Apple will release iOS 17 later this year, but we'll hear all about it at the company's annual WWDC 2023 conference this summer. For now, we have rumors to go off of from reliable sources.
One early report says that Apple is not focusing on too many new features this year. After the bombshell that was iOS 16, we can't say we're too surprised. That said, we do have some things we'd like to see in this year's update.
Here's what we know about iOS 17 so far.
iOS 17 news (Updated Jan. 9)
- Apple might prioritize its new VR/AR headset and its accompanying OS rather than new features for iOS 17.
- Apple might open up iOS to allow third-party app stores, at least in Europe.
iOS 17: Possible release date
For reference, iOS 16 released on September 16, 2022 while iOS 15 came out on September 12, 2021. So we feel pretty safe in assuming iOS 17 will release in mid-September 2023. The launch should be very close to that of the new iPhone 15 lineup.
This will likely come after a slew of developer and public betas, wherein you'll be able to test out the new software before it hits the general public. You can probably expect to see the first developer beta drop near WWDC this summer.
iOS 17: Likely supported devices
We obviously don't know yet what devices Apple will support for iOS 17, but we can take a guess. The company dropped the iPhone 7 from the list of iPhones that could install iOS 16.
Here are the devices we expect to get iOS 17.
- iPhone 15
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 11
- iPhone Xs
- iPhone XR
- iPhone X
- iPhone SE (2020)
- iPhone SE (2022)
iOS 17: Potential features
We're too far out to start listing features for iOS 17, but Bloomberg's Mark Gurman claims that Apple has de-prioritized iOS 17 features in lieu of its new VR/AR headset and its accompanying OS.
That means iOS 17 may not meet Apple's original vision as some of the software teams work on the so called xrOS. That's a bummer for anyone who just wants the latest features for their iPhones.
We've also heard that iOS 17 might finally get third-party app stores, at least in Europe, to comply with a new EU law. This could potentially open up the iPhone to sideloading apps, a long-standing feature that Apple has turned its nose up at.
Apple will reveal everything we want to know — at least most of it — at WWDC this summer. Until then, we'll have to rely on leaks to get by.
iOS 17: What we want to see
We loved iOS 16, as you can read in our iOS 16 review. Apple knocked it out of the park with the lockscreen overhaul, Live Activities for the iPhone 14 Pro, and general quality of life improvements across the board.
However, there is a lot left to work on. Here's what we want to see in iOS 17.
Apple has long held off on implementing native call recording into the iPhone's phone app. You can do it with third-party software, but we'd prefer a first-party solution. It can be useful to record calls for later review or for reference. A live transcription feature would be great to better compete with Google's Record app for Pixel phones.
Let's not beat around the bush: The iOS keyboard is terrible. It's sluggish and often inaccurate, sometimes refusing to learn/suggest contractions. The auto-suggest can sometimes pull random words from nowhere, while doing so noticeably slower than any of the best Android phones.
You can install a third-party keyboard like Google's Gboard, which offers a superior experience hands down. However, iOS still treats alternative system apps like second-class citizens. We've noticed that, while using Gboard, iOS will sometimes switch back to the native option. Android just does keyboards better and we want to see iOS catch up.
More lockscreen widgets
iOS 16 added lockscreen customization, an extremely welcome feature. But we'd like the ability to add more widgets, as the current setup still has space to spare. It's a nitpick, but it would go a long way into making the iOS 17 lockscreen that much better.
While it would be marginally useful on an iPhone, especially the 6.1-inch models, having the option for split screen multitasking would be a welcome addition to enhancing productivity on the iPhone. This feature would let you split apps in two, letting you use two simultaneously. The use cases for this are practically infinite.
We'd be remiss if we didn't mention Apple's continued lag behind Android when it comes to notifications. Simply put, iOS' handling of notifications items, while improved in iOS 16, is atrocious. If you perform triage as many of us do, iOS hampers you the whole way. On Android, acting on notifications is a breeze.
We want Apple to finally overhaul notifications in iOS 17, a feature we've been asking for for years now. We want better management, better actionable items, easier methods to clear all items, notifications to remain on the lockscreen when you lock your phone, and much more.
Android offers much more granular control over how apps can notify you. Apple just has a black-and-white situation where notifications for an app are either on or off. This is a relic of the past and needs to be addressed.