iOS 17 Beta for iPhone Available Tomorrow With These New Features
Apple is expected to announce iOS 17 during its WWDC 2023 keynote on Monday, June 5. Ahead of time, rumors suggest the software update will include at least 12 new features and changes for iPhones, as outlined below.
The iOS 17 beta should be made available to members of Apple's $99/year Developer Program moments after the keynote, while a public beta will likely be available in July for members of Apple's free Beta Software Program. As usual, the update should be widely released in September, around the time that new iPhones launch.
Some of the features and changes listed below might not be added until later iOS 17 versions, such as iOS 17.1 or iOS 17.2.
New Lock Screen Mode
iOS 17 will include a new iPhone Lock Screen interface that shows information such as calendar appointments, the weather forecast, and notifications in the style of a smart home display, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. He said the new mode will appear when an iPhone is locked and positioned horizontally.
Wallet App Revamp
iOS 17 will include "significant changes" and "improvements" for Apple's built-in Wallet app, according to Gurman, but he did not provide any specific details. A revamp for Wallet could make sense as new features continue to be added to the app, including Apple Pay Later financing and an Apple Card savings account in partnership with Goldman Sachs.
New Accessibility Features
Last month, Apple previewed new iPhone accessibility features coming with iOS 17 later this year. For example, Apple said a new mode called Assisitive Access will provide users with access to simplified Camera, Photos, Music, Calls, and Messages apps that are limited to essential features in order to "lighten their cognitive load for users."
Another feature that has received a lot of attention is Personal Voice, which will allow those at risk of losing their ability to speak to "create a voice that sounds like them" in just 15 minutes for communicating with family, friends, and others.
At WWDC 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, which will feature support for multiple displays, widgets, and integration with vehicle functions like the instrument cluster, climate controls, and FM radio.
Apple said the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience would be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi, Ford, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Porsche, Volvo, and others. Apple said it would share additional details about the next generation of CarPlay later this year, and this timeframe suggests it will be an iOS 17 feature.
Apple is developing a journaling app for the iPhone that could compete with the likes of Day One, according to The Wall Street Journal. Gurman said the app will debut with iOS 17 and is "designed to add note taking and a stronger social element to the device."
"Users could use the app to, say, write a journal entry about their walk to work," wrote Gurman.
Find My Enhancements
iOS 17 will include enhancements to Apple's built-in Find My app, according to Gurman. In addition to integrating with Apple's rumored journaling app, he said Apple is planning "location services enhancements," but he did not provide any further details.
iMessage Contact Key Verification
In December, Apple previewed a new iMessage Contact Key Verification security feature and said it would launch globally in 2023. This timeframe means the feature would be available on iOS 17, and perhaps iOS 16.6 as well.
iMessage Contact Key Verification allows users who face "extraordinary digital threats," such as journalists, human rights activists, and government officials, to further verify that they are messaging only with the people they intend. In conversations between users who have enabled iMessage Contact Key Verification, users are alerted if a state-sponsored attacker or other malicious actor were ever to succeed breaching cloud servers and inserting their own device to eavesdrop on the conversation.
As an additional layer of security, iMessage Contact Key Verification users can compare a Contact Verification Code in person, on FaceTime, or through another secure call to further verify they are communicating only with whom they intend.
Apple is working on upgrades to its SharePlay feature that allows iPhone users to watch content with family and friends over a FaceTime call, according to Gurman. It's unclear exactly what enhancements will be added with iOS 17.
Apple is planning improvements to its wireless streaming protocol AirPlay that could debut with iOS 17, according to Gurman. He said Apple has been in discussions with hotels and other public venues in an attempt to make it easier to AirPlay content to TVs and other devices they do not own while traveling and so forth.
App Sideloading in EU
Apple is planning to allow app sideloading on the iPhone by March 2024 in order to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act, according to Gurman. This would allow users to install apps outside of Apple's App Store, but the change is only expected to be made in European Union countries, at least initially.
His reporting said Apple aimed to have the sideloading functionality ready as part of an "update to iOS 17," such as iOS 17.1 or later.
Mood Tracking in Health App
iOS 17 will include new tools for tracking emotion and managing vision conditions in Apple's built-in Health app on the iPhone, according to Gurman. He also expects the Health app to launch on the iPad this year as part of iPadOS 17.
Unwanted Tracking Alerts Expansion
Apple and Google recently submitted a proposed industry specification to help combat the misuse of Bluetooth item trackers for unwanted tracking of individuals. As part of this initiative, Apple plans to expand AirTag-like unwanted tracking alerts to third-party item trackers in a future version of iOS. Tile, Chipolo, Samsung, Eufy, and Pebblebee have expressed support for the draft specification, according to Apple.
Apple plans to release a "production implementation" of the specification by the end of 2023 that will then be supported in a future version of iOS. Based on this timeframe, unwanted tracking alerts will likely be expanded in a later version of iOS 17.