iOS 17: Everything you need to know

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Apple announced iOS 17, along with iPad OS 17, at WWDC in June of 2023. After a pretty lengthy beta period, Apple has now released iOS 17 and iPad OS 17 to everyone worldwide, on September 18, 2023. It started out looking like a pretty small update, and probably more of a bug-fixing update for iOS, but it actually brings in a number of pretty awesome features for the iPhone and iPad.

In this article, we will go over 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 announce new versions of all 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 new version of iOS becomes available for everyone.

When can I download the iOS 17 beta?

There’s two answers to this question actually. If you’re a registered developer, you are able to download it now. However, those that 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 will there be?

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 polish, 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.


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 in 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 a memoji. 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 gets 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 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?, 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, for Facetime, it’s also getting a react 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 now. 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 photos 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 opened 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 less taps and swipes away.

Just some of the very many features in iOS 17

These are just some of the very 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.