Although we won’t know for sure what Apple has in store for its next major iOS release until Tim Cook and the gang step onto the virtual stage at its June Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), we’re getting close enough to that date that some interesting teases are beginning to appear from leakers who claim to have sources inside Apple’s walls.
The consensus right now is that iOS 17 will be a bit more than just the tune-up release that was predicted earlier — but not much more. We’re not expecting any major “tentpole” features like the whole new Home Screen experience we got in iOS 14, or iOS 16’s custom lock screens, but reports are that Apple plans to “check off several of users’ most requested features.”
In other words, it sounds like we’re going to get a collection of smaller “quality-of-life” improvements, and one anonymous source who goes by analyst941 and has a reasonably accurate track record has shared a laundry list on Twitter of what could be coming. While some of these are still a bit vague, it opens the door to some interesting speculation about what sort of changes Apple could make. Here are X of the more significant predictions for iOS 17 and would they could mean.
Performance, Efficiency, and Stability
Considering everything we’ve already heard, it’s not a huge surprise that iOS 17 will be mostly about polishing things up. It’s expected to be one of those releases that come out every few years where Apple takes a beat and focuses on doing a spring cleaning. It last did this in iOS 12, so we’re about due for another one.
Despite rumors that iOS 17 would drop support for the 2017 iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, analyst941 says that won’t happen; iOS 17 will support all the same devices as iOS 16 does now, and Apple will be focusing on “long-term support for older devices.” The leaker notes that some of these may have a rough ride over the start of the iOS 17 beta cycle due to limited RAM, but that should be resolved by the final release.
That said, iPadOS 17 may end up dropping support for the A9 and A10 Fusion-powered iPads, which would include the fifth, sixth, and seventh-generation iPads, released between 2017 and 2019. However, Apple has yet to make a final decision on this.
Control Center Changes
The same leaker shared a tip last week that iOS 17 may get some significant changes to Control Center. While the original report didn’t say what those were, this latest list suggests a UI redesign with more customizability.
The Control Center has remained pretty static over the past few years, with most elements in fixed positions that the user can’t change. The bottom part allows a selected number of custom controls to be added, removed, or reordered from the Settings app, but there’s no way to do this directly in the Control Center.
Direct customization similar to how the Home Screen works would go a long way to making Control Center more functional, along with the ability to move around every icon. There’s also a possibility that Apple could open up support for third-party apps to drop their own icons in there.
Dynamic Island Will Do ‘A Lot More’
With the Dynamic Island expected to come to the entire iPhone 15 lineup, it only makes sense that Apple will want to expand its capabilities, and analyst941 says the company’s marketing department is pressuring the development team to do precisely this to “push sales of the standard iPhone 15’s release.”
The result is we’ll likely see more notifications using the Dynamic Island, and Apple could even opt to push Siri up there, which seems to fit, considering Apple has already done that with pop-ups for things like Face ID.
It was great to see support for Home Screen widgets finally appear in iOS 14, but they’ve still been somewhat hampered by limited interactivity. Developers can add a button or two to open specific features in their apps, but that’s about it.
Apple is reportedly testing active widgets that could be even more dynamic, featuring “one-tap buttons, sliders, and more.” It’s not confirmed yet whether these will make the cut for iOS 17, though.
Many Other Changes
While analyst941 didn’t provide much in the way of specifics, they also listed nearly a dozen other changes that may be coming in iOS 17, including significant improvements to the built-in Search and Spotlight feature, CarKey enhancements and support for more vehicles in the Wallet app, UI changes to the Health app, Camera app changes, custom accessibility settings, more focus mode filters, more always-on display settings, and some changes to the notification system.
Notably, the Camera app changes were supposedly planned for the iPhone 14 Pro release and could come exclusively to the iPhone 15 or even just the iPhone 15 Pro rather than for all devices that support iOS 17.
The custom accessibility settings will be designed to give “total control over the UI and layout for older persons or younger children,” likely as an extension of the Guided Access feature.
The report also notes “an absolute behemoth” of ARKit APIs and frameworks for augmented reality apps to take advantage of. This could tie in with Apple’s much-rumored headset and new “realityOS.”