charging devices. For example, you can make the screen stay on when an iPhone is charging an AirPods case to show charging progress.
iOS 17.1 contains updates for several system widgets, such as:
- A new Sleep widget to show sleep metrics and trends from the Health app
- Additional settings for customizing Music and TV widgets
- A Contacts widget that shows favorite contacts with one-tap calling, messaging, and email shortcuts
These widget changes provide more flexibility in customizing your Home Screen and accessing useful information and actions. The new Sleep widget offers an easy way to check sleep data each morning without opening the Health app.
Bug Fixes and Stability Improvements
While Apple has not provided detailed release notes, iOS and iPadOS 17.1 likely contain a wide variety of bug fixes and stability improvements. The third beta specifically mentioned fixing an issue that caused some users not to receive push notifications from apps.
In the developer betas, users have reported smoother performance, less lag, and fewer app crashes and bugs. These incremental enhancements are common in x.1 iOS updates.
Apple has not announced an official release date for iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1 yet. However, since the public release candidate is now available, the updates could come within the next couple weeks, likely in late October 2022.
Historically, Apple usually releases x.1 updates about a month after the major x.0 iOS release, once the first round of bugs and issues have been identified. iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 were released on September 12, 2022.
While relatively minor, iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1 bring helpful new capabilities like AirDrop over the internet, Music app additions, and iPhone 12 performance improvements. The updates demonstrate Apple’s commitment to quickly updating iOS with new features and fixing problems.
Looking further ahead, iOS 18 in 2023 is expected to be a more significant update, likely introducing fresh design changes, major new stock apps, and iPad multitasking improvements. But in the meantime, iOS 17.1 provides some handy new tools for iPhone and iPad users.
Table: Notable New Features in iOS 17.1
|iPhone 12 RF optimizations||Improves 5G power management to address RF exposure concerns|
|Music favorites playlist||Automatically generates a playlist of your most played songs|
|Music recommendations||Suggests tracks to listen to based on your library and tastes|
|AirDrop over the internet||Allows AirDropping files between distant devices over internet|
|Standby Mode display options||Lets you customize what info Standby Mode shows on the Lock Screen|
|New and updated widgets||Sleep, Music, TV, and Contacts widgets add more customization|
|Bug fixes and improvements||Fixes issues with notifications, performance, lag, and app stability|
iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1 bring meaningful enhancements and fixes to Apple’s mobile operating systems. Key highlights include addressing iPhone 12 RF concerns, new Music app features, internet-based AirDrop, Standby Mode changes, widget updates, and typical bug and stability improvements.
While not major releases, iOS 17.1 and iPadOS 17.1 demonstrate Apple’s software engineering prowess. The company consistently rolls out incremental improvements while readying more game-changing updates like iOS 18 for the future. For now, iOS 17.1 provides some helpful new tools and customization options for enhancing your iPhone and iPad experience.