The best iOS 17 features we could see at WWDC 2023

Historically, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is iOS’s time to shine. It might be a bit overshadowed by a possible mixed reality headset announcement, but iOS 17 is rumored(opens in a new tab) to include some of the “most requested features by users”.

So while this year’s WWDC might be all about the debut of Reality Pro, there’s a lot to look forward to with iOS 17. Here’s what to expect.


Apple Preview WWDC 2023: Everything you need to know

Apple continues to care intimately about your health

Apple’s continued focus on health and wellness features is said to impact the iOS 17 update in several ways. According to Wall Street Journal(opens in a new tab)Apple is working on a journaling app that allows users to record their thoughts and activities, which is analyzed to determine daily habits such as “how much time you spend at home versus elsewhere and whether a certain day includes anything outside than the norm,” the report said.

For Gurman(opens in a new tab)Apple is also reportedly adding features to the Health app that include a mood tracker that asks questions about your day and shows results over time, and a tool for managing vision conditions like nearsightedness. Later in the year, Apple is said to be announcing a coaching app for the Apple Watch, which will sync with the iPhone’s Health app, so these potential iOS 17 features could lay the groundwork for that.

Your iPhone could become your smart home display

We may also see some iOS 17 features related to screen functionality. According to Gurman, Apple is working on an iPhone lock screen interface that works like a smart home display like Google Next or Amazon Echo. When positioned horizontally, the interface would display “information such as calendar appointments, weather and notifications,” building on the lock screen widgets announced in last year’s iOS 16, Gurman said.

There is also a rumor about a revamp of the Control Center, which hasn’t been updated since 2017. This comes from an anonymous source who posted on the MacRumors(opens in a new tab) carefully planned forum and details on the dynamic island. However, the rumor hasn’t been confirmed by anyone else, so take it with a grain of salt.

Apple Wallet may be undergoing a revamp

On the MacRumors podcast, Gurman said he expects to see Apple Wallet updates, though the details aren’t clear. Apple has made a big push to add financial services to its devices, so it would make sense for Wallet to get some attention at WWDC.

Apple Pay Later, which allows users to pay for products in installments, was launched in the US last March and Tap to Pay, which allows transactions without the need for a payment terminal or card reader like Square, will arrive before the end of the year.

Support for the XR headset is definitely, possibly heralded

Apple’s XR “Reality Pro” headset is expected to be the main event at this year’s WWDC. The hardware will be coupled with its own operating system called xrOS which has a familiar interface to Apple users, but of course with different methods of performing tasks which may include combining eye movements with hand gestures.

The headset can presumably be used as a standalone device, but can be connected to other Apple devices like an iPhone or Mac for certain tasks. If Apple announces Reality Pro, it stands to reason that iOS 17 will come with some sort of xrOS integration.


Apple’s Reality Pro: What We Know Before WWDC 2023

Learn more about accessibility features

In May, Apple previewed new accessibility tools and features, including Assistive Access, which simplifies the experience of essential Apple apps for people with cognitive disabilities, Live Speech, which provides text to audio during calls live and sensing mode, which magnifies and reads aloud text and labels on objects for blind or visually impaired people.

In the ad(opens in a new tab), Apple said these tools will arrive “later this year.” Since WWDC typically announces OS news, we may get more details on availability.

A sideload win for developers

To comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, Apple is required to allow third-party apps to be downloaded outside the App Store by 2024. According to a December 2022 report by Gurman, Apple plans to adopt this practice, also known as “sideloading”, possible with iOS 17.

For developers, that means they wouldn’t have to pay up to a 30 percent fee just for using their apps on Apple devices. That might not seem like a big deal to non-developers, but consider this: You may finally be playing Fortnite on your iPhone without some kind of loophole.

Other potential iOS 17 announcements

Premiered at WWDC 2022, this year’s event could herald new CarPlay updates that would be supported by iOS 17. We could see Apple Music updates with lyrics on the lock screen, according to a leak collected by 9to5Mac(opens in a new tab). Guman reported(opens in a new tab) possible updates to SharePlay and making it easier to use AirPlay on devices you don’t own, such as streaming content in hotels.

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