Saying that iOS 17.3 has endured some problematic beta releases might be a bit of an understatement. However, Apple appears to be moving ahead with the third beta and has released the updates to developers.
According to reports devs have received the option to access the beta for testing purposes, which can be opted into by opening the settings app and selecting the Beta Updates option in the software update section. However, it should be noted that an Apple ID associated with a developer account is required to download and install the beta.
This update comes hot on the heels of the 2nd beta, which reportedly caused phones to enter a boot loop when installed. Apple has apparently not decided to update the 2nd beta with a fix for the problem and has instead moved straight on to the third. However, it is still likely that the problem has been fixed.
iOS 17.3 appears to be primarily focused on security, with the introduction of a new security feature called Stolen Device Protection. This feature is designed to keep users' phones safe and make sure that their phones are secure, even if criminals manage to spot the passcode. When the feature is activated, Stolen Device Protection will make it so that certain features on the phone will require Face ID as well as a passcode.
Previously, if the thief had the passcode then it would be relatively easy to completely wipe the phone and remove any installed security. Stolen Device Protection has aimed to lessen this problem and it certainly has the potential to do that. There will also likely be more patches to build upon the patches introduced in the iOS 17.2 update to counter the recent spate of Spyware attacks on iPhones.
However, iOS 17.3 isn’t all security and it is the update that promises to finally reintroduce collaborative playlists. The feature was originally seen in the first beta for iOS 17.2, but Apple pulled the feature due to potential misuse. The feature returned in the first beta for iOS 17.3, allowing Apple Music users to collectively edit, add, reorder or remove songs to a shared playlist.
The features are designed to make the sharing of music with friends more personal and to allow for more communication than other apps with similar features. For instance, one of the additional features will supposedly be the ability to add emojis on the main viewer window in a similar manner to messenger apps. The features also appear to have reactions as well, which play a small animation when clicked that will play for other people in the list when they play the same song.
Currently, it is expected that the full release of iOS 17.3 will happen around the end of January, although it should be noted that any bugs found could delay that potential release. We will know more about the updated features and how they work when we get a chance to test them ourselves.
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Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.