iOS 17 release candidate is out now with wide release on September 18

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Macworld

The first iOS 17 Developer Beta was released on the first day of WWDC, as is tradition. While it is meant for developers to begin building apps using new frameworks and APIs, and to test and send bug reports if their apps don’t work with the new software, it is technically available to anyone with a developer account.

In fact, the Developer Beta used to require a paid membership to the developer program, which costs $99 a year. With iOS 17, Apple changed its policy to allow even those with free developer accounts (which otherwise only provide access to the developer forums and Xcode) to download the iOS 17 Developer Beta.

The first Public Beta was released on July 12, and corresponds with the same build as Developer Beta 3.

The final release is on September 18.

Update 09/12/23: The release candidate of iOS 17 is now available to beta testers. This is likely to be the exact the version that will be available to all iPhone users on September 18, if not showstopper bugs are found.

iOS 17: Release notes

We cover all the major features of iOS 17 in our iOS 17 Guide. Apple’s release notes are as follows:

Phone

Contact Posters let you customize how you appear on other people’s devices when you call them with a customized poster

Live Voicemail displays a live transcription as someone leaves a message and allows you to pick up the call

Messages

Stickers iMessage app brings all your stickers into one place including Live Stickers, Memoji, Animoji, emoji stickers, and your third party sticker packs

Live Stickers can be created by lifting the subject from photos or videos and stylizing them with effects like Shiny, Puffy, Comic, and Outline

Check In automatically notifies a family member or friend when you arrive at a destination safely and can share helpful information with them in case of a delay

Audio message transcription is available for audio messages you receive so you can read them in the moment and listen later

Search improvements help you find messages faster by allowing you to combine search filters such as people, keywords, and content types like photos or links to find exactly what you are looking for

Swipe to reply to a message inline by swiping to the right on any bubble

One-time verification code cleanup automatically deletes verification codes from the Messages app after using them with AutoFill in other apps

FaceTime

Leave a video or audio message to capture exactly what you want to say when someone does not pick up your FaceTime call

Enjoy FaceTime calls on Apple TV by using your iPhone as a camera (Apple TV 4K 2nd generation and later)

Reactions layer 3D effects like hearts, balloons, confetti, and more around you in video calls and can be triggered with gestures

Video effects allow you to adjust the intensity of Studio Lighting and Portrait mode

StandBy

Full-screen experience with glanceable information like clocks, photos, and widgets designed to view from a distance when iPhone is on its side and charging in places such as your nightstand, kitchen counter, or desk

Clocks are available in a variety of styles including Digital, Analog, Solar, Float, and World Clock, with elements you can personalize like the accent color

Photos automatically shuffle through your best shots or showcase a specific album you choose

Widgets give you access to information at a distance and appear in Smart Stacks that deliver the right information at the right time

Night Mode lets clocks, photos, and widgets take on a red tone in low light

Preferred view per MagSafe charger remembers your preference for each place you charge with MagSafe, whether that’s a clock, photos, or widgets

Widgets

Interactive widgets let you take actions, like mark a reminder as complete, directly from the widget by tapping it on the Home Screen, Lock Screen, or in StandBy

iPhone widgets on Mac enable you to add widgets from your iPhone to your Mac desktop

AirDrop

NameDrop lets you exchange contact information with someone new by bringing your iPhones close together

New way to initiate AirDrop allows you to share content or start a SharePlay session over AirDrop by bringing your iPhones close together

Keyboard

Improved autocorrect accuracy makes typing even easier by leveraging a powerful transformer-based language model (iPhone 12 and later)

Easier autocorrect editing temporarily underlines corrected words and lets you revert back to what you originally typed with just a tap

Enhanced sentence corrections can correct more types of grammatical mistakes when you finish sentences (iPhone 12 and later)

Inline predictive text shows single and multi-word predictions as you type that can be added by tapping space bar (iPhone 12 and later)

Safari and Passwords

Profiles keep your browsing separate for topics like work and personal, separating your history, cookies, extensions, Tab Groups, and favorites

Private Browsing enhancements include locking your private browsing windows when you’re not using them, blocking known trackers from loading, and removing identifying tracking from URLs

Password and passkey sharing lets you create a group of passwords to share with trusted contacts that stays up to date as members of the group make changes

One-time verification code AutoFill from Mail autofill in Safari so you can log in without leaving the browser

Music

SharePlay makes it easy for everyone to control and play Apple Music in the car

Crossfade smoothly transitions between songs by fading out the currently playing song while fading in the next so the music never stops

AirPlay

Intelligent AirPlay device list makes finding the right AirPlay-compatible TV or speaker even easier by showing your devices in order of relevance, based on your preferences

Suggested AirPlay device connections are proactively shown to you as a notification to make it even more seamless to connect to your preferred AirPlay devices

Automatic AirPlay device connections are made between your iPhone and the most relevant AirPlay-compatible device so all you have to do is tap “Play” to begin enjoying your content

AirPods

Adaptive Audio delivers a new listening mode that dynamically blends Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency to tailor the noise control experience based on the conditions of your environment (AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with firmware version 6A300 or later)

Personalized Volume adjusts the volume of your media in response to your environment and listening preferences over time (AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with firmware version 6A300 or later)

Conversation Awareness lowers your media volume and enhances the voices of the people in front of the user, all while reducing background noise (AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with firmware version 6A300 or later)

Press to mute and unmute your microphone by pressing the AirPods stem or the Digital Crown on AirPods Max when on a call (AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (1st and 2nd generation), or AirPods Max with firmware version 6A300 or later)

Maps

Offline Maps allow you to select an area you want to access, search, and explore rich information for places to download for use when your iPhone doesn’t have a Wi-Fi or cellular signal

EV routing improvements give you routes based on real-time EV charger availability for supported chargers

Siri

Option to say “Siri” in addition to “Hey Siri” for an even more natural way to make requests

Back-to-back requests can be issued without needing to reactivate Siri in between commands (iPhone 11 and later)

Visual Look Up

Expanded domains in Visual Look Up help you discover similar recipes from photos of food, Maps information from photos of storefronts, and the meaning of signs and symbols on things like laundry tags

Multiple or single subjects can be lifted from the background of photos and videos and placed into apps like Messages

Visual Look Up in Video helps you learn about objects that appear in paused video frames

Visual Look Up for subjects in photos enables you to look up information about objects you lift from photos directly from the callout bar

Health

State of Mind reflection allows you to log your momentary emotion and daily mood, choose what factors are having the biggest impact on you, and describe your feelings

Interactive charts give you insights into your state of mind, how it has changed over time, and what factors may have influence such as exercise, sleep, and mindful minutes

Mental health assessments help you understand your current risk for depression and anxiety and if you might benefit from getting support

Screen Distance leverages the TrueDepth camera that powers Face ID to encourage you to increase the distance you view your device to reduce digital eye strain and can help reduce the risk of myopia in children

Privacy

Sensitive Content Warnings can be enabled to prevent users from unexpectedly being shown images containing nudity in Messages, AirDrop, Contact Posters in the Phone app, and FaceTime messages

Expanded Communication Safety protections for children now detect videos containing nudity in addition to photos that children may receive or attempt to send in Messages, AirDrop, Contact Posters in the Phone app, FaceTime messages, and the system Photo picker

Improved sharing permissions give you even more control over what you share with apps, with an embedded photo picker and an add-only Calendar permission

Link tracking protection removes extra information from links shared in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing that some websites use in their URLs to track you across other websites, and links still work as expected

Accessibility

Assistive Access distills apps and experiences to their essential features in Phone and FaceTime, Messages, Camera, Photos, and Music, including large text, visual alternatives, and focused choices to lighten cognitive load

Live Speech lets you type what you want to say and have it be spoken out loud in phone calls, FaceTime calls, and for in-person conversations

Personal Voice enables users who are at risk of losing their voice to privately and securely create a voice that sounds like them on iPhone, and use it with Live Speech in phone and FaceTime calls

Point and Speak in Magnifier Detection Mode uses iPhone to read text out loud on physical objects with small text labels, such as keypads on doors and buttons on appliances

This release also includes other features and improvements:

Roadside Assistance via satellite lets you contact AAA to help you with vehicle issues when out of Wi-Fi or cellular range (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max)

Pets in the People album in Photos surfaces individual pets in the album just like friends or family members

Photos Album widget lets you select a specific album from the Photos app to appear in the widget

Item sharing in Find My allows you to share an AirTag or Find My network accessory with up to five other people

Activity History in Home displays a recent history of events for door locks, garage doors, security systems, and contact sensors

Grid Forecast in Home shows when your electrical grid has cleaner energy sources available (Contiguous US only)

Grocery Lists in Reminders automatically group related items into sections as you add them

Inline PDFs and document scans in Notes are presented full-width, making them easy to view and mark them up

New Memoji stickers in Keyboard include Halo, Smirk, and Peekaboo

App Shortcuts in Spotlight Top Hit offer you app shortcuts to your next action when you search for an app

Redesigned Sharing tab in Fitness provides highlights of your friends’ activity like workout streaks and awards

Email or phone number sign-in lets you sign into your iPhone with any email address or phone number listed in your Apple ID account

New drawing tools in Freeform include a fountain pen, watercolor brush, ruler and more to create expressive boards

Crash Detection optimizations (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max)

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all Apple devices. For more information, please visit this website:

https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-17

Some features may not be available for all regions or on all iPhone models. For information on the security content of Apple software updates, please visit this website:

https://support.apple.com/kb/HT201222

iOS 17: How to install the public beta

If you want to be among the first to test iOS 17, you can sign up for the public beta test. The process for installing a beta has changed in iOS 16.4. Here’s how the new process works now:

Click Sign Up on the Apple Beta page and register with your Apple ID.

Log in to the Beta Software Program.

Click Enroll your iOS device.

Open the Settings app, tap General, then Software Update.

In the Beta Updates section, select the iOS Public Beta.

It may take a few moments after registering for the beta option to appear in Software Update.

The public beta test for iOS 17 started on July 12, and we suggest most users wait for it–as buggy as public betas can be, the early developer betas of major new OS releases are often even more error-prone and incomplete.

iOS 17: How to install the developer beta

You’ll need to be registered as an Apple developer. Beginning with iOS 17, you don’t need to be in the $99 per year developer program to access the developer beta. A free developer account will do. You can get one via Xcode or the Apple Developer app in iOS. Here’s how to do it via the Apple Developer app:

Download the Apple Developer App from the App Store.

Open the app.

Tap on Account.

Sign in using your usual Apple ID. 

If you want to sell applications to the App Store you’ll need to pay $99/£79 per year for a paid account. Sign up to the Apple Developer Program (here) or through Apple’s Developer App. You can compare the free and paid accounts here.

Registered developers can choose to get the Public Beta instead by selecting iOS Public Beta in the Software Update screen. It may take a little time after registering as a developer for the option to appear in Software Updates.

Some developers have an Apple ID registered for developer access that is different from the Apple ID associated with their personal Apple account and data. To use a different Apple ID for beta access than is used throughout the rest of iOS, open Settings > General > Software Update > Beta Updates and select the Apple ID at the bottom of the screen.

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