iOS 17: A Game-Changing Update for Recent iPhone Models

Apples latest iPhones herald the imminent iOS 17 release with significant upgrades to Messages, FaceTime, and more. Supported devices range from iPhone Xs to recent models. Beta options available.

Apple has recently unveiled its latest line of iPhones, signaling the imminent release of iOS 17 to the general public. This eagerly awaited software update brings a host of substantial enhancements to key features such as Messages, FaceTime, and the keyboard. Here, we'll provide you with a comprehensive guide on how to upgrade your iPhone to the latest firmware.

First and foremost, it's important to note that iOS 17 is exclusively available for iPhones launched within the last five years. This means that devices from the 2018 iPhone Xs / Xr series are the oldest models that are compatible with this update. Other supported devices encompass all models from the iPhone 11 (2019), iPhone 12 (2020), iPhone 13 (2021), and iPhone 14 (2022) lines. This includes the standard, Pro, Pro Max, Mini, or Plus-sized variants within each generation. Additionally, the second and third generations of Apple's budget-friendly iPhone SE are also supported. If you're unsure about your iPhone model, you can easily check by navigating to Settings General About Model Name on your device. If this information isn't readily available, you can refer to Apple's support document, which provides a breakdown of each model's corresponding number.

Once you've confirmed that your device is supported, you have two options for upgrading to iOS 17. The official release date for the public is set for Monday, September 18. At that time, you can simply go to Settings General About Software Update, and install the software over-the-air once Apple makes it available. If you have automatic updates enabled, the installation will occur automatically, though it may take a few days after the software's release. Alternatively, if you're eager to experience iOS 17 ahead of the crowd, you can opt to run a beta version.

To install iOS 17 before the official release date, you can access the Release Candidate (RC) beta, which typically closely resembles the final version. This process has become notably more straightforward in this generation. Head to Settings General About Software Update, then select the Beta Updates option. Choosing the Developer beta option will, at the time of this publication, provide access to the RC1 update that Apple released to developers shortly after its iPhone launch event. It's worth noting that the release candidate will likely become available through the public beta later in the week. However, if you decide to explore beta versions, remember to return to the same settings menu after Monday and disable beta updates if you prefer not to continue installing future versions of potentially unstable iPhone software.

iOS 17 introduces significant improvements to Messages, particularly through machine learning-based audio message transcriptions. This feature allows you to skip listening to lengthy voice messages from your verbose friends and instead read a text breakdown of their message contents, saving you valuable time. During Engadget's testing of the beta versions, the transcriptions were found to be accurate for both British and American accents. Apple has also streamlined Messages by consolidating most of its features and apps behind a plus button located to the left of the input box in any chat. Tapping this symbol expands the options previously found above the keyboard, including Memojis and GIFs, which were prominent in older iOS versions.

FaceTime also receives notable enhancements in iOS 17, including the introduction of video voicemails. This feature enables you to leave a video message for your friends, allowing them to see you as you convey your message. Furthermore, iOS 17 is now compatible with tvOS 17, enabling FaceTime calls on Apple TV using your iPhone or iPad as a camera.

The update further includes a novel StandBy mode that transforms your iPhone into a smart display while it's charging and resting horizontally. Additionally, Contact Posters grant you customizable full-screen profiles that appear on your phone's screen when friends and family call. Namedrop simplifies the exchange of contact information with new acquaintances by facilitating data transfer between iPhones or Apple Watches when they are brought into close proximity. Lastly, the iOS 17 keyboard boasts a new inline predictive text feature powered by machine learning, which predicts the remainder of your sentence with a quick tap of the space bar.

For a more detailed look at all the new features in iOS 17, we encourage you to explore Engadget's comprehensive iOS 17 preview.

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