iOS 17: new features, how to download, compatibility, and more

iOS 17 hero graphic press image
(Image credit: Apple)

iOS 17 is now available to download on all of best iPhones, with Apple having launched its latest major software update on September 18, 2023.

You'll find our full verdict on iOS 17 in our dedicated iOS 17 review, but in this guide, we detail the new update's key features and availability, as well as how to download iOS 17 on your iPhone.

For a detailed breakdown of iOS 17's latest iteration, head over to our iOS 17.5 roundup. Or, for a look towards the future of Apple's iOS operating system, check our out speculative guide to iOS 18.

Latest news

iOS 17.5 has now landed, bringing with it support for website-based app downloads in the EU and third-party tracker alerts for all iPhone users.

iOS 17: Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The latest big update for iOS – the iPhone's operating system
  • When does it come out? It launched on September 18, 2023
  • How much does it cost? It's a free upgrade
  • Which phones are supported? iPhone XR/S and newer

iOS 17 release date

iOS 17 features

The latest version of iOS 17, iOS 17.5, was released on May 14, 2024 (Image credit: Apple)

iOS 17 was released on September 18, 2023, just days after the iPhone 15 line went up for pre-order. Prior to this launch, Apple officially unveiled iOS 17 on June 5, 2023 at WWDC 2023, the latest edition of its annual developer conference.

Directly after WWDC, Apple launched a sign-up page for developers and early adopters interested in gaining access to the developer preview builds of iOS 17, and since then a number of public betas – for subsequent iterations of iOS 17 – have landed. Check out our 'How to download the iOS 17 beta on your iPhone' explainer for the full download process, if you're keen to try out upcoming iOS 17 builds.

For reference, here's the release calendar for every major iOS 17 iteration released thus fur:

  • iOS 17 – September 18, 2023
  • iOS 17.1 – October 26, 2023
  • iOS 17.2 – December 12, 2023
  • iOS 17.3 – January 24, 2024
  • iOS 17.4 – March 5, 2024
  • iOS 17.5 – May 14, 2024

iOS 17 compatibility

Someone holding the iPhone X

The likes of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X (above) don't make the cut for iOS 17 support (Image credit: Future)

iOS 17 is available to download on any iPhone released in 2018 or later. Specifically, that's the iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone SE (2020), iPhone SE (2022), and any variant of the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, iPhone 14 and iPhone 15.

In other words, Apple has dropped support for almost all devices running on its A11 Bionic chip – but this doesn't come as a surprise. Apple routinely drops support for older devices with every new edition of iOS and iPadOS – the iPhone 6siPhone 7 and iPad Air 2 were among the models left behind by iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, for instance – and both the iPhone X and iPhone 8 are now five years old, which is usually grounds for the chopping block.

How to download iOS 17

If your iPhone does qualify for Apple's latest update, it'll likely have downloaded iOS 17 automatically. iOS 16.4 introduced a code that makes iPhone updates download by default, with Apple evidently hoping that the change will ensure that most people are running the latest version of iOS.

That said, this doesn't always happen, and newer versions of iOS 17 may still need to be downloaded manually. So, if you're looking to download the latest version of iOS 17, simply head to Settings > General > Software Update.

For a more detailed walkthrough, check out our guide on how to download iOS 17.

iOS 17 features

iPhone lock screen on orange background

iOS 17 introduces significantly more lock screen customization (Image credit: Future)

You'll find a comprehensive breakdown of the key iOS 17 features in our dedicated iOS 17.1, iOS 17.2, iOS 17.3, iOS 17.4 and iOS 17.5 roundups, but below, we've listed every major iOS 17 feature, as well as the aspect of the iOS experience they relate to:

  • Website-based app downloads (apps, EU only)
  • Third-party tracker alerts (security)
  • Repair State setting for Find My (security)
  • Offline mode for Apple News Plus (Apple News)
  • Third-party app stores (apps, EU only)
  • Transcripts for Apple Podcasts (Podcasts)
  • Stolen Device Protection (security)
  • Contact Key Verification (Messages)
  • Spatial video capture (iPhone 15 Pro / 15 Pro Max)
  • Translate (iPhone 15 Pro / 15 Pro Max)
  • Photo Shuffle (Lock screen)
  • Contact Posters (Phone)
  • Live Voicemail (Phone)
  • Unified apps menu (Messages)
  • Check In (Messages)
  • Catch-up (Messages)
  • In-line replies (Messages)
  • Search filters (Messages)
  • Inline location (Messages)
  • Audio message transcription (Messages)
  • Stickers Drawer (Messages / third-party apps)
  • Live Stickers (Messages / third-party apps)
  • Leave a video message (FaceTime)
  • Gesture-activated AR effects (FaceTime)
  • FaceTime on Apple TV (FaceTime)
  • StandBy (iPhones w/ Always-On displays)
  • Interactive widgets (home screen / lock screen / StandBy)
  • NameDrop (AirDrop)
  • Proximity-based sharing (AirDrop)
  • Over-internet transfers (AirDrop)
  • Proximity-based SharePlay (AirDrop)
  • Journal (iOS general)
  • Improved autocorrect (Keyboard)
  • Work & personal profiles (Safari)
  • Faster search (Safari)
  • Enhanced Private Browsing (Safari)
  • Autofill verification codes via Mail (Mail / Safari)
  • Password sharing w/ trusted contacts (iOS general)
  • Collaborative playlists (Music)
  • Smart device suggestions (AirPlay)
  • AirPlay in your hotel room (AirPlay)
  • Adaptive Audio (AirPods Pro 2nd generation)
  • Press to mute / unmute (AirPods Pro 2nd generation)
  • Improved Automatic Switching (AirPods Pro 2nd generation)
  • Offline maps (Maps)
  • Enhanced EV routing (Maps)
  • "Siri"-only wake word (Siri)
  • Back-to-back requests (Siri)
  • App Shortcuts in Top Hit (Spotlight)
  • Visual search results (Spotlight)
  • Enhanced Visual Look Up (Photos)
  • Mental health check-in (Health)
  • Vision health check-in (Health)
  • Communication Safety (Messages / AirDrop / FaceTime / Phone)
  • Sensitive Content Warning (Messages / AirDrop / FaceTime / Phone)
  • Grocery list auto-sort (Reminders)
  • View and mark-up PDFs (Notes)
  • Enhanced AutoFill (PDFs)
  • Activity History (Home)
  • Cat & dog recognition (Photos)
  • New drawing tools (Freeform)

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Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.