5 cool features we want to see in iOS and iPadOS 17

Apple has come a long way with its iOS and iPadOS updates over the years, offering rich customization options, improved apps, and radically improved system-level features. However, there’s always room for improvement, and we’ll soon see what Cupertino has in store for its phones and tablets at WWDC 2023.

Considering the constant pressure from Google’s Android operating system, the race to get better and better is never-ending. Apple’s iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 were fantastic improvements over the previous year’s operating system rollouts, and we have no doubt that version 17 will improve the ecosystem even further. However, we hope that the following five features make their way into upcoming mobile operating systems.

Test changing iMessage

(Credits: Apple, PCMag)

1. RCS compatibility in iMessage

Apple uses a proprietary messaging service, iMessage, which allows you to send text messages to other people. Many wonderful features are associated with the app including Live Text, Visual Look Up and the ability to edit messages. However, these features are rendered useless when interacting with Android phones and tablets, as mobile devices powered by Google’s operating system don’t support the many unique features of iMessage.

Android uses Chat, a Rich Communications Services (RCS) protocol. It takes leaps ahead of basic SMS functionality and offers convenient and accessible content sharing features that are on par with Apple’s iMessage. However, Apple doesn’t support the protocol, which means your fancy Android chat messages are received as essential SMS messages.

Google has steadily improved its RCS protocol over the years, such as adding end-to-end encryption that keeps your communications secure and private. Hopefully, Apple decides to play nice with RCS and announces compatibility with it during WWDC 2023.

Testing Apple Maps

(Credits: Apple, PCMag)

2. The ability to set a default map app

Apple Maps has enjoyed years of refinements and even surpasses Google Maps in some areas. For example, the app’s cleaner graphics and interface make it an excellent navigation tool compared to Google Maps and its information overload. That said, that same glut of information makes Google Maps the ideal tool for finding businesses and restaurants.

However, it is not possible to set a default Map app on an iOS or iPadOS device. Some apps, like Chrome or Safari, prefer to open one map app or the other, but you can’t select your preference from the system settings. We would like to have this option in the future.

iPad and multiple accounts

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

3. Improved support for multiple users and child accounts on iPadOS

The iPad is a technological marvel, but it has some limitations. The most obvious is the focus on the single user of iPad. You can use multiple Apple IDs on a single iPad, but you can’t create multiple profiles; the primary account is the one that retains control over apps, Safari bookmarks, iTunes purchases, and other features. Multiple users can download their favorite apps, but this clutters up the iPad and makes upgrading to a new device a headache. For example, you can use workarounds to make sharing easier by using multiple email apps to keep mailboxes separate. However, we would like to see sharing fully realized on iPad with the upcoming iPadOS 17 update.

This also extends to child accounts and age restrictions. Setting restrictions on your iPad disables age-inappropriate apps and content for everyone who uses the tablet. You have undoubtedly encountered situations where you need to disable restrictions to download content for yourself, and then re-enable these restrictions when you give the tablet to your child. It is bulky and impractical. The improved and user-friendly age limit for child accounts would be a huge improvement to the operating system.

You cannot download Fortnite on iOS or iPadOS

(Credits: Apple, Epic Games)

4. The ability to port apps in iOS and iPadOS

The App Store is convenient for downloading and installing apps on your iPhone or iPad. However, you’re limited to the App Store only; if an app is missing, Apple won’t let you install it. This is contrary to Google’s approach, where you’re encouraged to use the Google Play Store but aren’t limited to it. If you have a Samsung phone, you have even more options, as you can use the Galaxy Store for purchases as well.

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This process of downloading apps from alternative or unofficial resources is called sideloading. Unfortunately, Apple has been keeping a close watch on this feature, which is why you can sideload Fortnite on an Android device, but not an Apple phone or tablet. With iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, we hope to see Apple loosen its grip and allow you to download any app you want.

iPhone camera test

(Credit: Eric Zeman)

5. Improved photos and camera functionality

When it comes to photos, Apple and Google have thrown punches in the form of cutting-edge imaging features. Android has its own Magic Eraser technology that lets you delete subjects and clean up photos right on your device. Meanwhile, Apple has Live Text and Visual Look Up that help you identify text and subjects in photographs for additional context. However, there is an upcoming Android feature that is sure to make iPhone users envious.

During this year’s Google I/O conference, Google revealed that Android will get Magic Editor, a powerful AI tool that can not only delete objects but also reposition them. It allows you to make major photo edits without any third-party or professional tools. We’d love to see iOS and iPadOS include advanced photo-editing features like this in the future so you can tidy up problem photos.

For more, check out everything we expect to see at WWDC 2023, and be sure to tune into PCMag for firsthand coverage of the event.

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