New Features in the iOS 17 Beta

New Features in the iOS 17 Beta

Apple’s latest version of iOS is now available to test. The company’s free Beta Software Program lets iPhone users try the updated iOS 17 beta, which corresponds to developer beta 3.

iMessage now groups special features like camera access, stickers and your location in one menu, while AirDrop now has a new NameDrop option and allows you to begin sharing by tapping an icon.

What’s new?

In the months since WWDC, Apple has added a few features that didn’t make the initial iOS 17 release. The latest update adds the Journal app, a new way to capture and relive moments, as well as Stolen Device Protection that requires a password or Touch ID to change security settings when the phone is away from home and work.

The update also makes it easier to find photos in iMessage conversations, adds a Stopwatch live activity to Apple Watch, and improves CarPlay by adding a better instrument cluster experience that displays information about upcoming maneuvers. Apple Music is getting Collaborative Playlists and the ability to play back podcast episodes with auto-generated transcripts, and the Siri Shortcuts feature now supports languages other than English for voice queries.

In addition to these big updates, iOS 17.4 includes some small improvements like a faster search, new text tones (Cheers, Droplet, Portal, Slide), and updated animations for the state of mind mood feature in Health. The update also adds new emojis, locks private browsing in Safari behind Face ID or Touch ID, removes tracking from URLs while you browse, and more.

Nightstand Mode

Like the Apple Watch, the iPhone can turn into a bedside clock while charging with a new feature called Nightstand Mode. It activates when the device is horizontal on a charger and offers a view of glanceable information, such as the time, photos, widgets, calendar, or Live View. The display is also swipable and customizable.

The iPhone’s Screen Time settings are getting more options to help you manage your phone usage. You can now set up app limits for each category of apps. Plus, the iPhone’s default lock screen has been updated to show you how much time you’ve spent in each app.

A couple of the big iPhone XR/XS features are also available on older models, including a more colorful emoji keyboard and a cool new feature that lets you pick an image for a contact’s profile photo in FaceTime or messages. Other updates include new text tones, a revamped Phone app with Contact Posters and the ability to customize the font and color used for your name in messages, and an improved version of Magnifier Point and Speak that reads text on physical objects.


Messages is one of the more popular built-in iPhone apps, so it’s not surprising that Apple has given it some pretty significant enhancements in iOS 17. There’s a new look, updated stickers functionality and an important safety feature to help people traveling alone feel safer.

For example, the Messages app will now allow you to swipe on a bubble and reply without tapping and holding. This is a huge timesaver for anyone who frequently uses Messages to communicate with friends and family.

The latest beta also includes a Catch Up arrow in the Messages app that can easily jump to your oldest unread messages in a conversation. And if you receive an audio message, you can choose to have it transcribed so you can read the text version of what was said instead of listening to a recording.

Other improvements include the ability to move and rearrange contact posters in Messages, and threaded conversations that make it easier to follow ongoing discussions. Not included at launch is the Journal app, which will let you create journal entries with places you’ve visited and photos of the day, but that’s expected to roll out later this year.

Apple Pay

Apple announced iOS 17 with a host of new features last month, and it rolled out to the public on September 18. Anyone who’s signed up for the free Beta Software Program can download the update by heading to Settings, tapping General and looking under Software Update.

Apple Pay is getting several improvements, including the ability to track your order in the Wallet app and on a map. In addition, the Wallet app will let you see your receipt from any merchant that supports it.

Another change is to the way you can choose a picture and font for your contact posters. Apple also tweaked the autocorrect feature, adding a transformer-based language model to improve accuracy and grammar.

The final change is to where the End Call button is located in a FaceTime or Phone call. The company moved the button to the lower right corner, which messed with a lot of people’s muscle memory. The button has now been returned to the center of the interface. You can also now share battery data, live location and more from your Messages contacts with NameDrop.

New Features in the iOS 17 Beta

Apple Music

Apple Music gets a revamped experience that’s more organized and better looks. You’ll also be able to customize the color of the Apple Music logo and see song previews when tapping on songs in playlists.

iMessage also has more ways to help you express yourself with new sticker faces and replies, along with a way to document your mood and even share your location with friends and family in Messages. Adding to iOS 17’s collection of features is a Journal app that uses on-device machine learning to intelligently prompt users to write more about memories, people, music and photos and a standby dock mode that turns your iPhone into an ad hoc smart display when you place it horizontally on a wireless charger.

It’s important to note that if you do decide to download the beta, you might encounter software bugs or other issues that will need fixing before iOS 17 officially launches this fall. That’s why it’s a good idea to back up your compatible iPhone before you get started. You can do so by heading to Settings -> General -> Software Update and selecting “Download and Install.” It’ll take a few minutes to complete the process.

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