Apple releases a major software update for its iPhones on a yearly basis that brings with it a range of new features, many of which are not only compatible with the newest iPhones, but older models too.
While there are incremental software updates throughout the year, some of which bring some key improvements and occasionally additional features, it’s the yearly update that brings the most change and can make an old iPhone feel like a brand new one.
The next major software update is expected to be called iOS 17. This is everything we have heard so far, including when it is expected to be released, what features are expected and which iPhones are likely to be compatible.
iOS 17 release date
- 5 June 2023: iOS 17 expected to be announced at WWDC
- July 2023: Public betas of iOS 17 could appear
- Mid-September 2023: Final version of iOS 17 expected
Apple has announced the dates for its Worldwide Developer Conference, otherwise known as WWDC, for 2023. The conference will take place between 5 and 9 June and it is highly expected we will see a number of the features coming with iOS 17 detailed during the first keynote that will take place on 5 June.
While iOS 17 won’t be officially released until later in the year – Apple normally says the software will be released in the “Fall” during WWDC, but it doesn’t specify a date until much later on. Usually the specific date for release is around the time the new iPhones – due to be the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro models for 2023 – are announced, which is typically the beginning of September.
For the last couple of years, Apple has released developer betas and public betas for its major software releases though, so if it does this for iOS 17, you might be able to download it on your iPhone around July. Be careful though, the betas are often buggy at the beginning so we’d advise you install it on a second phone (if you have one) rather than your main device.
iOS 17 features
- Changes to Control Centre
- Some ‘nice to have’ features
- Health features
So far, most of the rumours surrounding iOS 17 have suggested there won’t be any major visual changes coming with the new software. For iOS 16 for example, there were huge changes to the iPhone’s Lock Screen, which resulted in a completely different look to all iPhones supporting the feature. There were plenty of other features added too, but the Lock Screen change was the most obvious difference for most people.
When it comes to iOS 17 though, it’s claimed the software will bring some changes to Control Centre and offer some “nice to have features”, but there won’t be any dramatic changes. Mark Gurman of Bloomberg – who has an excellent track record when it comes to Apple information – initially claimed iOS 17 would be “focused more on fixing bugs and improving performance than adding new features”.
Gurman then pivoted a couple of months later and said Apple changed its direction with the new software and said there would be some of the “most requested features” introduced, but he didn’t elaborate on what these might be.
There have been other reports detailing some of the features we may see appear on iOS 17 though, or one of the interations of iOS 17, like iOS 17.1, which is normally released shortly after the initial build. These might include iMessage Contact Key Verification – a feature Apple previously previewed that allows users to verify the contacts they are messaging. It’s also said the Wallet app could be getting a revamp, with tabs and search functionality, according to one report, and it’s also expected the next-generation of CarPlay that was announced in 2022 could appear with iOS 17. It’s heavily reported that iOS 17 might also allow users to download apps outside of the App Store, though it’s not clear if this will be for all users or only those that fall within the EU.
A report has also suggested Apple is developing a Journal app, though it might not appear with iOS 17 so that’s perhaps one for the maybe list for now.
Other rumours suggest iOS 17 will bring some navigational changes to the Music app, along with improvements to Mail, Reminders and Files. Finally, there has also been a rumour – from Mark Gurman – claiming the Health app might be overhauled with mood tracking, tracking emotion and short-sightedness.
Which iPhones will be compatible with iOS 17?
- Hopefully iPhone 8 and newer
For iOS 16 which released in 2022 alongside the iPhone 14 models, Apple dropped support for the iPhone 6S and the iPhone 7 models, meaning neither of these models will be compatible with iOS 17. Given the iPhone 6S launched in 2015 though, that was still six years of software support which is longer than most Android devices offer.
It is possible support for the iPhone 8 models and the iPhone X – all of which launched in 2017 – will drop with iOS 17, and some rumours have suggested this will be the case. Others say iOS 17 will support the same iPhones as iOS 16 though, which is plausible given the company dropped two phones last year. If the latter is the case, and we hope it will be, we suspect the following iPhones will be compatible with iOS 17:
- Apple iPhone 8
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- Apple iPhone X
- Apple iPhone XS
- Apple iPhone XS Max
- Apple iPhone XR
- Apple iPhone 11
- Apple iPhone SE (2020)
- Apple iPhone 12 mini
- Apple iPhone 12
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 13 mini
- Apple iPhone 13
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone SE (2022)
- Apple iPhone 14
- Apple iPhone 14 Plus
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Remember though, there is no official confirmation as yet, so don’t get too excited if you have a device closer to the top of the list above as it could very well be on the chopping block. It’s also possible that not all of iOS 17’s features will arrive on older devices as they may not have the processing power to support them.
iOS 17 rumours: What’s happened so far?
This is everything we have heard so far about iOS 17.
3 May 2023: Possible iOS 17 features detailed in report
MacRumours reported around 8 features that are rumoured to come to iOS 17.
25 April 2023: Apple rumoured to revamp Health app, possibly with iOS 17
Mark Gurman of Bloomberg reported Apple is working on an intellience-powered coaching service called Quartz for iPhone and iPad that will allow users to track emotions and “keep users motivatwd to exercise, improve eating habits, and help them sleep better”.
21 April 2023: Apple plans iPhone Journalling app
The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is planning a Journal app with a daily activities log.
6 April 2023: Your iPhone’s Control Centre could get an overhaul with iOS 17
A report claimed Apple might change up the Control Centre with iOS 17.
5 April 2023: Conflicting reports surround iOS 17 and supported iPhones
There have been a couple of different reports surrounding iOS 17 and which iPhones will be supported. Some leakers say Apple will drop support for iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X, while others claim that’s “simply incorrect”.
5 April: iOS 17 rumoured to bring changes to Control Centre
MacRumours reported a forum user – who accurately detailed information about Dynamic Island previously – said Apple is planning changes to the Control Centre for iOS 17, though the user didn’t detail what those changes might be.
29 March 2023: Apple announces WWDC 2023 – unveiling AR/VR headset, iOS 17, more?
Apple announced its annual Worldwide Developers Conference will take place online between 5 June and 9 June.
29 March 2023: Some changes reported for iOS 17, but nothing major
According to LeaksApplePro, Apple isn’t planning any major changes for iOS 17, though there will be some changes to the Music app, Mail app, Reminders and Files.
26 March 2023: Gurman says iOS 17 will have some ‘nice to have features’
Mark Gurman reported in his Power On newsletter that Apple will bring some ‘nice to have features’ with iOS 17 and while he didn’t detail what these might be, he did say they would be some of the “most requested features”.
20 February 2023: Apple’s iOS 17 developer beta will gain measures to prevent unauthorised installs
It’s been reported that Apple may be cracking down on the way iOS betas are handled in an attempt to stop people from installing the developer betas of iOS 17 when they aren’t actually developers. It would mean you’d have to wait for the public beta to be released to get your hands on iOS 17 before it is released in its final form.
8 January 2023: iOS 17 will focus on bug fixes over new features
Mark Gurman published his Power On newsletter and reported that iOS 17 may lack new features as Apple was placing its focus on xrOS instead.
14 December 2022: Apple might allow third-party app stores on the iPhone with iOS 17
According to Bloomberg, iOS 17 could see Apple allowing users to install alternative app stores on their iOS devices. This capability might only come to devices in Europe in order to comply with upcoming EU rules, and the company might only allow the installation of approved apps. It would still be quite a major shift though.
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