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With Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event likely less than a month away, we’re getting into the short strokes in the iOS 17 development cycle. For all intents and purposes, iOS 17 should be very close to feature-complete at this point, and there are even signs that Apple is already internally testing iOS 17.1.
With that in mind, we don’t usually expect too many surprises from mid- to late-August betas of major iOS releases. However, Apple’s sixth beta of iOS 17, released to developers this week, still packs in a few interesting smaller enhancements. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s new in the latest iOS 17 beta.
New Photos Features
While many of the listed features have slowly appeared over the last few iOS 17 betas, the sixth beta release now provides a splash screen when first opening the Photos app to highlight what’s new.
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This includes automatic albums for your cats and dogs that use the same kind of face recognition as the People albums, with your furry friends listed alongside the other important folks in your life. You can also now see albums in the Photos widget and customize your Memories more to your liking.
Cropping photos has also become much easier with a one-tap “Crop” button that now appears when you pinch to zoom in on a photo. Apple snuck that one into the last beta but didn’t announce it until now.
Quickly Sending Photos in Messages
In a small but very handy change, you can now bring up the photo picker in Messages by holding your finger down on the Plus button, saving you the trouble of going through the menu.
Since sending photos is probably the most-used messaging applet, this brings back some accessibility lost in the new iOS 17 design when Apple chose to simplify the UI and hide all the options behind a pop-up menu.
You can still access Photos from the menu if you prefer to take the long route. You can also tap-and-hold and drag any of the listed messaging applets, such as Camera, Stickers, Location, and more, to reorder them or drag them off the bottom into the “More” section to hide them from the main list.
The End Call Button Returns to its Rightful Place
Apple has moved the call controls in iOS 17 from the center of the screen to the bottom; however, in doing so, it also had to displace the End call button from its standalone position further down.
However, Apple also shuffled quite a few buttons in the process. Audio and Mute traded the top left and right spots, while FaceTime and Keypad swapped positions vertically in the center column. The “Add Call” and “Contacts” buttons, which always seemed a bit redundant anyway, were merged to make room for the “End” button; however, Apple chose to drop it into the spot vacated by the old “Contacts” button, placing it rather unintuitively in the bottom right corner.
It’s unclear if that was to have been its final resting place for the iOS 17 release, but it seems people finally noticed — and weren’t happy about the change. Last week, there was enough of a hue and cry that mainstream outlets like CNBC and The Associated Press reported on it, which may have convinced Apple’s designers and engineers to reconsider a move that could mess with 15 years of muscle memory.
Live Voicemail Loses Custom Greetings
Apple has tweaked the default greeting for its Live Voicemail a few times during the beta cycle, moving from a greeting that informed callers that “the person you’re calling may pick up” to a more generic one that reads similar to the default Visual Voicemail greeting. Here’s the Live Voicemail greeting callers will hear as of iOS 17 beta 6:
Your call has been forwarded to voicemail. The person you’re trying to reach is not available. At the tone, please record your message. When you have finished recording, you may hang up.
However, prior to iOS 17 beta 6, callers to iPhone owners who had recorded a custom Visual Voicemail greeting would hear that message instead — although a closing beep was never played to prompt them to start talking. With the sixth beta, it appears that, instead of adding the beep, all callers will now hear the default greeting when reaching Live Voicemail, even when a custom greeting has been recorded. It’s unclear if this is a bug or intentional behavior.