iOS 17.3 release confirmed for next week — here’s all the new features

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has confirmed that iOS 17.3 will be released next week, according to the small print of a seemingly unrelated press release.  

In a January 17 release about its new Black Unity collection, Apple mentions that: “The new Unity Bloom iPhone and iPad wallpaper for the Lock Screen will also be available next week, and requires iPhone Xs or later running iOS 17.3.” If the new wallpaper needs iOS 17.3 to run, then it stands to reason that the update will launch at the same time.

Unity Bloom is the newest in a line of Black Unity wallpapers from Apple which it launches semi-regularly in iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch versions. This will coincide with the release of a new Black Unity sport band for the Apple Watch that also releases next week.

iOS 17.3 Unity Bloom wallpaper for iPad and iPhone

(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 17.3 features: What's coming?

Outside of the new wallpaper, there are a few new features that come with iOS 17.3. The biggest feature is the inclusion of the new Stolen Device Protection System, which makes it harder for thieves to access information on stolen phones. 

When Stolen Device Protection is active, it is no longer possible to perform certain actions without the owner's biometric data, such as using payment information saved on the device. It also adds a one-hour security delay for certain features, like trying to change the phone’s passcode, add/or remove Face and Touch ID.

Finally, iOS 17.3 will release the Collaborative Playlist option for Apple Music subscribers. This feature was originally expected to come out with iOS 17.2 but was pulled due to concerns about potential misuse. The Collaborative Playlist allows Apple users to create and share communal playlists as well as add reactions to each other's selections.

iOS 17.3 is not a massive or flashy addition to the iPhone, but it does bring a few welcome features. And hopefully none of the bugs that plagued the second beta.

We will likely see much bigger changes to iOS when Apple announces iOS 18 at WWDC 2024, which typically takes place in June. iOS 18 will reportedly include new Apple AI features and a much smarter Siri

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Staff Writer

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.