iOS 17 will be a bigger iPhone update than we first thought

Developer editing iPhone lock screen on laptop
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Konstantin Savusia)

Apple is expected to debut iOS 17 later this year, and the latest intelligence suggests that the software update could be more substantial than we thought. 

Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman had previously reported that development on the Apple VR headset would lead to “fewer major changes” for iOS 17, but the seasoned Apple expert now claims that the upcoming update will actually provide several of users’ “most requested features.”

“When Apple set out to develop iOS 17, the initial thinking was to call it a tuneup release – one focused more on fixing bugs and improving performance than adding new features,” Gurman writes in his latest newsletter. “The hope was to avoid the problems of iOS 16, an ambitious update that suffered from missed deadlines and a buggy start. But later in the development process, the strategy changed. 

“The iOS 17 release is now expected to boast several ‘nice to have’ features, even if it lacks a tentpole improvement like last year's revamped lock screen. The goal of the software, codenamed Dawn, is to check off several of users' most requested features.”

As Gurman notes, it’s unlikely that iOS 17 will introduce any major overhauls to the experience of using the best iPhones, since much of the high-hanging fruit – personalized iOS lock screens, custom keyboards and so on – has been fulfilled by Apple in recent years. 

Google Maps widget in iOS 16

iOS 16 finally introduced personalized lock screens (Image credit: TechRadar)

Instead, iOS 17 will more likely offer a range of significant updates to existing iPhone features and apps, like CarPlay, Siri and Messages. 

As for things we’d like to see introduced with iOS 17, our seven wishes for iOS 17 guide contains calls for a redesigned Control Center, universal battery widgets and better picture-in-picture controls. 

Apple is all but certain to debut iOS 17‌ at its annual WWDC developer conference in June, with the update expected to begin rolling out to users sometime in September, coinciding with the launch of the iPhone 15 line.

A more imminent update

WhatsApp logo on iPhone 14 screen

(Image credit: Shutterstock / DenPhotos)

More imminently, Apple’s next software patch, iOS 16.4, will introduce tangible improvements to the ways in which your iPhone handles everyday tasks. 

Among the features set to arrive with iOS 16.4 is Voice Isolation; a neat little tool that blocks out ambient noise during cellular calls to prioritize the quality of your voice. In other words, you’ll soon be able to better hear the person you're chatting with over the phone, and they’ll be able to better hear you, too.

Other features expected to arrive with iOS 16.4 include push notifications for web apps, a ton of new emojis, an improved Podcasts app and bug fixes for Apple HomeKit. We’ve rounded up five super-useful features coming to your iPhone in iOS 16.4 in a separate article, so head there for a more detailed breakdown.

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.