iOS 17 rumored to bring major changes to the Control Center

The iOS Control Center on an iPhone
The current Control Center in iOS (Image credit: Apple)

We're hearing more and more about iOS 17 as the expected unveiling date of June 5 gets closer, and the latest rumor concerning the upcoming update is about a key part of Apple's mobile operating system: the Control Center.

According to an anonymous and previously reliable source speaking to MacRumors, this year is the year we're going to see "major" changes to the Control Center – the hub that handles everything from Bluetooth connections to volume control.

Unfortunately, the source doesn't go into any more detail than that, so we're left wondering what these significant changes might be. New icons? Larger buttons? Smart sorting so that your most-used functions stay near the top of the screen.

Keeping control

What we do know for sure is that the Control Center has remained largely unaltered since iOS 11 made its debut in 2017. You may remember that before that, the Control Center was split over two screens, and wasn't quite as polished in terms of its user interface.

The Control Center in iOS 11 was also customizable for the first time, which meant that you could decide which shortcuts and features appeared on it. That made it much easier to cut down on potential clutter and confusion.

Six years on, it feels like the right sort of time to give the Control Center another refresh. Expect more iOS 17 leaks and rumors before June 5, when Apple should unveil the software update at its WWDC 2023 event.

Analysis: a core component of iOS

The news that the Control Center might be getting a substantial revamp in iOS 17 fits with what we've heard previously: this is gearing up to be one of the bigger updates in recent years, with a number of improvements that have long been requested by users.

At the moment, it's not clear what those improvements are, but it seems we're going to get more than bug fixes and performance tweaks. We might well see some groundwork laid to support the Apple AR/VR headset that has long been rumored to be on the way, and that device could well be out before the end of 2023.

We'd certainly be happy with upgrades to the Control Center. Consider all the different features it offers: shortcuts for screen recording, the camera, the flashlight, alarms, notes, voice memos, music controls, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings, screen mirroring, brightness and volume, smart home devices, and plenty more besides.

That's a lot to manage on a single screen, and some kind of streamlining or optimization would be welcome. The Control Center is a screen that a lot of us spend a lot of time on, so Apple needs to get its design and functionality right.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.