With less than two months to go until the Worldwide Developers Conference, rumors about Apple’s next-generation version of iOS have been picking up. iOS 17 isn’t expected to have a major headline feature like iOS 16‘s Lock Screen, but there are some notable refinements in the works.
In fact, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman, who often provides reliable details on Apple’s plans, says that iOS 17 will include “several of users’ most requested features,” which sounds very enticing. We’ve since heard hints of what might be coming from a MacRumors forum source that’s been reliable in the past, so we thought we’d highlight some of the additions that we might see.
Control Center Revamp
We’ve had a dedicated Control Center since iOS 7, but it hasn’t seen notable updates since iOS 11. That could change in iOS 17, with Apple rumored to be planning to overhaul the Control Center.
The Control Center could get a new look, and it could be more customizable, with users able to select what’s shown with more granularity and pick where controls are located for a streamlined interface that’s tailored to each person’s needs.
More Dynamic Island Functionality
Right now, the Dynamic Island can display timers, sports scores, incoming phone calls, low battery alerts, Apple Pay confirmations, charging status, Maps directions, and more, but it is still limited in what it can do, especially for third-party apps.
While we don’t have a lot of detail, Apple is allegedly planning to add more functionality to the Dynamic Island to make it more useful. Siri, for example, might transition to the Dynamic Island. When you activate Siri, the Siri icon could be displayed in the Dynamic Island rather than at the bottom of the screen, which would make Siri less obtrusive.
Much Needed Performance Improvements
Before there were a range of quality of life features planned for iOS 17, Gurman claimed that it would be a “tuneup” update focused on fixing bugs and improving performance. Apple still seems to be focused on boosting performance, efficiency, and stability.
Apple is said to be focusing on long-term support for older devices, which suggests that work is being done on making iOS 17 a bug-free update even on iPhones that don’t have the latest hardware.
Active widgets would be widgets that are more interactive, doing more than simply displaying information or letting you tap into an app. Active widgets could include one-tap buttons, sliders, and more, making widgets more dynamic.
New versions of iOS often come with improvements to Search and Spotlight, and it sounds like iOS 17 will be no exception. There’s been a lot of attention on ChatGPT and other chatbot experiences that use AI trained on web content, but we’re not expecting anything quite that advanced from Apple.
Rumors about improved search have not been specific, but in the past, Apple has worked to streamline search results, locate text in photos and videos, and allow users to search for specific subjects in images. Improvements to all of these features could be coming, along with new search capabilities.
One area that’s in dire need of improvement is Apple’s in-app search, like the search function for the Settings app. The Settings app often does not provide reliable results for the setting that’s being sought, so hopefully this will be under the search improvement umbrella.
Alternate App Stores
European regulations will soon require Apple to support sideloading and alternate app stores, giving customers in Europe a way to access apps outside of the App Store.
Apple is working on including this functionality in iOS 17, but unfortunately, it’s only expected to be available for customers living in the European Union. If laws in other countries change, these capabilities could eventually expand, so it will be interesting to see how Apple ultimately handles sideloading.
We can expect Apple to have security checks for sideloaded apps similar to the Mac Gatekeeper function that prevents non-trusted software from being installed, and it’s not going to be a way for developers to skirt fees. Apple still plans to charge developers for access to iOS, though the fees may be lower than the 15 to 30 percent that Apple collects now.
Apple has until March 2024 to comply with the new European laws, so while sideloading does not have to be in the first versions of iOS 17 that go out to the public, it does have to be implemented at some point during the iOS 17 development period.
A New CarPlay Experience
At WWDC 2022, Apple showed off a next-generation version of CarPlay that’s expected to be implemented in 2023. It includes support for multiple displays in a vehicle, so the CarPlay experience can be implemented on the infotainment system, instrument cluster, and more.
Instrument cluster integration is a new feature that will give CarPlay more control over the vehicle’s functions, and it will integrate with the speedometer, odometer, fuel gage, and more. Vehicle climate controls will be accessible directly through CarPlay so you won’t have to exit out of the CarPlay system to adjust the heat or the AC, and Apple is also planning to add a series of useful widgets that will display information like trip duration, fuel economy, weather, HomeKit devices, and other details that you might want to have while driving.
There are even more features rumored for iOS 17, including changes to the always-on display, support for the upcoming AR/VR headset, Health app refinements, and additional Focus Mode filters. We keep track of all of the rumored changes to iOS 17 in our dedicated iOS 17 roundup, so it’s worth bookmarking and checking in every now and then to see the latest.
Apple will provide iOS 17 to developers after the WWDC keynote event on June 5, and that will give us the first look at the new features. Public beta testers will likely get access a month or so later in July, and then the software will launch in September alongside new iPhone models.