Owners of an iPhone superior to the iPhone XS already have access to the first version for developers of iOS 17, the long-awaited update recently presented by Apple. And I’ve been testing it on my iPhone 14 Pro since June 5: despite the fact that the novelties are not noticeableYes, I have seen some significant change.
What a keynote Tim Cook left us on Monday, June 5, we saw a barrage of hardware innovations led by a device that begins its journey in the company’s ecosystem: the Vision Pro. New computers, the Apple M2 Ultra chipset and the relevant revisions of software; including iOS 17, the next update which will arrive in its stable form when Apple presents the iPhone 15. However, I was already able to try the first version for developers, a version that not only presents very few changes for the user, a large part of them are not yet active.
iOS 17 is not a revolutionary version
As I looked at the strengths of the new iPhone software release, presented by Craig Federighi’s team and Craig himself, I realized that the evolution posed by this update is not deep, at least as regards the face visible to the user. The main role is taken by the native iOS communication apps, apps that are not used excessively outside the United States. Although the new personalization of contacts during calls did seem positive to me.
iOS 17 proposes a renewal in the visual aspect of calls: now posters can be created to appear on screen when contacts call. And these posters are exchanged between friends when calling, or that’s what should happen: I was not able to make it work by calling my colleague Ricardo, also with iOS 17. And the same thing happened with a large part of the news presented by Apple.
The changes are not excessive, they especially concern the native communication apps and the majority are details and improvements that do not alter too much the use that we are going to make of the iPhone. In fact, one of the great new features is the journal app, Journal. This app is native to iOS 17, but we will not have it on the phone until the end of 2023, surely with some update style 17.2 or similar. Other novelties suffer the same postponement.
Apple evolves its mobile operating system with a multitude of brushstrokes without part of them being included in this first version of iOS 17 yet. The download of offline maps in Apple Maps is not present in the dev preview, nor the exchange of contacts with bringing the iPhones closer, the so-called NameDrop. Siri is supposed to respond without the “Hey” in front of it, but still nothing. And so with many more novelties that will arrive with a dropper once iOS 17 is already stable: Apple marks its landing for “later this year.”
Nothing to install applications from outside the App Store. for now
iOS 17 was expected to be the beginning of the anticipated “sideloading”, the opening in app installation that some governments are promoting among companies like Apple and Google. Surely you have to give up, but for now the iPhone resists.
It is not that it is excessively difficult to upload applications from outside the App Store, since apps can be signed and installed on any iPhone by leveraging developer certificates. However, Apple will have to resign itself to the laws and facilitate the installation of IPA files; just like Google has been doing with APKs since the beginning of Android.
I delved into all settings, developer options and even tried to open installation IPA files from the “Files” app, but nothing: one of the main changes that had been leaked does not exist in iOS 17. At least for now, Apple is likely to activate the functionality in certain countries when it releases the stable version of the system, with the launch of the iPhone 15.
Desktop mode to put the iPhone as an alarm clock
One of the most striking novelties, and that can be tried, is «StandBy» or At rest, a kind of desktop mode to turn iPhone into a nightstand alarm clock. It is necessary that the phone remains charging and a support that keeps the iPhone horizontal, these are the only two requirements.
StandBy is found in the iOS 17 settings. Once activated following the requirements I mentioned, just turn off the phone and immediately a kind of customizable screensaver appears in which the clock can be configured in different designs by sliding the screen area towards up or down, the same with the right side: this includes everything from calendars to temperature and next appointment on the agenda. In addition, the design of Sleep includes other aesthetics that are accessed by swiping the screen from left to right.
This desktop mode turns off as the light in the room dims to allow sleep. And when the iPhone detects movement, the elements on the screen appear, in a warm tone so as not to disturb the low lighting. These options are configurable from the settings.
Adjustments too minor for a version jump
iOS 17 is not an exaggerated leap in functionality, it is an improvement. Apart from what I already mentioned, privacy and security also evolves: the system alerts the apps that were accessing all the photos, lets you share saved passwords with trusted contacts, sensitive content alerts help make content sharing more secure, Apple improves permissions, and shields iPhone from sophisticated attacks. Isolation mode or “Lockdown mode” is even more effective, but it must be activated on all devices.
A large part of the apps included in iOS 17 receive a touch of novelty, such as the keyboard and dictation: in addition to seeing transcription enhanced thanks to processing on the phone, iOS keyboard now predicts complete sentences (in my experience GBoard is still pretty much better at it). Creating and saving custom stickers is much easier, Photos introduces reverse search to locate image elements on the Internet (more practical than I thought) and another important point: iOS 17 can capture two-factor codes from Apple Mail.
Health now supports mood tracking with a dial to adjust varying degrees of good and bad; in addition to a whole compendium of labels and text boxes in which write down punctuations of the moment or of the day. That Apple dedicates more space to mental health in its application seems very positive to me, although it is still more curious than useful.
And not too much else: iOS 17 seemed to me to be a more cosmetic than practical update in which much of the prominence remains in Apple’s own communication apps, applications that are not used excessively outside the United States. It is also true that what we currently have is a version for developers, we have to wait for the stable to finally arrive in autumn. And successive updates, that will be the moment in which we will see the complete list of changes, including the diary app.
Would you recommend installing iOS 17 as it stands now? The truth is that no, it adds little more to what is already in iOS 16.5. Of course, at the moment it works stably on my iPhone 14 Pro, it has not caused me errors, all apps start normally and, despite the fact that the battery consumption is higher (the first hour after the installation it drank it), now it is not exaggerated. I must remember that it is not even a beta: it is not worth experimenting.
In Xataka Mobile | Developer Settings on iPhone