What Else is New in iOS 17.2 Beta 2?

person holding iPhone 15 Pro Max at home screen Credit: Amanz
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The next major point release of iOS 17 is moving steadily toward a public rollout next month when it will deliver the last few iOS 17 features that Apple promised for “later this year.”

This includes the appearance of Apple’s new Journal app and Collaborative Playlists in Apple Music, along with a security feature that’s overdue from the iOS 16 era: iMessage Contact Key Verification.

Today, the second public beta of iOS 17.2 landed, polishing up the Journal app with new Journalling Suggestions and unlocking Spatial Video Capture so that iPhone 15 Pro users can start capturing holiday memories in full 3D video to relive on Apple’s Vision Pro headset when it arrives.

However, as with most early beta releases, there are a few more noteworthy things packed into the second beta of iOS 17.2.

Expanded Sensitive Content Warnings

The nude photo detection feature introduced in iOS 17 is expanding to protect you from seeing unsolicited nudity in more places.

Specifically, Apple is adding Contact Posters and stickers in the Messages app to its algorithm to the list of places that will be checked for inappropriate photos. These new options join AirDrop, Video Messages, and photos received in the Messages app.

Sensitive Content Warning is an opt-in feature that leverages theCommunication Safety in Messages tool that Apple introduced in iOS 15.2 to help protect kids from receiving sexually explicit photos.

While that was limited to Family Sharing groups with kids under 18 and had to be enabled by the parents, Sensitive Content Warning can be switched on by anybody who would prefer to avoid being disturbed by unsolicited photos from creepy people.

This is turned off by default, but as long as you’re running iOS 17.0 or later, you can find it in the Settings app under Privacy > Sensitive Content Warning. Once enabled, all analysis of received photos will be done entirely on the device, with those that contain nudity automatically blurred out with a “Show” button you can tap if you actually want to see it.

While iOS 17.2 adds Contact Posters and Stickers to the mix — two important categories since creepers could use these to sneak past the other filters — it still won’t scan photos that aren’t received from outside sources, such as those in your Photos app.

Categories in the App Store

With millions of apps to choose from, browsing through the App Store has gotten cumbersome, to say the least. With iOS 17.2, Apple is making this easier by adding new filters at the top of the Apps and Games sections to help you narrow down the list.

So far, it looks like this may be rolling out gradually, or it may even be limited to the US App Store, as I’m not seeing it in Canada yet.

The iTunes Store Will Return to Its Roots

Speaking of digital storefronts, Apple also plans to take the iTunes Store app back to the days when it was all about the music.

We’ve already seen hints of this in the first tvOS 17.2 beta, which adds a new sidebar to the TV app with a “Store” tab and kills off the legacy “Movies” and “TV Shows” tvOS apps.

At the time, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman added that Apple would do likewise with the iTunes Store app on the iPhone and iPad, eliminating the “Movies“ and “TV Shows” sections entirely. The iPhone/iPad TV app has provided the ability to purchase and rent movies and TV shows for a while, making those tabs in the iTunes Store somewhat redundant.

While those sections remain in iOS 17.2 beta 2, the code sleuths at 9to5Mac have found several strings in this latest beta showing that they will soon be “moved to the Apple TV app.” As we noted last month, Apple will likely turn these off with a back-end change since the iTunes Store app is largely driven by Apple’s servers. Leftover comments found in the code seemingly confirm this plan.

Is Sideloading Coming?

While it’s not the first time we’ve seen this, some new code in the latest iOS 17.2 beta suggests Apple is continuing to prepare for a world in which it may be required to allow alternative app stores.

Like the iPhone 15’s switch to USB-C, there’s an excellent chance that new EU regulations will force Apple’s hand by early next year, so it makes sense that the company is getting ready for this eventuality.

The catch is that it looks like Apple will try to avoid opening the floodgates here. Earlier this year, 9to5Mac reported that Apple had baked some hidden features into iOS 16 to allow for geographic restrictions, similar to how it already handles the Apple Watch ECG feature.

This made sense for the Apple Watch due to the ECG feature being tightly regulated in some countries. However, it’s been unnecessary on the iPhone. The recent addition of this capability suggests it’s being prompted by the new EU regulations, allowing Apple to open up alternative app stores and sideloading only in Europe while forcing those in the US and other countries to remain with the official App Store.

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