Apple has just taken the wraps off iOS 17, the next version of its mobile operating system. Big upgrades include a new Standby mode that turns your iPhone into a smart bedside clock with widgets, an updated Messages app with clever features like transcription for audio messages and Live Voicemail, a handy journaling app that jots down thoughts throughout the day but keeps them private (it’s lockable). AirDrop is also getting some updates to make it easier to share high-res files without having to be in the same room as the person you’re sending to — it’ll send over the internet instead.
In addition to these big changes, there are a number of smaller ones that are worth checking out as well. There’s a new shortcut that lets you instantly launch Siri, as well as the Camera and Maps apps. Credit card balances can now be shown in the Wallet app and there are some improvements to the Maps interface that will help you navigate with ease.
iOS 17 also includes a new feature that makes it easy to edit text after you’ve sent it, perfect for those last-minute alterations. It’ll also show you a list of recently edited messages, so you can pick up where you left off. The Messages app is also getting a few smaller changes, including the ability to see when your food order will arrive or check on your team’s score in the NBA game without unlocking your phone. It’ll also add a ‘Check In’ option that lets you let friends know when you’re back home from work or on the way to dinner.
If you’re concerned about the privacy of your kids using FaceTime, you can use the new Communication Safety feature to blur nude images that might be included in a call. This will protect your kids from seeing things they shouldn’t, and it’ll be available in the Messages app as well as in other apps and services. All the processing happens on your device and no nude photos or videos are ever sent to Apple — it’s up to you to decide what you want to show your children.
If you want to try out the latest iOS update ahead of its public release this fall, you can do so right now with a developer beta. Apple has made a major change to its policies, meaning anyone can download the beta for free with just an Apple ID. We do recommend that you don’t install it on your main device though, as betas are often unstable and have bugs that can impact how your iPhone or iPad works. You can learn more about getting the iOS 17 beta and how to install it here. The final version of the OS is expected to be released this fall, probably around September or October depending on how quickly Apple can iron out any issues that come up in testing. Until then, you can keep up with all the latest iOS news and details by following our dedicated blog.