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What is known so far about the next major OS update for iPhones

Apple will present iOS 17 during the WWDC 2023 keynote. The next iOS update will reportedly have a number of interesting new features on board, some of which are said to be “features you want”.

It will likely be a moderate update, while the WWDC highlight will likely be the unveiling of Apple’s first mixed reality headset. The upcoming software update was originally planned as a bug fix.

The group is said to be opening its system on the European market for sideloading, i.e. installing apps outside of the app store and from alternative app stores. But first things first.

iOS 17 with numerous “nice-to-have” features

While details about Apple’s hardware products, such as the iPhone 15, sometimes leak out months or even years in advance, the group can better keep software innovations under lock and key. The reason for this is that Apple’s hardware involves a huge network of suppliers, while the software is developed in-house. Only a comparatively small number of people within Apple are aware of the software plans. Nevertheless, various details leak through again and again.

As far as iOS 17 is concerned, Apple will apparently only deliver a few completely new functions, instead existing functions should be drilled out in a meaningful way.

iOS 17 with new control center and lock screen as smart display

One of the bigger new iOS 17 features is said to be an overhauled control center. Apple hasn’t seriously touched on this feature since iOS 11, so an update is long overdue.

Largely unchanged since iOS 11: the control center. (Photo: t3n)

Currently, the control center can be reached by swiping down from the upper right side of the display. It had quick access to various settings for WLAN, Bluetooth, flight mode and media controls. You can also integrate some tiles for other functions. It is not clear how the control center will be revised.

In addition, the lock screen introduced with iOS 16 will probably be expanded. According to Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, iPhones can be used as a smart display in the future if they are positioned in a horizontal orientation and are placed on a Magsafe charging dock, for example. The display can then show information about calendar entries, weather data, notifications and more.

Apple is also planning a similar feature for iPads, but it is possible that this could only appear with iPadOS 18. In the past, Apple only missed new functions for iPhones, which were subsequently delivered for the iPad a year later.

iOS 17 lock screen mockup

iOS 17: The lock screen in iOS 17 should come up with a larger map view. (Image: Analyst941)

Speaking of the iPhone lock screen: The leaker Analyst941 (via 9to5 Mac), whose Twitter account has since been deactivated and appears to have been identified by Apple, says the lock screen will get a new Apple map view. Apparently Apple maps can be minimized to the size of the music player on the lock screen and can be maximized again by tapping the activity.

iOS 17 should also bring further changes to the iPhone lock screen, which should allow the font size to be adjusted, for example. There is also talk of new emoji wallpapers and other features. In addition, it will apparently be possible to share the default settings for the lock screen with others.

iOS 17 with updates for Health and Wallet apps

According to Analyst941, the Health app will get a new Favorites screen that will feature a series of tiles with colored graphs, tables, and other tweaks instead of lists.

Rumors continue to circulate that the Health app will come to iPadOS 17. Whether the Apple Watch could also get iPad support, which would be desirable, has not been confirmed.

iOS 17: This is what the new health and wallet apps could look like. (Image: Analyst941)

It is also said that the Health app with iOS 17 will receive a tracking function for emotions. With this feature, users would be able to “track their mood, answer questions about their day, and see the results over time.”

The wallet app is also set to get a major redesign. You’ll get new features, including a swipe gesture to search. There is also talk of sorted tabs for credit cards and ID cards, a separate tab for Apple Cash – this function is not available in Germany – and all sorts more, according to “Analyst941”.

iOS 17 probably with a new journaling app

In addition to the expected health app features, Apple is said to be working on a diary app that will allow users to record their daily activities and thoughts in a log. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the app is designed to analyze user behavior to determine what a typical day looks like: how much time is spent at home, and whether a day includes anything out of the ordinary.

Additionally, the application is designed to suggest potential topics a user might want to write about. She is also able to recognize friends who are nearby. The app will also integrate text messages and phone calls. For a high level of privacy, data and daily analyzes should be stored directly on the device.

Preparing for iPhone 15: More features for the Dynamic Island

The Dynamic Island introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro (test) should also be further improved. Apple’s marketing department has allegedly pushed the development team to add more features to the Dynamic Island, as the cheaper iPhone 15 models expected in September should also have this feature on board, they say.

The Dynamic Island of the iPhone 14 Pro Max in action. (Photo: t3n)

Among other things, the Siri user interface should migrate from the lower part of the screen to the island. In addition, by moving Siri to the island, the screen content could remain fully visible without the current circular Siri icon overlaying the screen.

Unclear: iOS 17 with active widgets?

For the home screen and “Today View” on the iPhone, Apple is testing active widgets. However, it is not entirely clear whether the feature will be completed with the release of iOS 17. When released, active widgets could include one-tap buttons, sliders, and more to make widgets more dynamic and interactive, it said.

The Shareplay function introduced with iOS 15.1 could also be expanded, it is said. However, there are no details on how Apple could expand the feature.

In addition to the Shareplay improvements, Bloomberg reports that iOS 17 will also have upgrades for Airplay on board. Apple is said to have been in talks with hotels and other venues to make it easier to target TVs and speakers provided there for guests or customers with video and audio content.

DMA: Sideloading and 3rd party app stores for Europe

Older rumors say that with iOS 17, Apple could allow sideloading of apps and allow alternative app stores for Europe, among other things. This would be the company’s response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which places a number of new requirements on platform operators like Apple.

The functions should enable users to access third-party app stores on their iPhone. But Apple shouldn’t make this easy: There is speculation that Apple will probably charge fees for participating in the program and will use some kind of configuration profile-based procedure.

iOS 17: Allegedly compatible iPhones

It is still unclear which iPhone models will receive the update to iOS 17. There are two conflicting rumors circulating from sources that have been correct in the past regarding unreleased Apple products. One source states that iOS 17 will end support for the following devices:

  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8Plus
  • iPhone X
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro (1st generation)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st gen)

The other says that all devices that support iOS 16 should also get the updater on iOS 17. The latter source referred to an anonymous person from Apple’s iOS development team.

Even though iOS 17, accompanied by iPadOS 17, watchOS 10, and macOS 14 will be announced at WWDC 2023, it’s still a few months before Apple releases the updates to the general public. Apple usually releases the updates for developers in June and shortly thereafter as a public beta. In the course of September, usually a while after the iPhone event, which will probably bring the first iPhones with a USB-C port this year, the major iOS update will be released for all compatible devices.

We will find out on June 5 which functions iOS 17 will actually have on board. We will of course report promptly.

iPhone 14 and 14 Pro

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