iOS 17: Here are the key rumors about the new features for your iPhone
Even though Apple is still adding new features to its months-old iOS 16, users are already waiting for its next update. iOS 17 is still unannounced, but there are already some hints on what to expect from the operating system, including some features and which iPhone models should receive the update.
iOS 17 rumored new features
While we wait for WWDC 2023, we can still count on leakers revealing future features in development for iOS 17. As with all rumors, take them with a pinch of salt.
No more free developer beta installs for regular users
Until the iOS 16.4 update, iPhone owners could install operating system beta versions rather easily using the configuration profile files. A few weeks before the iOS 17 unveiling in WWDC 2023, Apple finally closed that loophole, enforcing its official policy of making developer beta OS versions available only for app makers.
Starting with the 16.4 release, developer betas will require the Apple Developer Program (ADP), with an annual fee of 99 dollars. Previously, configuration profiles could only be downloaded by enrolled developers but the files could then be used by anyone. Some sites even specialized in offering beta profiles, such as BetaProfiles.dev.
As a positive side effect, iPhone users running iOS 16.4 will have to follow an easier procedure to install iOS betas:
- Open the Settings app.
- Tap on General.
- Select Software Update.
- Choose Beta Updates.
- Then select one of the beta versions, usually Developer Beta or Public Beta.
Betas will only be made available for applicable Apple IDs, Users with both a developer and regular ID will need to be signed with the account associated with the ADP plan to install developer betas.
Alternative app stores (!)
According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, iOS 17 will bring a change that would make Steve Jobs nuclearly furious. The journalist reported that a future iOS 17 update—e.g. iOS 17.1— will offer the option to sideload apps, just like on rival Android.
That change seems the result of the changes proposed by the European Union (EU), forcing closed systems to allow third-party app stores on their platforms. It is still unclear whether that change—similar to the USB-C standardization—would apply only in the EU countries, or also in the US. But such a change would certainly be announced beforehand, probably during WWDC 2023.
This new feature was actually teased during WWDC 2022 (37min50s in the video below) but apparently depends on more than Apple's will. The Cupertino giant is promising a revolution in in-car infotainment, with the company's car interface able to "take over" all available dashboards.
Probably delayed due to the ongoing component shortages in the past years, the new CarPlay is expected to launch at the end of 2023 on models from a variety of brands, including Audi, Ford, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, and more. Let's just hope Apple's vision of a smooth "all glass" interface won't make roads more dangerous and less tactile...
AR/XR headset support
Whether it is the mythical "iGlass" or the "Reality Pro", Apple is positioned to dip its toes in the METAVERSE in 2023. Baby steps or revolution aside, support for the device should arrive in the mobile operating system for basic integration, similar to what happened to other gadgets like the AirPods, Apple Watch, and AirTags.
The first Apple headset is expected to be announced in the spring (fall/autumn in the southern hemisphere) before a formal system launch during WWDC, again according to Mark Gurman. The developer's event should kickstart app development, ahead of the product shipment close to the iPhone update in the fall (spring in Australia, New Zealand, etc.), which traditionally marks the launch of the new iOS.
Revamped Messages app
According to leaker Majin Bu, the Messages apps will receive a complete facelift in 2023. The iOS 17 app, at least according to the leaker, will feature a new home screen, video clips, chat rooms, and even support for chat features in AR, hinting at the AR glasses launching in 2023.
iOS 17 concept video
As always, fans are eager to create mock-up videos simulating their vision for how iOS 17 should look like. One of those was created by the Concept Central channel on YouTube, with a redesigned home screen, interactive widgets (finally?), a redesigned Control Center, and more features for the Dynamic Island.
As with most concept videos, this one for iOS 17 is probably not representative of the official version, but it is always an interesting guessing exercise. The video starts with a revamped lock screen, showing more details on pending notifications from more apps (and a notification counter).
Then the video turns to a feature Android users are long used to—since the first HTC devices, actually— interactive widgets. Instead of just showing dynamic content (an idea perfected by the late WindowsPhone/Mobile/whatever), widgets would be able to offer fine control over its contents.
Another welcome change would be a redesigned Control Center, with bigger icons, and a less cluttered interface. That suggestion would pair well with the increasing support for smart home controls, boosted by the
HomeKit Matter standard.
What we want to see in iOS 17
Besides all the expected features, there is a whole lot of other stuff the community and even we editors want to see in iOS 17. My colleague Antoine Engels already mentioned a back tap option already found on many Android distributions, along with some of the split-screen features implemented in iPadOS, especially for multi-tasking on big-screen iPhones.
Other nice-to-have features we wish to see in iOS 17:
- Improved battery widget for more connected devices (which can be checked on the Find My app...)
- Better integration for notification interactions over the Apple ecosystem, macOS on Apple Watch, iPhone on macOS, etc.
- Merging (what remains of) the iTunes app with Music.
- Support for Wallet (IDs), Maps (cycling, real-time traffic, ), and other country-specific features in more markets.
XDA Developers compiled a list of other features that would be welcomed in the next iPhone operating system.
iOS 17 release date
iOS launches followed a rather predictable timeline in the past years, with some small changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The update and some of its highlight features are first presented during the annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) held in Apple's Cupertino HQ, usually in June. The announcement is immediately followed by a developer beta version.
During the following months, Apple releases a number of beta updates, culminating in the stable iOS 17 version, traditionally in September, which should launch simultaneously with the also unannounced "iPhone 15" reaching store shelves.
Past iOS release schedules
|Version||WWDC announcement||Public beta||Stable release|
|iOS 16 (2022)||June 6||July 11||September 12|
|iOS 15 (2021)||June 6||June 30||September 20|
|iOS 14 (2020)||June 22||July 9||September 16|
|iOS 13 (2019)||June 3||June 24||September 19|
|iOS 12 (2018)||June 4||June 25||September 17|
iOS 17: Supported iPhone models
With iOS 16 currently supporting 11 different iPhone models (and their respective variants), and dropping support for three generations (using 2 different SoCs, the A9, and A10), Apple didn't give hints so far of dropping support for more phones in iOS 17, but its track record has been fairly inconsistent, sometimes going three generations without removing an iPhone from its supported list.
However, Apple has never dropped support for multiple SoCs in two iOS versions in a row, so it could either keep the current compatibility list starting with the iPhone 8 all the way up to the future iPhone 15, or at worst drop support for the A11 chip, which would mean removing the iPhone 8 and iPhone X. That last scenario would leave the XS/XR duo as the oldest supported iPhones in iOS 17.
- iPhone 14
- iPhone 14 Plus
- iPhone 14 Pro
- iPhone 14 Pro Max
- iPhone 13
- iPhone 13 mini
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2022) (3rd generation)
- iPhone 12
- iPhone 12 mini
- iPhone 12 Pro
- iPhone 12 Pro Max
- iPhone SE (2020) (2nd generation)
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
Anyway, until Tim Cook and the other Apple executives take the stage during WWDC 2023, treat most of the information above as rumors. What are the features you are expecting in iOS 17? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Article updated on February 2023 with additional rumors about iOS 17 features.