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iOS 17 to deliver ‘most requested’ new iPhone features, but what are they?

Published Mar 27th, 2023 10:39AM EDT
iOS 17 concept
Image: Parker Ortolani

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Apple is widely expected to unveil its first-gen mixed reality headset at WWDC 2023 in June. But the event is also the place where Apple unveils its next-gen software features. This makes the iPhone’s iOS 17 introduction one of the most anticipated parts of WWDC. Especially considering that the first iOS 17 betas will be available to developers soon after Apple’s keynote presentation.

Most reports claimed that iOS 17 will essentially be a polished-up version of iOS 16. But a new report indicates that Apple has shifted gears during development. Apparently, Apple wants iOS 17 to deliver some of the “most requested” features for the iPhone. What these features are, however, is still unclear.

With each iOS release, Apple includes plenty of new features. Some of them are tentpole features that Apple demos during WWDC or iPhone events. Others are smaller, brilliant iPhone tricks that you end up discovering later.

But every year, iPhone users keep asking Apple for certain iPhone and iPad features that would improve the overall iOS and iPadOS experience. And we often see iOS concepts showcasing features that Apple is yet to introduce.

According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple changed its iOS 17 development strategy recently. The company wants to make room in iOS 17 for some of the most requested iPhone features that users have been clamoring for — via MacRumors:

When Apple set out to develop iOS 17, the initial thinking was to call it a tuneup release — one focused more on fixing bugs and improving performance than adding new features (not unlike the approach the company took with Snow Leopard on Mac OS X back in 2009). The hope was to avoid the problems of iOS 16, an ambitious update that suffered from missed deadlines and a buggy start.

But later in the development process, the strategy changed. The iOS 17 release is now expected to boast several ‘nice to have’ features, even if it lacks a tentpole improvement like last year’s revamped lock screen. The goal of the software, codenamed ‘Dawn,’ is to check off several of users’ most requested features.

As exciting as that might sound, the “most requested features” aren’t listed in the report. Regardless of what Apple might be preparing for iOS 17, we can speculate on the kind of features that Apple might have to bring to the iPhone in the near future due to pressure from regulators.

Conversely, these are features that some iPhone users have been asking for. Like support for third-party app stores, third-party in-app payments support, sideloading apps, and internet browsers that don’t have to use WebKit.

That’s not to say any of these features will come to iPhone and iPad via iOS 17 and iPadOS 17. Sideloading is especially concerning. But Apple could always get ahead of regulators and bring some of these features to iPhone and iPad as soon as this fall.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.