Apple accidentally revealed that iOS 17.3 is probably just days away

iOS 17.3
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

There have been multiple iOS 17.3 betas now, so we’ve been expecting that this update would arrive soon, but now we can get more specific than that, as Apple has just revealed that iOS 17.3 will probably land next week.

This wasn’t an intentional announcement, but as spotted by Phone Arena, in the small print for an announcement of a new Unity Bloom wallpaper, Apple stated that this wallpaper will be landing next week, and that it will require iOS 17.3.

The logical assumption therefore is that iOS 17.3 must also be out next week – or possibly even this week; though there’s not much of the week left. So in all likelihood we’ll see iOS 17.3 sometime in the week, commencing January 22.

There is, of course, an outside chance that the mention of iOS 17.3 is a mistake – perhaps it meant to say iOS 17.2. But with iPadOS 17.3 also mentioned in the same block of text, we’d think that’s unlikely.

Text on Apple's site mentioning iOS 17.3

(Image credit: Apple)

Better protection and collaborative playlists

So what can you expect when iOS 17.3 lands? Well, we have a good idea of that too thanks to the various betas.

The headline feature is arguably Stolen Device Protection, which, when enabled, will require Face ID or Touch ID for sensitive actions, so that even if a thief has your passcode and therefore unlocks your iPhone, they won’t be able to do things like view your passkeys or turn off Lost Mode.

There’s also collaborative playlists coming to Apple Music, so that multiple Apple Music users can add songs, remove songs, and reorder songs in a shared playlist. It’s likely that iOS 17.3 will also include various bug fixes and security patches, so it’s worth downloading even if you don’t care about the features above.

Of course, for a massive iOS update you’ll probably have to wait until iOS 18, which isn’t expected to launch until September – though it will likely be announced at WWDC 2024 in June.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.