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iOS 17 beta 7: All the new features and changes


iOS 17 preview
The fourth iOS 17 developer beta is here with some minor changes.
Photo: Apple

Apple continues beta testing iOS 17, with the seventh beta dropping on August 22nd. As the beta program has progressed, the company has made fewer and fewer user-facing changes to new builds.

It’s the same story with iOS 17 beta 7, which hardly packs any meaningful changes or improvements. Below is everything new in the latest iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 beta.

Hands on with Stage Manager improvements in iPadOS 17


Hands on with Stage Manager improvements in iPadOS 17
With Stage Manager in iPadOS 17, you can arrange app windows however you like.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is making significant improvements to its Stage Manager multitasking system so iPads can work even more like Macs. The iPadOS 17 version offers additional freedom in window sizing and position.

I’ve been testing the update since Apple began releasing beta versions of iPadOS 17 in June. I already liked the original version of Stage Manager — but the new one is even better.

How to get the latest iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 public betas


iOS 17 and iPadOS 17
Here's how to install the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 public betas on your iPhone or iPad.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The second iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 public betas became available Monday so anyone who wants to start tinkering with the new features can try these well before the autumn release.

Among the more significant changes in iOS are personalized contact posters in the Phone app, home screen widgets go interactive, and autocorrect is smarter. iPadOS gets many of those same features, as well as signifi can’t Lock screen improvements.

Want to try the changes out for yourself? We’ll show you how.

Think twice before installing iOS 17 public beta


iOS 17: Out of Focus
iOS 17 hasn’t quite come into focus yet.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple just gave the general public access to the latest iOS 17 beta, but before you put it on your iPhone, the Cult of Mac staff has some warnings. We’ve used the betas for weeks, and while it’s gone well for some people, it’s been a dumpster fire for others.

Public betas for macOS Sonoma and iPadOS 17 are also available, and we also have comments for anyone thinking of putting those on their Mac or iPad.

Hands on with interactive widgets in iOS 17


Hands on with interactive widgets in iOS 17
iOS 17 will include home screen widgets with buttons and other controls.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A long-requested feature is finally coming to iOS 17: interactive widgets. With these, you can control apps on the device directly from the convenience of the home screen.

iOS 17 is still in beta so not everyone has access to the new feature yet. I do, so here is what it’s like to use it on an iPhone (and iPad, too.)

These iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma features are not coming to older devices


New contact posters, iMessage stickers and voicemail transcription
Certain new iOS 17 features will not come to all iPhones capable of running the new OS.
Photo: Apple

iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma are not big upgrades. However, they will bring plenty of little improvements that add up to a better experience on iPhone, iPad and Mac. Despite that, Apple dropped support for some older iPhones, iPads and Macs with its upcoming OS releases.

That’s only part of the disappointment equation, though. Several new features won’t work on older Apple gear, even though the devices can run the new operating systems.

Many of the new features in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 that won’t make it to older iPhones and iPads will go missing primarily because they are very resource-hungry. As for Macs, several macOS Sonoma features won’t come to Intel-based machines. This is sort of a given, since Apple switched to in-house chips that deliver better performance while maintaining ruthless power efficiency. The list of features not available on Intel Macs will only expand over time until Apple eventually drops support for them altogether.

Now that you the reasons for the omissions, here’s a rundown of new features in iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma that won’t work on older devices.

Hands on with long-overdue improvements to the Files app coming in iPadOS 17


Hands on with long-overdue improvements to the Files app in iPadOS 17
There are new options in the iPad’s Files app when accessing thumbdrives and SSDs.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

With iPadOS 17, Apple is finally adding new tools to the Files application for working with external drives. These include some basic capabilities, like the ability to see how much space remains on a thumb drive.

I’ve been testing iPadOS 17 and ran across these welcome changes. Here’s what’s new.

Hands on with iOS 17 Autocorrect and intelligent input improvements


iOS 17 Keyboard settings
Entering text gets a bit easier, with fewer typos, in iOS 17.
Graphic: Apple

Apple is souping up the systems for entering text into iPhone with iOS 17. Autocorrect is getting enhanced with AI for fewer typos, as part of multiple improvements to what Apple calls “intelligent input.” And Dictation is getting a boost that promises more-accurate voice recognition, too.

I tested the changes in the first iOS 17 beta. Here’s how well they work … so far.

Apple makes downloading iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and other developer betas free


iOS 17 preview
You can now download OS developer betas for free from Apple.
Photo: Apple

Apple has made its OS developer beta builds free to download. You can now enroll in the Apple Developer Program for free.

This will allow you to download the latest iOS, iPadOS, or macOS beta for free. Previously, Apple made the download available for developers who paid the yearly $99 subscription fees.

How to install the iPadOS 17 Developer Beta


iPadOS 17 showing a custom Lock Screen and widgets on the left.
iPadOS 17 brings many favorite features over from iOS.
Photo: Apple

How can you install the iPadOS 17 Developer Beta? While the release is months away, you might want to take it for a test drive or see how your apps work in the new release. Right now, you need to make sure you’re signed into your developer Apple ID and that you have developer betas turned on in the Settings app.

These days, the process is far easier. You no longer need to install a beta profile and reboot your tablet a bunch of times to get it working.