The top iOS 17 features we might see at WWDC 2023


Historically, Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference is iOS’s time to shine. It may be overshadowed a bit, by a possible mixed reality headset announcement, but iOS 17 is rumored to include some of “users’ most requested features.”

So while this year’s WWDC may be focused on the debut of Reality Pro, there’s plenty to look forward to with iOS 17. Here’s what we’re expecting.


Apple WWDC 2023 preview: Everything you need to know

Apple continues to care intimately about your health

Apple’s ongoing focus on health and wellness features is rumored to factor into the iOS 17 update in a few different ways. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on a journaling app that enables users to log their thoughts and activities, which is analyzed to determine daily habits such as “how much time is spent at home compared with elsewhere, and whether a certain day included something outside the norm,” said the report.

Per Gurman, Apple is also reportedly adding features to the Health app that include a mood-tracker that asks questions about your day and shows results over time, and a tool for managing vision conditions such as nearsightedness. Later in the year, it’s rumored that Apple will announce a coaching app for Apple Watch, which will sync up with the iPhone’s Health app, so these potential iOS 17 features may be laying the groundwork for that.

Your iPhone could become your smart home display

We might also see some iOS 17 features related to screen functionality. According to Gurman, Apple is working on an iPhone lock screen interface that works like a smart home display a la Google Next or Amazon Echo. When positioned horizontally, the interface would show “information such as calendar appointments, the weather and notifications,” building on the lock screen widgets that were announced with last year’s iOS 16, said Gurman.

There’s also a rumor about a Control Center revamp, which hasn’t been updated since 2017. This comes from an anonymous source who posted on the MacRumors forums and accurately predicted details about the Dynamic Island. Still, the rumor hasn’t been confirmed by anyone else, so take it with a grain of salt.

Apple Wallet might get a revamp

On the MacRumors podcast, Gurman said he expected to see updates to Apple Wallet, although the details are unclear. Apple has been making a big push to add financial services to its devices, so it would make sense for Wallet to get some attention at WWDC.

Apple Pay Later, which lets users pay for products in installments, launched in the U.S. this past March and Tap to Pay, which enables transactions without the need for a payment terminal or a card reader like Square is coming later this year.

Support for the XR headset that’s definitely, maybe being announced

Apple’s rumored XR headset “Reality Pro” is expected to be the headlining event of this year’s WWDC. The hardware will be paired with its own operating system reportedly called xrOS that has an interface familiar to Apple users, but obviously with different methods of performing tasks that may include combining eye movements with hand gestures.

The headset can allegedly be used as a standalone device, but can be connected with other Apple devices like an iPhone or Mac for certain tasks. If Apple announces Reality Pro, it stands to reason that iOS 17 will come with some kind of xrOS integration.


Apple’s Reality Pro: What we know ahead of WWDC 2023

More details on accessibility features

In May, Apple previewed new accessibility tools and features, that include Assistive Access, which simplifies the experience of Apple’s essential apps for people with cognitive disabilities, Live Speech, which provides text to audio during live calls, and Detection Mode, which magnifies and reads aloud text and labels on objects for people who are blind or have low vision.

In the announcement, Apple said these tools would come “later this year.” Since WWDC typically announces operating system news, we might get some more details about availability.

A sideloading win for developers

To comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, Apple is required to allow third-party apps to be downloaded outside of the App Store by 2024. According to a December 2022 report from Gurman, Apple is planning to make this practice, also known as “sideloading,” possible with iOS 17.

For developers, this means they wouldn’t have to pay up to 30 percent for a commission fee just for their apps to be used on Apple devices. It may not seem like a big deal to non-developers, but consider this: you’d finally be able to play Fortnite on your iPhone without some kind of loophole.

Other potential iOS 17 announcements

Previewed at WWDC 2022, this year’s event might announce new CarPlay updates that would be supported by iOS 17. We might see updates to Apple Music with lyrics on the lock screen, according to a leak picked up by 9to5Mac. Gurman reported possible upgrades to SharePlay and making it easier to use AirPlay on devices you don’t own, i.e. beaming content in hotels.

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