iOS 17 beta 2 is out — here are the new features for your iPhone

iOS 17 logo on iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

The public launch of iOS 17 may not be happening for a while yet, but a brand new version of the developer beta has just landed. The iOS 17 beta 2 comes with a bunch of different changes, even if there isn’t anything majorly exciting involved. But an update is an update, and odds are you’re eager to know what’s changed.

It’s worth mentioning that this is the developer version of the iOS 17 beta, and isn’t specifically designed for public use. That said, when the first version of the iOS 17 developer beta came out during WWDC earlier this month, anyone with an Apple ID was able to download it, though since it's early beta software, things won't be as polished as they will be when the full version comes out this fall. (Or even as the public beta will be when it arrives in July.

That said, here are changes you can expect to come as part of iOS 17 beta 2 based on reports from people who've seen the new version.

iOS 17 beta 3 is now available, and brings more changes along with it.

iOS 17 beta 2 — new features and changes

 A new update screen 

Technically this is a feature from iOS 17 beta 1, but it’s only been noticed thanks to the release of beta 2. The update screen now shows more information about the beta software, including a link detailing how to join the developer program and a warning about backing up before installing.

AirDrop updates are here

One of the main features that’s come to IOS 17 beta 2 is the AirDrop update Apple announced during the WWDC keynote. That means iOS 17 beta 2 allows users to initiate an AirDrop exchange by tapping their phones together — much like the pre-AirDrop Bluetooth transfer apps that were around in the early days of the iPhone.

Tied to this update is a new tips feature, which is designed to reveal additional functionality users may not be aware of. Such as iOS 17 suggesting you hold your phones nearby when trying to initiate an AirDrop transfer. The Messages app will suggest talking with Siri instead of typing, for example. You get the idea. 

Check-in gets some wording changes

Check-in is one of the most important new features in iOS 17, and iOS 17 beta 2 has made some changes to the location-related wording. The whole feature is based on sharing your location with a trusted friend or relative, and now the terms used have changed to “Full” and “Limited” rather than “Current location only” and “all locations visited”.

Limited is described as showing your current position, with details about battery and cell signal. Full includes all of that plus the route you took, where your iPhone was last unlocked and (where relevant) where your Apple Watch was last removed.

A Microlocation setting

The System Services section of the Location Services menu has a new “Microlocation” toggle, but no explanation on what this might be. If we were to guess this is a new feature that pinpoints your location with far more accuracy than before — though how much more accurately is a complete unknown.

It's turned on by default, but you can switch it off if you ever feel the need.

Apple Music improves crossfade

Crossfade in Apple Music was finally added to iPhone in iOS 17 beta 1, following a bizarre stint as an Android-exclusive feature. iOS 17 beta 2 improves that system slightly, with a new slider in the Apple Music Settings menu that lets you control the length or fade between songs. The default is set to 4 seconds, but you can choose from 1 to 12 seconds.

Apple Music widgets are also available in a bunch of different sizes after installing the update — for that improved home screen personalization.

Standby notifications can be switched off

A new setting for Standby mode lets you turn off notifications when Standby is active. However critical notifications will apparently still be delivered, regardless of this setting’s status.

Other changes in iOS 17 beta 2

The Apple Fitness app has its own dedicated settings menu as part of iOS 17 beta 1, including the option to manage your data. On top of this CarPlay has a bunch of new wallpapers that are available to download and use on your car’s display — in case you wanted a change.

That’s on top of a bunch of bug fixes and smaller updates you are unlikely to notice in your day to day iPhone use. If you’re so interested you can read all about those problems, and which ones have been fixed, in Apple’s iOS 17 beta 2 release notes

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.