Apple today began releasing iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 to the general public after a lengthy testing period following their initial announcements at WWDC 2023. Apple also began releasing watchOS 10 to the public for all compatible Apple Watch models.
The next major software releases for iPhone and iPad include a number of improvements like a revamped phone calling experience with Contact Posters and Live Voicemail, several improvements to AirDrop, StandBy, interactive widgets, FaceTime and iMessage updates, a new Journal app, mood tracking in Health app, and much more.
Users who wish to download iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 can do so by navigating to Settings -> General -> Software Update on their iPhones and iPads. iOS 17 is compatible with the iPhone XS and later, dropping support for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. iPadOS 17 is compatible with the iPad Pro (2018) and later.
iOS 17 New Features
iOS 17 introduces a revamped Phone app and calling experience. Now, you have the ability to design personalized Contact Posters that people see when you give them a phone call. Contact Posters can be customized with a personal picture or a Memoji, a selection of fonts in different colors, and more. Contact Posters can be used within the default Phone app as well as in third-party applications.
Live Voicemail shows a live text transcription of received voicemail when you can’t pick up an incoming phone call. FaceTime gains the highly-requested ability to leave a voice or video message when you can’t pick up a FaceTime call. It also adds new Live Reactions like balloons, fireworks, confetti, and hearts that are activated with simple in-air hand gestures.
iMessage brings over a number of smaller improvements like Check In to safely alert friends and family when you reach a destination, a new user interface for iMessage apps, powerful search filters, swipe to reply, stickers enhancements, and more.
iOS 17 also introduces StandBy, which offers a new experience for getting bite-sized information from Live Activities, calls, widgets, notifications, and Siri. Apple suggests that StandBy is best used on a nightstand, kitchen, or desk. StandBy can display widgets, Smart Stacks, photos, different clock styles, and bigger notifications.
On the iPhone 14 Pro, StandBy will always be activated when the phone is placed horizontally thanks to its Always-On Display. On iPhone models without an Always-On Display, StandBy will show information when new information is received or when the user touches the screen.
AirDrop gains numerous enhancements with iOS 17. You can now bring two iPhones close together to begin transferring a photo or other content over AirDrop quickly. In a future update, AirDrop transfers will continue in the background over the internet and iCloud when both devices are no longer in range.
NameDrop is a new feature built on AirDrop’s foundation. Coupled with Contact Posters, you can now quickly share select contact details with other iPhone or Apple Watch users by holding both devices close to one another.
Apple is also working on a new Journal app as part of a future iOS 17 update later this fall. With Journal, users can securely and privately jot down and record diary entries of life events throughout their day complete with rich details like photos, music, audio recordings, and more. The Health app introduces new tools to log your mental health with the ability to record and track your mood throughout the day.
iOS 17 is full of quality-of-life improvements, including enhanced keyboard autocorrect, offline maps, multiple timers, pet recognition in Photos, AirTag sharing, a new “Siri” activation word, Safari Private Browsing locking with Face ID, and more.
iPadOS 17 New Features
iPadOS 17 introduces many of the features available on iOS 17 with a few more iPad-specific additions. There is now support for iOS 16-like Lock Screen customizations complete with widgets, which are placed on the left side of the screen when the iPad is placed horizontally. Live Activities on the Lock Screen are also finally supported, allowing iPad users to keep track of ongoing real-time activities like flight status, sports scores, and more.
iPadOS 17 also brings the Health app to the iPad for the first time, allowing users to view their health data on the iPad’s expansive display. The app’s layout has been specifically tailored to make the most of the iPad’s larger screen, featuring a new Favorites view and offering insights into health data through Trends, Highlights, and interactive charts with in-depth details.
Home Screen widgets have now evolved to be interactive, allowing iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 users to perform quick actions with just a single tap on the new widgets, such as playing a song from Apple Music, marking reminders as complete, controlling smart home accessories, and more. Developers can also upgrade their third-party widgets to be interactive with the new WidgetKit API.
iPadOS 17 is also full of smaller enhancements to the iPad experience, like a more flexible Stage Manager, support for built-in cameras on external displays, a new full-width PDF view in Notes with real-time collaboration, and new drawing tools on Freeform.